Looking For Better Agile Results? Get Some Design Standards!

With the increasing adoption of agile development, companies are jumping quickly into rapid prototypes of technology projects. This is a great thing, gone are the days of 6–12 month “requirements” phases. However, there are some drawbacks to moving too quickly into rapid prototyping, primarily around reinvention and churn. Teams that jump into projects with little or no standards spend much of their time in the first few weeks thinking about blazing a new path to differentiate themselves. This is great for the creativity process, not so much for consistency across the enterprise and what’s more important: your prototype or test result.

So how do you get to the quick result you’re looking for without all the reinvention and churn? Simple, create a Sprint 0 that focuses on design (and technology) standards. It’s even better if this is part of your agile on-boarding. It’s analogous to cooking with a well-stocked pantry versus letting the team go to the store to buy their ingredients. If you want super creativity, let them go to the store. However, be prepared that this will take much longer, and you will have no idea what’s for dinner for 2–3 hours. Instead, let them loose in a kitchen with a well-stocked pantry and you’re eating in an hour.

Here’s a great example. The U.S. Web Design Standards are published for access to anyone working on a related project. Teams that use a guide such as this will spend far less time debating colors, fonts, and gradients throughout the first 1–2 weeks of a project. Instead, they’ll quickly get busy creating a prototype that they want to brag about.

Want to learn more about how to make Sprint 0 work for you?