December 17 2015

The agile dilemma


Quick and dirty but don’t worry, we can fix it next week. This is the mindset of the agile age.

Iterating is a great way to tackle large and complex projects where the end result is difficult to predict. Yet the lack of a clear goal and a coherent vision from the start is a big challenge for a designer working in an agile process.

The most interesting and beautiful designs turns out that way because the art director or designer conceived a strong visual idea and uncompromisingly executed on that idea. But the core of agile – the constant re evaluation, iterating and tweaking – clashes with that way of working. With the bigger picture lost the end result often turns out cluttered, messy or just bland and boring.

There are many ways to minimise or even completely avoid these problems. To create a style guide helps a lot, and make sure to maintain it throughout the project. Also, don’t just design comps, involve yourself in as many aspects of the project as possible. Talk to the team, be vocal about your vision and have relevant arguments ready if you are questioned.

Traditional work flows has their own hurdles for designers to overcome. There is no doubt that working agile is the best way to go for many projects. Just be aware of the challenges and be prepared to meet them.

A beautiful and functional end result under challenging circumstances is the hallmark of a great designer.

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