Lean UX - Applying Lean Principles to Improve User ExperienceLean UX is a well written and concrete book on how to apply Lean principles to UX. It describes a process where UX can be an integrated part of Agile Development and where developers, designers, testers and business people can all learn how to play well together.

Combining Agile development philosophy and UX work hasn’t always been a match made in heaven. Many are the UX designers who’s been frustrated trying to work in an Agile environment, and there’s a few reasons for this.

Old Habits

Many of the practices we have, have been developed for Waterfall methodologies with clear silos and clear milestones. These processes has required a massive design documentation that have later been handed over to development to spend then next few months (or years) implementing.

Those practices doesn’t work anymore and they haven’t worked that well before either. As Agile has gone mainstream we as designers need to adapt to the Agile practices and rethink how we do our work.

But how do we do that?

One way is by reading Jeff Gothems book Lean UX, which explains how to incorporate a different, more lean, mindset to the UX process. He proposes a workflow with more focus on trying out hypotheses in the real world and less focus on creating deliverables.

Lean UX describes a way of doing UX work in an Agile fashion. It does so in a very clear and easy to digest fashion. Jeff draws from his long experience in leading agile UX work when he describes the pitfalls and opportunities.

So what is Lean UX?

Lean is all about reducing waste and it’s the same with Lean UX. The book outlines a few core principles to do this:

  1. Less focus on producing design documentation, The value lies in delivering the product.
  2. A focus on collaboration between Designers, Developers, QA and Business People. By breaking down the silos we get a much more effective design process and ultimately a better designed product.
  3. The realisation that what we think are good solutions are just hypothesis that need to be tested in the real world. The key is to do this continously and effectively.
  4. Design for outcomes instead of features. By focusing on the outcome the team is free to find the best solution to the problem instead of being locked down to a certain feature that might not be the optimal solution.

My verdict

Lean UX is an easy to digest, practical book on how to incorporate a more effective way of developing software. It provides both valuable insights and practical techniques. I highly recommend it for anyone involved in software development and by that I don’t mean just designers. I mean anyone involved.

Book information

Lean UX: Applying Lean Principles to Improve User Experience
Jeff Gothelf and Josh Seiden
O’Reilly Media (March 8, 2013)

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Note: I wrote this review for O’Reilly’s Blogger Review Program. Their deal is pretty good: You get a free e-book to read and once you post a review you get another. Try it yourself if you’re interested in reviewing books.