Whose Experience Do We Care About? Analysis of the Fitness of Scrum and Kanban to User Experience

Effie Lai Chong Law*, Marta Kristín Lárusdóttir

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Citations (Scopus)


Two project management approaches, Agile and Lean, have increasingly been adopted in recent years for software development. Meanwhile, in the field of human–computer interaction (HCI), user experience (UX) has become central in research and practice. The new hybrids between the two fields—Agile UX and Lean UX—were born a few years ago. As Agile, Lean, and UX have different principles and practices, one can query whether the couplings are well justified and whether Agile or Lean is more compatible with UX work. We have conducted a conceptual analysis and tended to conclude that Lean instantiated as Kanban fits UX work better than Agile instantiated as Scrum. To explore further our claim, we performed a secondary data analysis of 10 semistructured interviews with practitioners working with Scrum and Kanban in different sectors (Study 1). This study enabled us to gain insights into the applications of the two processes in real-life cases, their strengths and weaknesses, and factors influencing the practicality of implementing them. Both processes seem not favorable for UX work in practice. Among others, one intriguing observation is loose adherence to the related guidelines and principles. A query derived from the analyses of the interviews is that “customer,” as compared with “user,” has more frequently been referred to by our interviewees, irrespective of the process they adopted. We have then been motivated to investigate this issue, using a web-based survey with another batch of practitioners (N = 73) in the software industry (Study 2). Results of the survey indicate that the practitioners in general had a reasonable understanding of the concepts “user” and “customer,” although a minority tended to treat them as synonyms. Limitations of the current studies and implications for future work are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)584-602
Number of pages19
JournalInternational Journal of Human-Computer Interaction
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 2 Sep 2015

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