In the corporate world, people are quickly, and sometimes painfully, discovering that the old way of doing things doesn’t work anymore. When it comes to project management, using an agile, or collaborative and intuitive, methodology to get work done has proven far more successful.
Many businesses have recognized the benefits of going agile for their software development projects. But the one area of software development that best reaps the benefits of agile methodology is user interface (UI) development.
Here are some of the key reasons why agile and UI development work brilliantly:
Reason 1: Long development process spawns DIY users.
Traditional implementation methodologies, such as waterfall, typically result in a lengthy development process. The aim here is to try and deliver on 100% of business requirements at day one of go-live.
This approach often means business users cut corners, entering and storing business data in spreadsheets rather than in a clunky, time-consuming UI. Users are under pressure to hit their work deadlines, so they will always find the quickest and simplest option.
Agile helps in delivering UI changes and new content quickly and consistently, giving users a UI they can work with. This minimizes any chance of users needing to use offline solutions, which are completely unmanageable.
Reason 2: You have to respond to change, quickly.
The only constant in business is change, so business systems need to be able to adapt and evolve quickly. Lengthy development phases for UIs often mean that by the time an update is delivered, it’s already outdated because business needs have changed.
Agile helps to make sure that development sprints and iterations address changes as they occur and that the UI keeps pace with the evolving requirements of the business and the users.
Reason 3: You need to see it to believe it.
When it comes to developing UIs and dashboards, some users are unsure about their needs upfront. Agile helps users develop a clear understanding of their needs and ensures that whatever gets built is correctly shaped.
Art of the possible showcases, wireframing, and mock-ups help as a starter, but it's important to get development started quickly and involve users from the get go. Only involving users at the testing or go-live phase can be detrimental to the success.
Reason 4: Engagement leads to adoption, which leads to momentum.
Agile helps users see, understand, and benefit from the value of what’s being delivered as early as possible. This results in better engagement, which in turn leads to increased business adoption of the solution and improved momentum of future changes and developments.
As with most technology deployments, adoption must always be the key indicator of success of any UI or business application. Delivering on-time and on-budget is important, of course, but if people don't use the system then what's the point?
Reason 5: Design is development for UI.
Design and development are the same thing when it comes to user interfaces. Long design phases or big requirement spec documents are long dead. What's needed is a commitment to get started and be prepared for changes along the way. It's about setting a high-level vision and intention, building wireframes, and then getting started with development.
As mentioned previously, users must be involved from the start and throughout the development process. Regular playbacks and updates to users make sure they immediately realize benefits so they can provide feedback to shape the solutions they will ultimately use.
Agile is great for UI because it's inclusive and gets impactful input delivered quickly. It helps make sure applications are responsive to business changes and helps ensure users can perform their tasks in easy, simplified, and streamlined ways.
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