Firstly, I liked how you chose a central concept (“integration”) to build your argument around and related it to topics outside of software.
Another angle to look at Agile for Designers (in practice) is to look at it from a planning and coordination perspective. One “integration” learning that has proven useful, for myself and my team, is allocating time into the product development workflow. Specifically, by knowing what is on your product roadmap, the ideation and “design” of the experience should be starting multiple “sprints” ahead of when it should be built. The more uncertain you are about what the solution might look like, the larger number of sprints ahead that the design should get started.
Whilst Agile is output focused, its just as important for UX designers to understand that their output is in fact adding value to the end-user. Without that value, their output does not move the needle. Hence, UX designers should be finding ways to work with the rest of the team to deliver tangible releases of the product where it can be tested with the end-users and refined accordingly.
Lastly, one point that was brushed on was the “lack of measurement”. I think being able to measure is the key to true success in any area of product development. For example, if we cannot know where we currently stand in how long it takes us to get out new features or collection of features, how can we do it faster? After all, doing this faster enables us to reduce the cycle time which we can obtain valuable feedback from customers using our product. Also, if we cannot measure our current team’s capacity to deliver product enhancements and fixes, how do we know if we are performing at the level we need to be? How do we know if we need more resources or have more capacity to deliver more work but somehow are inefficient with our capacity?
John Cutler Overall great article! Keep them coming. If I may add my personal opinion to the above, I think Agile is not necessarily the enemy but rather appears to be because as humans we tend to always be looking for a “silver bullet”. Agile is no silver bullet and, as you’ve described, it can easily be butchered in practice compared to the theory. That’s why I think the industry needs something more than theory. Stay tuned with the Critically Deciding Publication (https://medium.com/critically-deciding)