Agile at IDEO

IDEO is one my favorite innovation company. I love their design thinking methods. Here is a cool video about Design Thinking

Smashing Magazine interviewed Duane Bray, Partner (IDEO) about how Agile is used in IDEO. Here is a quick summary of the interview-

Q: What’s your experience been with Agile Development processes?

Duane: One of the things we’ve found when we’re working in an Agile process is that we can actually be incredibly fast.

To give you an example, we did a project here in New York for Lincoln Center, which was their first iPhone app, and we ran it as an Agile process. We went from kick-off to an app in the iTunes store in eight weeks. That’s concept, design and build (and I wouldn’t want to claim we can do every project on that timeline). But we had an amazing client that was able to make decisions very quickly, so we had a fast turnaround time there.
But again, it was because we were getting very real, very fast.

Q: Can you give us a step-by-step breakdown for creating this app in only eight weeks using Agile?

Duane: Sure. First, we spent half a day with our designers and developers at Lincoln Center’s campus, and in advance we created briefs about what an app could look like around different themes. We broke up into teams and every group had to go and interview people at Lincoln Center and talk to them about the theme and do a tour themselves.
We had clipboards of iPhone screen printouts, and they (the teams) had to sketch an experience and get feedback — all in four hours. It was a great way to get immersed: we talked to security guards, out-of-town tourists, locals who would hang out there, people at the information desk and we got a ton of insights.
So, we had all these amazing stories to go back and work with for honing our hypothesis on what this experience should be and we started building it. We did a detailed sketch session, prioritized the feature set, mapped out the flow, did some wireframes and then did a planning session with our development team (from Pivotal Labs). The project was so fast; there were literally just screenshots on the iPhone to simulate the flow. We were sharing it with people quickly and got to the stage where there was a build a week.
But the reality about that process is that you couldn’t do waterfall in eight weeks. I would say it’s more efficient than an old-fashioned step process.
Agile has been around for 20+ years, and we’re certainly not the first to discover it but now it’s finally getting traction. Designers and developers want to spend time making stuff and getting it out there and this process is all about that.

Here is a link to the entire interview ” Agile at IDEO ”