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Title: User experience design and agile development : integration as an on-going achievement in practice
Author: Ferreira, Jennifer
ISNI:       0000 0004 2735 9072
Awarding Body: Open University
Current Institution: Open University
Date of Award: 2011
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This research investigates how Agile development is combined with User Experience (UX) design. Agile development and UX design have roots in different disciplines and practitioners have to reconcile their perspectives on developing software if they are to work together. To date, there has been no sustained academic study on how Agile developers and UX designers work together in practical settings on a day-to-day basis. The ethnographically-informed research in this dissertation consists of three studies of teams in organisational settings, combined with an analysis of accounts of Agile development and UX design practice found in the literature. Together, they provide evidence for the complex, multifaceted nature of the work that integrates Agile development with UX design. The studies of day-to-day practice conducted for this research, found the work of the Agile developers and UX designers to be localised, contingent and purposeful. Agile devolopment and UX design integration, as it was achieved in the teams studied, was negotiated and achieved on a day-to-day basis between the developers and designers. The findings from the analysis of accounts of practice from the literature show that integration is achieved with the right tools, techniques and processes that coordinate between the tasks of the developers and designers and establish a focus on usability and on releasing working software. However, the accounts contain little and conflicting evidence for what constitutes the day-to-day work of Agile developers and UX designers in practical settings and as a result the utility of tools, techniques and processes for practice is not clear. Informed by the findings from the accounts in the literature and the studies of practice, five facets emerged as integral to an understanding of how the integration of Agile development and UX design is an on-going achievement in practice. These facets are (1) focus and coordination, (2) mutual awareness, (3) expectations about acceptable behaviour, (4) negotiating progress and (5) engaging with each other. The extent to which these facets enable integration, depend on contextual values concerning the combination of Agile development and UX design endorsed in the organisation. These findings serve to establish conditions which can constrain and enable Agile developers and UX designers in their integration work, while being sympathetic to the values embedded in the settings in which they work.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral