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The Evolution of the Agile IA

Matthew will explore the evolution of the Information Architect, where we've been and where we're going. He'll look at IA practices, both old and new, the wars waging in other disciplines to adapt the secret success of involving users.
by

Matthew Hodgson

on 19 August 2017

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Transcript of The Evolution of the Agile IA

Aristotle
zenagile.wordpress.com
#zenagile
robin hood
$2m AUD WATERFALL project
Large organisational change project
Multiple stakeholders across multiple business silos
No one knew their own processes
No one knew the entire end-to-end process
No idea what the end solution would be like
Previous IT projects had failed – no trust amongst users
where did we come from?
where are we now?
where are we going?
Aliens!
So Adam gave names to all the cattle, and to the birds of the sky, and to every beast of the field
- Genesis, 2:20
knowledge = definition & classification
donuts are:
round
sweet
colourful
donuts are not:
square
sour
pizza
Secchi
From his survey of stellar spectra, Secchi concluded that stars could be arranged in four classes according to the type of spectra they display.
These divisions were later expanded into the Harvard classification system, which is based on a simple temperature sequence.


Steal from everybody to rapidly evolve the IA Practice into the end of the 20th century and beyond!
case study
Created LOTS of paper prototypes
lots of paper
lots of sketching ideas
Created LOTS of paper storyboards
Flesh out the logic of the UX
Show users the logic of the workflow
Just enough prototyping to test the IA and UX.
we discovered this was called "Agile"
What is "Agile"?
A need to maximise:
Business value from ‘Lean’ processes
Reduce:
Project and program waste/cost
Project risk profile
Improve:
Responsiveness to business
Service levels to business
Quality through benchmarking, re-use and knowledge transfer


Essence of Agile
Project itself is:
Broken down into smaller pieces
Project features:
Assessed, prioritised and implemented based on their value to users and to the strategic objectives of the project through the application of our User-Centred Design philosophy
Solutions are:
Iterated & prototyped as a means of communicating the project’s outcomes, setting expectations with stakeholders, and managing the change process
Waste is:
Minimised through emphasis on re-use throughout the project
Documentation is:
A placeholder for a conversation
Light-weight & 'just-enough'
Lessons learned:
Are shared to accommodate changes in the project environment as they occur
Risks are identified and mitigated:
In a just-in-time fashion through regular, responsive and targeted team communications, rather than wasting time attempting to identify and plan for all possible contingencies that may never occur

