I was pleased again to be able to attend the Balanced Team conference this past weekend in San Francisco. Balanced Team is a conference about collaboration methods for technology development. It’s put on by a small group of designers, developers, testers and managers who are working to evolve new methods of cross-functional work.
What makes Lean UX Lean? What makes it different enough from other ways of working to merit its own name?
Lean UX is not some essential form of UX.
Some have suggested that Lean UX is about reducing UX work to its essence–that by taking a minimalist approach to our work, we can trim our work down to its essential elements–and that doing this makes our work “Lean.” While I believe there is great value in reducing our work to its essential elements, I don’t think this justifies the name Lean: it doesn’t capture the sense of the word evoked by Lean Startup, which is the connection to Lean Manufacturing and the Toyota Production System
At LUXr, we talk about the 9 Principles of Lean UX. And while they’re all important, for me, #8, “Recognize your hypotheses and validate them,” is the keystone, the one that makes the whole system stand up.
The keystone principle: recognize your hypotheses.
Here’s a great post by Khoi Vihn describing the changing context of design work. If you want to understand a designer’s perspective on the forces driving Agile teams, Lean Startup, and related approaches, this is a great starting place.
The dominant service offered by designers is changing: from narratives about products to the design of products themselves.
The nature of product design is changing: from one-shot efforts to ongoing involvement.
With these forces at work, the traditional working relationship between outside designers and internal capabilities has broken. The results we’re seeing are a myriad of deeply collaborative approaches to the design of digital products, embodied in movements like Design Thinking, Lean Startup, Lean UX, Agile UX, Balanced Team, etc.
LUXr NYC will be hosting our next 2-day workshop on July 9-10 at Pivotal Labs in NYC. Come join me and Lane Halley at this fun and fast-paced weekend intensive.
The intensive is a two-day hands-on workshop for startup teams who want to improve the user experience of their product and for individuals who want to work more effectively by using lean user experience methods.