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User experience design and agile development: managing cooperation through articulation work



Previous discussions of how User Experience (UX) designers and Agile developers can work together have focused on bringing the disciplines together by merging their processes or adopting specific techniques. This paper reports in detail on one observational study of a mature Scrum team in a large organization, and their interactions with the UX designers working on the same project. The evidence from our study shows that Agile development and UX design practice is not explained by rationalized accounts dealing with processes or techniques. Instead, understanding practice requires examining the wider organizational setting in which the Agile developers and UX designers are embedded. Our account focuses on the situatedness of the work by making reference to values and assumptions in the organizational setting, and the consequences that those values and assumptions had for practice. In this organizational setting, cooperation between the Agile developers and UX designers was achieved through ongoing articulation work by the developers, who were compelled to engage a culturally distinct UX design division. Based on this study, insights into culture, self-organization and purposeful work highlight significant implications for practice. Copyright © 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.