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Johanna Kollmann on making agile work for designers

Agile might work well for developers, London-based information architect and product strategist expert Johanna Kollmann tells us, but it wasn’t originally created with designers in mind.

"I started looking at agile years ago. I interviewed lots of designers, made observations, and tried to figure out how to make it work for them," Kollmann says. "It really helped me to understand the core principles of agile and Agile Manifesto. One of the values I liked is the idea we value collaboration over extensive documentation."

Kollmann admits that this idea of communication over producing specifications can be very scary, particularly if you're used to a traditional environment. The key to making the brave step, she says, is ensuring she never felt separate and removed from the project team.

One of the values I liked is the idea we value collaboration over extensive documentation

"Be there," she says. "Be there for any planning sessions, any stand-ups, be there if you're working in scrum." She explains she found that designers who aren't used to agile tend to miss these sessions, whereas the development team embraces them. And so, agile's much prized communication can break down.

Elsewhere in the video, she discusses what digital makers can learn from lean manufacturing principles. You can hear more about Kollmann’s views on how modern product teams can better work together by watching the full interview.

If you’d like to hear more, then you'll be pleased to hear that Johanna will speaking at our upcoming conference, Generate London on 26 September 2014.

Words: Martin Cooper

Martin Cooper is deputy editor of net magazine.