Audience Driven Development and Agile

Understanding

“First seek to understand, then to be understood.” You might remember that this was coined by Stephen Covey in the now famous book, Seven Habits of Highly Effective People. We have a tendency to listen with the intent of replying rather than that of understanding.

Evolving standard Agile practices

Agile processes, just like the “seven habits,” can be implemented correctly – but still result in solutions that miss the mark. At Level Up Development, we implement the standard Agile methods and processes. However, we’re evolving Agile a step further to incorporate a true understanding of the problem we’ve been asked to solve through Audience Driven Development.

In a recent example, one of our solutions teams was working with a company to re-orchestrate their product. While going through the digital design, we were originally tasked with the creation of a “dashboard.” The current dashboard, like most we see, was used by the company’s team to keep tabs on real-time statuses of their working items. Once we started diving into the discovery phase, we quickly noticed that their dashboard was disconnected from how they actually worked.

We uncovered that the current dashboard really wasn’t used by the team as it didn’t convey enough information to paint an accurate picture of what was going on. At first glance, everything seemed fine – but the department would often have to seek out more information from multiple systems before they could give a true status or take action. In turn, this caused them to create their own files to manage the process.

During the Understading Phase of Audeince Driven Development, we take the time to understand how the audience naturally works outside their digital systems. This shows and tells us what they are actually wanting to do, and not what the system is limiting them to do (which is often the case). This subtle difference produces huge results. In this case, after the implementation of their new entry area it promted the department manager to state that, “This revolutionizes how we work.”

Audinece Driven Development digs deeper

Audinece Driven Development digs deeper and extends the traditional roles of the Agile processes. A core focus is placed on product management. The product owner is tasked with using their knowledge of the department’s or company’s audience(s) and business objectives in order to create new value or efficiencies for their organization. The owner champions ideas across the organization and coordinates activities between departments as an audience ambassador in order to win the approval for a new product or service line.

Once the product owner has won the support for the new initiative, additional details often need to be worked through in collaboration with other solutions experts before moving onto the Creation Phase. In the example above, these such details were in the form a workplace process artifact – but that’s just one of countless unknown details that might need to be flushed out before creating a solution. That’s where Agile’s true value comes to light.

Aligning the audience with the product

Yes, our version of Agile incorporates everything you’ve come to know and love about the method, including sprints, story point and more. But it’s deeper than that. The process aligns business with the product, product with design and development with the product.

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