3 Reasons You Should Have Designers in Your Agile Teams

Developer Support

Premier Developer Consultant Maddie Schenck outlines the benefits of having designers on your agile team.

In an ideal world, the first design attempt would be spot-on every time, and developers would never find a bug. In the real world however, these things simply don’t happen.

Taking that into consideration, here’s 3 reasons why designers should be part of your Agile Teams.

For the purposes of this article, I’ll define a designer as a person who focuses on the user interface and/or the user experience of a solution. Sometimes 1 person can fill both roles, sometimes you might have multiple people. The most important thing is to include these skill sets when building your agile team.

Good design doesn’t (and shouldn’t) happen only at the beginning of a project

Too often in technical solutions I see designers brought in at the beginning of a project, often redesigning an entire application or building a brand-new interface. But as soon as the new design is finished and approved, it is passed on to the developers and the designer moves onto the next project, never to be seen again.

Solutions and requirements are in constant flux, especially in an agile environment. What are high priority tasks in one sprint, could be removed completely in the next. Your team needs to be flexible not only in your code, but also in your design. Incorporating a designer in your team means that you have someone skilled on-hand to figure out when and where new features need to be worked into a design, leaving the developers to focus on what they do best – writing great code.

Designers can help prioritize features and gather feedback

To create beautiful interfaces with an intuitive and accessible user experience, many agile teams are constantly gathering user feedback. Designers are often in the best position to be the liaison between the users and the dev teams. Their role requires them to step into the user’s perspective to build a great end-user experience. Gathering feedback allows them to make better informed design decisions, and helps prioritize the backlog by better understanding what users need to do their jobs.

A working relationship between the designers and the developers creates better solutions

Having developers and designers working together creates an internal cycle of feedback within the sprint itself. Developers can provide feedback on designs as they’re being generated. This helps designers account for any technical limitations before the design is finalized. In addition, designers can review the interface as it’s being developed, helping the development team stay objective about their code and address potential bugs or UI inconsistencies as they arise.

In my personal experience, this relationship also fosters learning in both areas Working side-by-side with the developers and joining a daily standup has always helped me understand the technical challenges with whatever type of solution we’re building. And the same can be said in reverse. I’ve been able to educate teammates about many design best practices regarding accessibility and layout.

At the end of the project, not only do we end up with an amazing solution, but we’re also able to take everything that we’ve learned from each other into our next projects as well.


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