As User Experience continues to grow in importance as customers demand ever-more excellence from the products we create, the divide between UX teams and development teams often grows, too. How do we collaborate effectively on new products and features without carrying stories out and over sprint to sprint?

Believe it or not, we need to design more up front – BUT at the program level scale and above – if we want to be able to complete user stories (including UX) in ONE sprint. In this session, Natalie examines where the look-ahead UX Runway (that is, UX tracking ahead one sprint before development on stories) started, where it is now, and where it should pivot in the future. By re-examining Big Design Up Front (BDUF) concepts, mindful user research and customer acquisition costs, balanced with set-based design and advanced design guide tools, a surprising amount of uncertainty can be mitigated before getting to the release and sprint planning stages. This also addresses multi-team swarming on features, which isn’t served well by the one-sprint ahead approach that is currently being utilized.

As the cone of uncertainty narrows and delayed decisions are made collaboratively, designs can come into their own earlier than the sprint before development. This gives teams and programs a better look into what they will be building with less delay, and UX professionals a chance to look at the product or feature cohesively before breaking it into smaller stories and sequencing the delivery plan with far less uncertainty and a greater emphasis on scaling product and customer needs. It’s the next iteration of scaling the UX Runway.

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