About markus

Consultant at Zühlke in Switzerland. HCI, Requirements, Agile and other software engineering, user centred innovation.

From exciters to liabilities

Classifying customer expectations, Noriaki Kano created the well-known Kano model more than 40 years ago. I felt this model deserves a more in-depth presentation on stars to road for a couple of reasons: First, it helps to prioritize features over the lifetime of a product. Second, it points to typical issues you encounter during product development and provides hints how to improve. Third, it is not too difficult to assess the categories and they are easy to understand. Fourth and most important: you need good understanding of customers and markets to work with the model, a real indirect benefit! All in all, the Kano model is an important foundation in product development one should know.

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Requirements – an agile answer

Understanding what people need and require from a product is important. So requirements are important. But what is a requirements and what are “good” or “bad” ones? I set forth to find the ultimate answer and found 42. So lets add a bit more structure and talk about the problem, solution and the conversation side and conclude with a question: where should the development team invest their energy: into creating the specification or into discussing the best possible solution given the constraints?

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The case of a relevant UX problem

This is not about a Sherlock Holmes mystery and no engineer lost a thumb over it. Even though the machinery involved could easily achieve the latter. It is about industrial robots and tons of machinery to fold metal sheets into origami swans. But mainly it is about a case where creating the right user experience solved the relevant problem.

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Customers, users or fans?

The stuff I find most exciting is making something work for the users or to put it in more modern terms: people have a great experience when using something I helped create. So I focus on users and user experience. Some people rather talk about customers and customer experience. Whatever the name, it is basically the same isn’t it?

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UX in a burn-out system – UX Brunch in Zürich

At the UX Brunch in Zürich on December 6, 2019 Rahel and I held a presentation and some very engaged discussions on how we as UX professionals ourselves heat-up the burn-out systems we are caught in. Here is a summary including some of the slides of this session.

By Markus und Rahel *)

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Agile conversation or requirements engineering?!

Requirements engineering (RE) has a long and successful tradition. Different approaches always existed. Still it is optimized for an artifact driven setup: Individuals pass on documents. Agile practices are however geared for an interaction driven setup where individuals form one “super-brain”. The discussion about requirements is part of the agile conversation. And now, the proven approaches from RE suddenly create friction and bad smells. So, should we forget about requirements?

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Burn-out machine game @ agile breakfast in Zürich

On March 6, I had the opportunity to play the burn-out machine game with about 40 agile consultants in Zürich. We spent two hours with engaged discussions and insights about the very serious and highly relevant topic burn-out. We even had a good time doing so.
https://www.meetup.com/de-DE/Agile-Breakfast-Zurich/

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The team wall – or agile knowledge management

Here’s the situation: A customer asked us to improve the quality of their core system so that they again can act on the demands of their users and customers in a timely manner. We had a team room at our disposal and we again made extensive use of the walls. It turned out that the team wall made the difference!

Using the team wall has high impact on team performance.,
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Keep knowledge alive – living documentation

Keeping knowledge about a product alive is no easy task. Software teams struggle with manually mainting vast documentation in UML tools, text documents, wiki sites and more. We all know about the amount of effort and dedication needed to do this well given the amount of redundancy. There is a promising vision of a living documentation, i.e. a documentaiton automagically created from those things the teams create anyway, like automated and manual tests, backlog items, meeting protocols and more.

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Meet with users to create great products

Even though – as a UX professional – I must stress the importance of meeting users, I have to admit that the title of this article is not exactly accurate and just meeting users is not really the point. Having revealed this, I should probably explain what really matters when meeting users and give some indication on how to do it. This article covers two stars to road essentials: the UCD cycle and the UX levels.

Lets start at the beginning and lets review a first big challenge creators of great products are facing:

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Bill & Chuck – and how they fight ideas into the market

Let me introduce two characters, Bill and Chuck. To be honest, they are personae distilled from people you could meet. They are especially interesting because of their behavior: Instead of collaborating to let ideas compete they fight to get their ideas into the market. And sadly, they have good reasons to do so.

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