In the IT industry, we inherit a business model with a build pipeline with a contract, build, and delivery phases.
After some years, the industry realized that this pipeline would propagate errors to the final product. Lack of integration inside the team and with the client are some of the reasons identified.
This realization gave birth to the Agile Process, which allowed business analysts and developers to have access to feedback from other teams within the project and with the client.
The agile methods provide better integration but still isolate design stages (UX, UI, among others) as a pipeline that can stifle creativity and have the client or the team not have a voice in the product’s design process.
Most of the time, it will result in designs out of context or technically unfeasible.
Today most tech companies segment their teams in Business analysis, design, development, testing, delivery, and maintenance.
Although these teams work in an agile fashion, these teams treat their work as closed quarters, which sometimes creates friction and communication problems, transforming the team’s dynamics into a mix of Agile and waterfall.
In the end, it may result in losing confidence from the client due to a lack o involvement of involvement in the process in a consistent way.
so the question is:
In a project that requires close collaboration with the client and good team dynamics, what should you do?
Lean UX provides an answer to these scenarios by collecting lessons learned from different methods and focusing on collaboration and defining objectives.
LEAN UX takes its core from three different disciplines:
- Design thinking
- Agile Sofware development
- Lean startup method by Eric Reyes
From design thinking, we get the drive to use design methods and sensitivity to match user needs to what is technically possible and identifying viable strategies to achieve customer value and creating market opportunities.
From agile, we get four core inspirations to follow:
- Interactions over processes and tools: ideas should flow freely and frequently, favor direct communication.
- Working software over comprehensive documentation: discover the most viable solution sooner, so the effort of building it is less.
- collaboration over contract negotiation: Collaboration within the team and with the client helps build a shared understanding of the project itself anytime. (problem space and proposed solutions) In the end, create consensus over the decisions.
- Responding to changing over following a plan: Assume that your design is wrong from the get-go; by so allows you to focus on identifying what is the wrong answer to it promptly. This mindset enables answering to change instead o sticking to a plan blindly.
The lean startup focuses on rapid prototyping to test assumptions and close client collaboration to support faster evolution than standard development processes. The notion of codeless MVP rises here because it brings an opportunity to try hypotheses rapidly and get immediate feedback from users.
So how can we define Lean UX?
Lean UX is the practice of identifying the true nature of a product faster in collaborative, multi-functional teams that focus on a shared understanding of what the product should be instead of emphasizing thorough documentation.