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Interview: Similarities Between Interaction Designers and Agile Programmers

In this interview made during Agile 2008, Alan Cooper, the father of Visual Basic and supporter of interaction design, talks about his contact with the Agile movement and the similarities discovered between Agile programmers and interaction designers.

Watch: Similarities Between Interaction Designers and Agile Programmers (45 min.)

Alan explains how the industrial-type management wanted to lead programmers in the post industrial era, and programmers found themselves caught in the middle of a mechanism trying to make them produce software. But programmers are not tradesmen, they need freedom, they need responsibility, and they need to take charge of the product they are to deliver. And the Agile movement is the expression of that trend in the programming community.

Interaction designers are much like agile programmers because they also want to have something to say when a product is conceived. They don’t like to be just told what to do, but they want to participate in the design phase of the product. What Alan sees as missing in producing software is that the way the product is produced is under scrutiny, but the product definition itself is not questioned. Alan considers that before work on a product begins, the concept needs to be verified to make sure it really addresses the purpose it is meant for and it is going to be implemented using the right tools.

Alan concludes the interview by advising the agilists: “Don’t start thinking about delivery times and don’t start thinking about costs reduction and don’t start thinking about ROI, think about the quality because that’s why we are all playing this game.”

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