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over 3 years ago by Jennifer Brennan
UXDX – An Interview With Catherine Madden
Great User Experience / Design Experience (UXDX) event coming up in Dublin’s RDS, November 2nd
At Next Generation we know how important it is to have a great User Experience for your products and the experiences you offer to your customers. For this reason we’re delighted to support this years event.
There will be some great speakers coming and we are really looking forward to hearing what they have to say. We spoke to Catherine Madden, the event director to get the inside track on what the event will be like.
Who is the UXDX event aimed at?
UXDX (User Experience / Design Experience) is all about accelerating product delivery. In our research, communication came up as the biggest problem facing product teams in Ireland. Autonomous teams are one of the four key aims of the conference as this is the emerging best practice for overcoming the communication challenges on legacy projects.
An autonomous team includes cross functional skill sets so UXDX is targeted at these people – product owners, designers and developers.
User Experience (UX) as a first class element is another of our four core aims. Historically UX was an afterthought, but as user expectations increase the interaction with the product, UX is as important as the functionality.
There has been a rapid change in the speed of product delivery in recent years. Following the Lean methodology teams need to release early and often (our third core aim) to gather user feedback and accelerate their product market fit. In order to support these increasing delivery speeds companies need to invest in the Developer Experience (DX). DevOps is the banner under which a lot of the DX improvements are taking place including continuous integration and deployment pipelines.
Companies need to invest in these areas in order to gain a competitive advantage or in some cases just to keep up with the competition. While the benefits are clear, given that these are emerging areas there are no defined best practices and the path to delivery is not simple. This situation presents companies, large and small, with a challenge – so UXDX was created to specifically address these challenges and help teams to accelerate the success of their products.
In terms of UX and Design, we’re excited about “design thinking”. Most companies are not design focused, they’re problem-focused. They look at an individual problem and try to optimise around it. Design thinking, at its core, is more solution-focused. This involves looking at the bigger picture and optimising the entirety of the system instead of the single problem area. So I believe that the proliferation of design thinking as a concept is very exciting.
On the developer side, there are the two trends that we are really excited by – frequent deployments and automated infrastructure. For frequent deployments it’s hard to see where we will end up. Deployments used to be annual events but now some companies are releasing 20,000 times a day! There is a lot of tooling required to enable this from automated testing, to continuous deployment pipelines to real-time monitoring and automated rollbacks. But the benefit is getting your product out to your customers quickly and shortening the Build-Measure-Learn cycle.
Infrastructure was often left until the last minute and would cause unnecessary delays as well as maddening errors between environments which were difficult to replicate. Automating infrastructure is the solution to these problems, and our fourth core aim at UXDX. Using cloud computing, servers can be spun up and down on demand. In addition, with automated infrastructure the servers, and importantly their configuration, can be placed in source control. This means that environments are always in sync and the risk of each deployment is significantly reduced. Which is very important when you are releasing 20,000 times a day.
From a product/project management perspective, the adoption of Agile and Lean Methodologies is very exciting. More people are adopting these processes but there is a wide variance in how successfully agile is being implemented in companies – versus fast waterfall. We believe so much in the benefits of Lean product development that we followed this methodology when developing UXDX.
You have a good, and wide range of speakers, what themes would you say are shared across their different backgrounds?
While our speakers are wide and varied they are all tied together by their use of innovative approaches to accelerating their product success.
Douglas Powell from IBM will be explaining how they use design thinking to evaluate the end to end solution of their system in order to minimise waste focussing on the wrong detailed areas. David O’Callaghan will explain how Ryanair decided to move IT in house after years of outsourcing to take control of the user journey. This is the first leg of the journey as the company shifts from a traditional carrier to the Amazon of Travel. Paul Savage from Nearform and David O’Donoghue from Zalando will talk about their different approaches to removing bottlenecks (project managers) from their product teams. And our VC panel will discuss what lessons larger companies can learn from the more nimble startups.
Each person is tackling a different area but each is trying to accelerate their product delivery. What we hope the attendees can take from the day is that, while there is no single way to improve performance, there are a range of options for companies of all sizes.
Anything else you’d like to add / I should have asked?
Come to UXDX – your competition will be!
Book your tickets here to make sure you don’t miss out on this invaluable event and look forward to seeing you there, and make sure to pop by and say hi to all of the Next Generation Team.