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How Agile Teams Can Prioritise UX Work

6 September 2020

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Agile is an accumulative and iterative project management approach that was originally founded by the software development community. This process allows brands to manage a project by breaking it into several stages and by being responsive to changing needs. Because of its huge success in the software industry, other businesses have also started using agile development projects as their goto the business approach, the UX design industry is no different. 

Although Agile was developed to be used in the process of software development, many UX designers found that a few twists and tweaks can make it incredibly useful in the industry of UX designing. Incorporating UX into an Agile environment can be challenging. But if you know how to identify your priorities, it can turn out to be the best method you have ever used. 

Backlog Structure

A product backlog is an ordered list that identifies what a product needs to be appropriate, useful, and competitive. This list is never completed and the Agile team is responsible for delivering the things that the list consists of. 

There are two ways a UX team can approach backlogs from. One, by creating only one backlog that consists of the list of all works including UX design, development, and quality assurance so it can be visible to the whole team at once. But the downside of this approach is that it may deprioritise important UX works in the process of prioritising new features. 

Two, by creating multiple backlogs where works related to the UX will have a completely separate backlog. This process will ensure that the UX team is in charge of its own backlog and can plan ahead. The only risk this process consists is that the other teams will not be aware of what is happening in the process and there is a chance that the UX team will plan too far ahead from the developers’ sprints. 

Prioritising Features

To organise your prioritisation features, use a prioritisation matrix. It is a basic 2D matrix designed to assist you anticipate which tasks are more crucial and urgent so you can identify which one to focus on the most. You can plot the features based on the UX effort or development effort. You need to figure out which features meet the best of both criteria. In this case, the features close to the middle of the matrix are the most balanced. Using a prioritisation matrix helps make decisions based on data rather than emotion.

Prioritising UX Debt

UX debts are the experience issues that are left unaddressed for too long due to prioritising fast and easy solutions and continuously prioritising shortcuts. To ensure your project is free from UX debt, the team needs to identify the debt items and add them to the backlogs and then prioritise them in the rank of severity. 

Maximising Time

No matter what process you choose, there is no alternative to being efficient. Maximise your time by being selective on attending meetings and dividing tasks. Find time for valuable activities like research, designing, prototyping, and user testing. Prioritising features will help you maximise the use of your time.

Merging UX design with Agile environments can be challenging for designers at first. With the right process and by choosing the appropriate order of tasks, UX designers can efficiently use the new method for their benefit.