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Enough Design

About the Talk

August 5, 2010 10:00 AM

Amelia Island, FL

Amelia Island, FL

A great agile design process is complementary to a great agile development process, one that produces great products that people love. In this talk we share what works and doesn’t work, from the 80+ Rails projects we’ve done at Pivotal. If you’ve struggled with integrating a waterfall design into your project, or just want to know what we’ve found works best, this talk is for you.

There is a tension in the agile world between the notion of ultimate flexibility that agile proposes, and the need for coherency and excellence that great design provides. This talk is intended to provide a framework to help yourself ask, as a designer or as a developer, “What is Enough Design?”, and to share our experience as to what has worked well in practice on our many projects at Pivotal Labs.

The right amount of design, and how far ahead that design needs to occur, varies significantly by task. Knowing what it is your building before development starts leads to a much more focused (i.e. better, faster, cheaper) product, but high fidelity, pixel level design work is best done with the designer pairing with the developer directly, rather than producing documentation that becomes ever more stale between writing and implementation. The investment in a 500 page PRD filled with pixel-perfect photoshop comps is one that tends to bring more rigidity than value to a product. Design ideas need to be tested as quickly as possible, so that the design process, like the development process, benefits from a short feedback loop and real user validation.

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