Agile Development Methodology and User Experience Design meet – an experience epiphany

To start, this is about my experience of an epiphany, and is an account of personal transformation.

Its an attempt break this experience down – to capture and define each of the individual and relatively insignificant moments that in combination have profoundly exposed a larger essence and meaning. An account of an experience that has changed the way I approach my day to day professional life, and given it more meaning and pleasure. It’s an attempt to express what this change in my frame of reference is, or more simply what I have discovered.

It’s a story I’m finding difficult to tell, particularly because its ingredients are largely abstract and conceptual. Ill set the scene by simply introducing 3 disciplines – each embodying notions that in combination lay the foundations for my story.

Agile Development Methodology – in particular its focus on inclusivity, empowerment and the value of real human interaction and connections

User Experience Design – in particular its focus on the notion of “experience” itself, and in addition notions of empathy and engagement with others

Design, and design thinking – broken down to its most fundamental core as the definition and orchestration of “boundaries and connections”

Other concepts that don’t so neatly fit in the above, but are also key are Design as facilitation, and strangely enough the experience of home birthing and its focus on personal responsibility.

And as a counterpoint, I need to highlight the environment and problems that first triggered my “search for new meaning”.

Working on large scale, waterfall driven IT projects – with a control and command hierarchy and fine grained specialization of roles.

A landscape where documentation is essentially your output, and the handover of documentation your “relationship” with others. A highly segmented and structured environment and way of working that left me with little meaning – wondering why I did “what I did” with a large chunk of my life (work) and wondering if there was any philosophical underpinning worth even exploring in this space.

It’s a pretty dismal state, but I would say I was not alone. Particularly if you work in IT – an industry that is not stereotypically described as a “people” place, or a space which can challenge one to question the wider meaning of things. I was close to throwing it all away.

Ironically my new perspective suggests this is in fact a pure people place, and I will argue it’s this human factor (and in particular the essential need for personal integrity, trust and co-operation) that is the most interesting and challenging aspect of working with application development. We weave magic, creating from nothing though the power of simply naming and relating – and this magic relies on the co-operation of people not technology, and in a neat closure this magic serving people not technology. But I’m getting ahead of myself and want to return to agile and experience design.

To be continued in future posts….

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About Jason Furnell

design thinker . experience designer . lo-fi sketcher . workshop facilitator . visual thinker . diagrammer . agile believer . multidisciplinary collaborator . build sequencer . incrementing and iterating . architecting information . presenting and pitching . master of design (its a degree, not a self assigned title) . dyslexic . misspell-er of many many many things....
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