How we successfully destroyed the joy of product development

Published on by Mitja Felicijan

No matter how hard we try to reinvent processes in software development we still haven’t found perfect solution for this. And to dismiss SDLC just because it’s something old is as ridiculous as the concept of designers being user experience gurus. As I have written couple of times before designers have their place and is not in the UX community. Most of them probably never heard of Jakob Nielsen and this proves a lot. Don’t get me wrong. There are designers out there that are absolutely amazing in what they do, but most of them are not. Good design has little to do with how things look in my opinion. But it has very much to do with how product behaves. And to take a chance on design look only is scary to me.

I have this huge beef with so called UX “experts”. I really do. From the bottom of my heart. I almost hate them. Well, not the pure ghetto ones. There are many of them out there I am sure of. But I have not had the pleasure to work with such person.

Good UX expert should have programming background and an eye for design. Being UX expert requires you to be analytical and precise. Not really qualities of designers. Design is much more about the feeling and emotional perception. And this two don’t dance well together.

Natural progression of project focused on user should be:

Designer should never be allowed to have blank canvas. Good software is written because there are many restrictions either in requirements or real world. And most importantly → good software is solving only one problem at the time. I don’t see why this shouldn’t apply to design as well.

Yes yes we get it, but we don’t have the time or the money to do project development like that. Well, you better find it or you will slowly decline into abyss of mediocre companies that have nothing to show for. Clients are not dumb and are in need of quality products and services. It is not enough anymore for a product that just works. It has to be technically precise and functionally on the spot.

When developers and designers are forced to think and work from the scratch many new doors open. New ideas are born how to solve problems that were previously not possible because they were living in a box of limited thought and patterns. If you solve problems always only with your knowledge nothing new can be invented. When there is no room for experimentation there is no room for improvement. You want your developers and designers to be this fountain of innovation and you don’t really let them innovate, you are just slowly closing front doors of your company. Good developers and designers are hard to find and even easier to loose.

Being agile does not mean to be a slave of constant changes. It does not mean that project managers can constantly change requirements at their will. And it sure does not mean that clear vision on product direction should be something we said goodby to. We have perverted initial intention of Manifesto for Agile Software Development as we always do. We have taken it so far and we have all become slaves of advertisement by consulting companies trying to cash in on this “new - but old” concept.

Manifesto for Agile Software Development states:

This was written in times when software was developed very differently than how we do it now. We have eliminated many of the problems from old age just by listening to reason and not trendy hyped words that are just tools of marketing strategist to avoid the real issues. Being flat, being agile, being stupid is what I say.

Development and design should be about improving yourself and consequently product you are working on. When this becomes a chore you should probably start thinking about changing companies. People make products not management.