Agile vs. User Centered Design

Who’s working in an Agile development environment?

It’s been said that Agile is about making the developers life easier, while UCD is about making the users life easier.

It’s also been argued that Agile treats the symptom, while UCD cures the disease.

Are these two development religions compatible?
Is Agile bad news for design?

Some use Agile as an excuse to take shortcuts, and if you follow that path, then YES I think Agile is bad for design.

However, from my understanding/experience with Agile is that it is about ‘doing just enough to get the job done’ without adding anything fancy or of low value. If a pencil sketch communicates what is needed, no need for hours of fancy modeling. If a document isn’t being used, don’t spend time maintaining it.

First step there is defining what’s needed to get the job done. Every project will be quite different and I feel it quite often comes down to the stakeholders involved.

If used as a means to remove waste activity, as opposed to taking shortcuts, I believe Agile can be a very useful tool to have in your belt.