Keep moving! …Iterating to results through an effective time box process

Process is part of any endeavour, whether conscious or not. The key is to navigate those processes and steps as effortlessly and efficiently as possible to achieve a goal or benefit. Lumbering through or lingering around process steps, or worse yet, stopping at them, delays the goal and intended benefits. Those delays can be disastrous. Just as stopping or hesitating can be highly disastrous when crossing a busy street. Keep moving!

Mobile application development is no exception. Process heavy or process light approaches abound. Whatever the situation, process is there. Yes, lean and agile practices and frameworks such as Scrum, The Lean Startup, Lean UX and Agile Project Management aim to streamline those process. But where there’s steps, streamlined or not, there’s risk of getting caught at them. For example, repeatedly iterating at a particular step instead of iterating from it.

We avoid this pitfall by being diligent and responsible in our application of the time box technique. When the time box is finished, we move on. Plain and simple. Not blindly or irresponsibly, however. Hand-offs are in place to ensure feedback and observations are carried through and addressed by the next time box activity. Demonstrating that you have heard and acted upon feedback from the previous time box activity instils confidence in progressing to the next activity without risk.

To provide an example, let’s consider design. We go through three primary steps when designing Apps. We start by establishing a conceptual design in the way of low fidelity sketch-like wireframes. Personas, user stories, information architecture, content strategy and visual design inform the interface design, or wireframes. Feedback on the wireframes are carried into the next design activity (instead of further refining the wireframes) where we develop high fidelity, actual representation mockups. Similarly, feedback on the high fidelity mockups are carried into coding where shared works-in-progress confirm we have incorporated that feedback appropriately. These series of hand-offs keep the project progressing while ensuring the design continues to be refined based upon input and feedback received (without stopping at any step to ‘get it right’ before moving on to the next step).

Process is in everything we do. Streamlined or not, process will always be there as will the risk of steps in the process hindering progress and benefits realization. Having a ‘process’ to deal with this is paramount to success. A diligent and responsible time box process achieves just that.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.