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Plans Don’t Fail. People Fail to Plan

Posted in Agile, Business Strategy, and Design

planningYesterday I had the honor of giving the keynote speech at  SoCal UX Camp 2016 . My talk addressed some of the challenges of doing UX design in Agile development. I also signed some books, Easy to Use: User Experience in Agile Development for Enterprise Software, led a panel discussion on UX and Agile and promoted the upcoming UX Boot Camp for Agile Development October 15 in Santa Monica, California.

“In preparing for battle I have always found that plans are useless, but planning is indispensable.” – Dwight D. Eisenhower

One of themes that I noticed at the camp was “planning.” Especially around the Agile development methodology. In the Agile Manifesto, it is stated that the value of Responding to Change Over Following a Plan. The Agile movement seeks alternatives to traditional project management like waterfall and traditional sequential development that cannot adapt quickly enough to changing markets, technologies and customer needs. In today’s marketplace, you must have plans that provide the vision, mission and spirit of what your organization does for your customer but are flexible enough to pivot when needed.

Flexible plans, iterative development and collaboration is the cornerstone of the user experience design process, too. To determine that the experience meets the organization’s business needs and delight the customer, UX continuously reviews concepts, designs and user interactions with key customers and stakeholders throughout the solution’s life-cycle. Research insights informs the iterative design process and usability evaluation cycle. Just-in-time design requirements provide direction to the Agile development iterations.

As I like to say, plans don’t fail, people fail to plan. Having no plan is worse than having a bad plan. At least with a bad plan you have something to improve. In the rapidly-changing world that we live today, we need to plan and our plans need to be agile.

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