The Fallacy of Lean UX and Deliverables

When I first began exploring Lean UX, my largest takeaway was that Lean UX was synonymous with “no deliverables.” Professionally, I exist in the world of enterprise software, consulting, and company-endorsed agile which makes deliverables inevitably part of my reality. As I continue to work on more projects my understanding of the methodology has evolved to include a less black-and-white mantra: “smart deliverables.” When information needs to be presented out, deliverables should be tailored based on context: personality of those who we’re presenting to, fidelity needed, and which elements to include.

Below I included a “choose your own adventure” guide of sorts for deliverable creation. Once you’ve identified the need to present work in some capacity, use the visual below as a jumping off point. Start with high-level deliverable goals at the top then work left-to-right.

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Of recent, a number of agile and lean evangelists like Jeff Gothelf have spoken out against the cult-like mentality that these methodologies spur. The processes, nomenclature, and roles created by agile and Lean UX are to be used as a guides, not inflexible rules. Ultimately, as UX practitioners we are tasked with learning how to take advantage of the tools at our fingertips, like paired programming for design and development, to reduce unnecessary documentation.

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