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Monday, August 5 • 10:45 - 12:00
Warts and All: Designing in the Open for Increased Agility (Matt Dobson)

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Design often happens in isolation without being shared with teammates or stakeholders until it appears refined and complete. Opening up the design process to observation and collaboration, even its earliest stages, accelerates product speed, agility, and quality. Sharing work early and often reduces surprises and builds trust and understanding. When designers become comfortable with sharing their work while it is in-progress, when it is still rough and unrefined, it can create an environment where design and discovery are ongoing and aligned with a truly agile process.
Working openly helps UX work in the spirit of the agile manifesto by reducing documentation and increasing conversation. Making the design (and research) process visible gives teams the ability to find opportunities to collaborate and self-organize in response.
My talk will outline the many benefits of designing in the open, along with tangible examples of how to begin working more openly on your teams. I will draw from my experience working as a designer at Humana’s Digital Experience Center where the team valued constant pairing and collaboration, facilitated by working in a co-located open office. And I’ll contrast that with my current role at 18F, a remote-first distributed team whose philosophy is ‘default to open.’

Learning Outcomes:
  • The benefits of designing in the open
  • Tangible examples of how to begin working more openly with your teams.
  • Practical tactics for creating a culture of collaboration on co-located and distributed teams.
  • Learning how to maximize the effectiveness of cross-functional teams by eliminating 'hand-offs' and encouraging collaboration and co-ownership.
  • Steps towards developing the confidence to share work openly and how this approach will build a collective confidence in the team.


avatar for Matt Dobson

Matt Dobson

Innovation Specialist, 18F

Monday August 5, 2019 10:45 - 12:00 EDT
National Harbor 10