Agile is a generic term for software development approaches designed to handle uncertainty and change. This is done by delivering iterations quickly and often. The goal is to produce working solutions that can evolve based on customer feedback and changing requirements. It is often contrasted with more traditional waterfall development methodologies where development flows through a series of phases. Scrum is the most widespread and popular agile software development approach. It is a project delivery framework based on short, time-boxed, incremental, development releases called Sprints. Kanban (means “signboard” in Japanese) is often used to manage a process by making the workflow publicly visible to all. Developers regulate their work by pulling tasks from a queue when ready.
Lean UX is the term often used in relation to agile and is focused on the experience under design and is less focused on deliverables. It requires a greater level of collaboration with the entire team. The core objective is to focus on obtaining feedback as early as possible so that it can be used to make quick decisions. The nature of Agile development is to work in rapid, iterative cycles and Lean UX mimics these cycles to ensure that data generated can be used in each iteration.
With the introduction of Windows8 in 2012 by Microsoft Vodafone was uniquely positioned as a Microsoft strategic partner to develop the Mobile Broadband Modern UI Application ready for launch. I was part of a team looking at how to re-imagine the Mobile Broadband function and re-design the app from the ground up, looking at the business and user requirements, OS & API capabilities, and the new ‘Metro’ aka Modern UI design approach, style, and interactions based on a full screen touch first interface.
The project followed a scrum style agile approach with 2 week design sprint followed by 2 week development sprint covering a selection of stores and epics from a backlog to implement a new set of user scenarios, storyboards, and use cases around the key areas of account management, notifications, extras, and help & support. The sprints also included a new interaction style to present the information in accordance with the evolving Modern UI style guide, and a presence on the start page which necessitated a strategy and design for the application tile (large and small), and toast notifications. Finally the design needed a new distribution method as the product would only be available via the Windows 8 store.