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Damon Dimmick is a user experience designer, agile ux advocate, and ux evangelist based in the metro Boston area. He has spent his career advocating for and designing efficient and pleasant experiences for complex products built by global companies. He is currently the Manager of Interaction Design (Global UX) for Monster.com where he helps jobseekers and employers find each other through the use of sophisticated job search and hiring tools. Damon is also a founding partner of the Subforum design group, a think-tank of UX professionals that advocates grassroots ux research, continuing design innovation, and design responsibility. Damon also shares his thoughts via Twitter.
The rapid pace of UX design in the agile world can lead to shortsighted design decisions. Focusing on addressing the immediate needs of particular user stories within the limits of a sprint can lead to neglect of larger design questions, which can come back to haunt UX designers later.
Sometimes, UX practitioners just need some time to work through big design issues that don’t fit neatly into an existing user story or an individual sprint. This article will explore one answer to these problems — namely, design spikes, an agile approach that I have developed for large projects. Design spikes, which are bubbles of time that allow designers to focus on complex UX issues, can fit comfortably within the scrum framework and can be an effective tool for designers who have holistic design questions whose answers could potentially invalidate the work being tackled by the team.