Design spikes for agile

UX Practitioners seem to have considerable challenges designing holistically when the team focuses on a short list of feature sets within a small scope. It’s like trying to design a car by working out each part of an automobile in isolation, the steering wheel, then the roof, the back seats, etc… What this mentally conjures up is a funky, perhaps even awkward multi-colored sculpture comprised of bolted on parts and probably not the nicest looking car on the lot.

So browsing through Smashing Magazine the other day ended up proving fortuitous as I read Damon Dimmick’s article which suggests an approach to managing this very problem. He calls it the ‘Design Spike’.  Ref article link below.

Coincidentally, I was presented with a situation that sort of matched this issue. While the development team was gaining ground on coding the front and back-end parts, the visual design was not getting the right kind of attention. So we all agreed to embark on a design spike sprint (try and say that 5 times really fast).

The challenge of trying to inject UX Design into quick agile development iterations seemed to be eased by this approach. It’s something to add into the UX toolbox of possible activities that can get design back up on its feet especially if it’s been neglected for too long.

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