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How do you incorporate web/graphic design tasks (template design, logo design, look-n-feel, etc...) into your agile process (XP/SCRUM)? How do you go about developer/designer pairing, designer stand-up meeting attendance?

In the larger sense, can an agile process be applied to web/graphic design?

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Absolutely, you can integrate visual design and usability testing into Agile SD practices. Indeed visual design is naturally iterative when done right. The expert in this area is Jeff Patton, and I encourage you to read his blog. There is also a great interview about UX design and Agile design between Jared Spool and Jeff Patton here.

Basically, just as your developers build and prototype functionality, show it to the customer, and then iterate over it to gradually refine it, so too should your designers be part of that process. In our shop, we have the designer take part in almost every planning meeting, so that designs can be run by the engineers who need to make it happen. Frequently, our designers and programmers work together to refine the UI as we head toward launch. We're doing that for a site today, in fact, and it's going very well.

Hope that helps.

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Agile process (and scrum in particular) can theoretically be applied to any project where you have:

  • A project backlog
  • A small team of people working together
  • A client adding additional feature requests
  • The ability to estimate how long tasks will take

If you have these elements, you can scrum it. The "user stories" aspect of scrum probably won't apply here, but designing a complex website or UI is also constructed in steps, usually with adaptive feedback from the customer. Although I personally don't have any experience scrumming non-programming projects like this, we do integrate design tasks into our scrum process. The trick is to keep it simple (as always).

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of course it could .. The Agile development is all about what tasks you have to accomplish to reach your project goal.. So say you need logo design .. do u need to meet with some people? do u need to install any software? do u need any learning process? how much time do u need to finish it? what are the steps to finish it? do u need someone's approval? etc..

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Of course it can! Agile/Scrum came out of the automotive industry, not software development. You just have to think a little broader than the usual scrum in 5 minutes introductions and you will see possible ways to apply it. The whole point about scrum is building something in small iterations while working closely with your customer (product owner) just b/c it is used often with code it does not mean it can't be used with other things.

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I think Agile may be particularly well suited to the web/graphic design enviroment. High client involvement and prototypes/previews can ensure that clients get exactly what they want.

Agile isn't just XP, pair programming and TDD. It's a process philosophy that goes back to the 1950s. The basic ideas of common responsibility, high employee and customer participation, continuous improvement and minimising waste can be applied anywhere.

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It works pretty well. You can further simplify it by assigning your UX person or lead designer the role of "product owner". This way you can funnel client/customer feedback, request and user stories through them.

It works best to use a two-track method in which you move through time boxes by kicking them back and forth between UI and dev teams.

More info here.

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Generally, you can put graphic designers, DBAs, sysadmins and most kinds of technical specialists on a development team.

It does require that the participants be more interested in making the end-product successful than in protecting the interests of their own small piece of work... but that's the case with all participants in an agile project.

People with crossover skills do very well: designers with some programming, or programmers with some design skills, or developers with some sysadmin.

  • You do need to be prepared to work outside your own area of expertise some of the time.
  • The benefit is that you broaden your skillset and you learn how to make the overall product more successful. After all, if you know how to work well with other specialisms, you're more useful.
  • It takes a certain amount of confidence to accept that you're not going to be an expert in everything that's going on in the team - but that you're going to help other people even if what they need isn't your favourite thing to do.

I'd say willingness to work as part of a team is the important factor.