There is an unfounded myth that says it is very difficult to integrate user research methods when working in agile schemes such as SCRUM because they have very limited deadlines.

In other words, it is said that there is no time to make inquiries that validate whether it is working correctly, this statement is FALSE because it breaks with the essence of agile thinking.

Taking into account that the definition of agility is: Fast and efficient reaction to external changes , it can be concluded that. Being agile doesn’t mean that it will be fast just for being fast, it means that you can easily adapt to the needs of users.

The following graph shows the phases and investigations that are recommended to do prior and during an agile development, although it is important to emphasize that if you have a research culture, the implementation of methodologies within the normal workflow will be automatic.

User Research can be used throughout the development, although the typical phases to do so are:

  • By understanding the problem
  • By validating the ideas generated
  • When testing prototypes
  • In development testing
  • In the final measurement phase of the sprint

In the graph some methodologies were shown, but what is recommended is to implement an investigation depending on the doubts that are had because each project is different .

User Research tips in Agile

Research is a tool that can help maximize the success of a product, the choice of methodologies to investigate should be done subjectively , although the following is recommended:

1. Validate as quickly as possible:

At the time of having almost ready functionality it is recommended to test it in order to implement it in the final product or discard it .

2. Test small hypotheses :

By validating small functionalities we can do high impact research on our equipment using very little time .

Normally the teams validate the functionalities that are already built, but it is more interesting to test the functionalities that are about to be implemented , those that are within the development backlog.

The result of investigations in features not built can be the cancellation or survival of the implementation so it can be very beneficial.

3. Do advance user research:

It is advisable to do the user research of the next sprint so that the process does not delay the development, although it is not recommended to do very advanced research because it can break the agile flow by doing unnecessary work.

4. Make the research visible in the backlog:

By inserting research into the agile structure, it will help to prioritize tasks and that these are assigned to someone and assigned to someone in the sprint planning process and not interfere with the times .

5. Involve the entire team:

If the research is done by the entire team, it will be easier to generate doubts that have to be validated , which will help reduce the waste of making unnecessary functionalities .

It will also help the entire team do the user-centered development because they will see the user fail which will help creativity in general.

This text was based on the excellent Platzi User Research course taught by Misael León .