1995:
DaimlerChrysler
'invents' Agile
Lessons
learned
* Source: http://crankypm.com/2008/10/poll-results-software-development-methodologies-agile-vs-waterfall/
1999: "Extreme
Programming
Explained"
is published
2001: "Agile Software
Development with
SCRUM" published
2002: "Agile
Manifesto" released
2002: "A Practical
Guide to Feature-
Driven Development"
published
Today
2003: McBreen
publishes
"Questioning
Extreme
Programming"
2006: Waterfall
used in only
55% of projects*
2008: Waterfall drops to 25%
Agile used in 60% of projects*
multidisciplinary teams
user-centred design
personas
prototypes
wireframes
wireflows
user-pathways
iteration
light-weight documentation
smaller-chunks
Aren't IAs agile already?
validation BEFORE delivery
Regional-lead, ACT
Web Strategy &
Information architecture
Caveman
the first IA community?
Not a very SMART way of working!
Other Agile processes:
Crystal Methods
Dynamic Systems Development Method (DSDM)
Lean Development (LD)
Adaptive Software Development (ASD)
... etc ...
Results:
•Estimated project wastage of $280 billion against $500 billion in project spending
Briefing
Process
Prototype
Personas
Process map
Storyboard
Sitemap
Want Map
Collaborative design workshop
Communicate to Steering Committee
Ethnographic research
Facilitate workshop
Specify requirements
User research
Clear the fog
Gold rush
Iteration
Linear
Spike solution
Three amigos
Two ears, one mouth
"story card"
simple
quick
easy
Quick
easy
Simple
re-usable
engaging for users
users could write all over them in workshops
Don't make it pretty!
Just enough
to test the concept
our spec to the developers
demo to users of our concepts BEFORE the build phase
Persona
Agile
Waterfall
Waterfall or Agile?
... if life was like a process
the oldest profession in the world:
IA
the first IAs
what is agile?
why agile?
everyone is talking about it so it must be important to steal!!!
can we steal 'agile'?
it's just not working for lots of people
the real secret to agile:
simplicity - 'skinny system' first
fixed timeline
fixed price
fixed high-quality
flexible, user-negotiated scope
then add features based on user-value
waterfall
up-front scoping, staging & requirements gathering will fix scope, time, quality,
price & risk
assumptions:
reality:
this never really works
regardless of an 'iterative' approach
once you get in there:
users rarely know exactly what they want
they won't know what they want until you show it to them
they continue to change their minds
you'll always uncover more
you end up spending all your time trying to control the scope
father of IA
Mmmm ... donuts
benchmarked against time required
UI elements benchmarked against 'usability' metrics - time, complexity
Waterfall projects:
As low as 34% of projects are successfully delivered
43% average overrun cost
82% average overrun time
Only 52% of requirements are ever implemented
64% of functionality is rarely used
questioning
waterfall
Agile's future
project manager
business analysts
enerprise architect
change manager
they all value users
they all know user-prioritisation of features is important
they lack the tools, methods, and products to really make sense of users' needs
errrr, how?!
prioritise?
ummm, how?!
but IAs have them in spades!
Photo credit: http://www.flickr.com/cannedtuna
Photo credit: http://www.flickr.com/cannedtuna
Photo credit: http://www.flickr.com/cannedtuna
Photo credit: http://www.flickr.com/laruth
Photo credit: http://www.flickr.com/halans
Photo credit: http://www.flickr.com/sneedleflipsock
Photo credit: http://www.flickr.com/sneedleflipsock
the IA community
where we thrive!
input from users thru
UCD activities
Conclusions
Agile is on everyone's radar, from PMs to BAs
There's lots of methodologies & processes
Yes, we should do it to!
But process is not what agile is really about
Agile is:
A philosophy
A way of working smarter, faster, better, simpler
About users first
About "what adds value to them"
Yes, we should do more:
prototyping
sketching
paper storyboards
iteration
focus on evolution, not perfection
light-weight
documentation
conversation &
user-collaboration
benchmarking
test-driven design
just-enough
design
But we're not really doing agile, unless we:
Break-up large problems into smaller pieces
Employ user-prioritised scope
Multi-disciplinary, self-managed teams
Focus on delivering 'skinny systems' first
Share learnings thru frequent collaboration and communication
'Time-box' analysis to weeks rather than months

user-stories
story cards
fin
questions?
Our IA practice comes from ...
Noah and the Arc
... so what should we steal next?
Analysis
Architecture
Communications
Design
Facilitation
Process engineering
User-experience engineering
no time to make it perfect!
BA works in here
IA works here
BUSINESS DRIVERS
founder of card sorting
we must evolve to survive!
ACT Chief Minister's Department
Department of Broadband, Communications & the Digital Economy
Department of Education, Employment & Workplace Relations
Department of Environment, Water, Heritage & the Arts
Department of Health and Ageing
CHOICE
Origin Energy
Pharmacy Guild of Australia


I've since used this approach at . . .
Final thoughts ...
As IAs we must:
Continue to evolve
Steal what makes sense
Adapt it & make it ours
Take our IA & UCD tools & techniques to PMs and BAs
Help them prioritise features in the 'stack'
To get the most out of agile so we're not left out on our own:
We must evolve to take IA not only to other Practices but also to the next generation of IAs
The Evolution of the Agile IA
magia3e @ gmail.com
Other trail-blazing IAs:
Huey, Louie and Dewey
Matthew Hodgson
ZenAgile Master
... then things changed
invented classification for libraries: sum of human knowledge
First UCD practitioner
* 000 – Computer science, information & general works
* 100 – Philosophy and psychology
* 200 – Religion
* 300 – Social sciences
* 400 – Language
* 500 – Science (including mathematics)
* 600 – Technology
* 700 – Arts and recreation
* 800 – Literature
* 900 – History, geography, and biography

* 200 Religion (Mythology, social theology)
* 210 Natural theology (Concepts of God)
* 220 Bible
* 230 Christian theology
* 240 Christian moral & devotional theology
* 250 Christian orders & local church
* 260 Christian social theology
* 270 Christian church history
* 280 Christian denominations & sects
* 290 Other (Greek, Roman, Judaism, Islam)
Sir Tim!
Produces "Speculations" NOT "Specifications"
Adam and Eve
Full transcript