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Skills for the Agile Designer

OHSU West Campus (formerly OGI), Wilson Clark Center
20000 Nw Walker Rd
Beaverton, OR 97006, US (map)



Agile designers need to quickly see the essence of a problem, shape reasonable solutions, and communicate effectively. When things don't exactly go according to plan, they must react, readjust their thinking, and try again. Seasoned agile designers strike a balance. They know the difference between core and revealing design tasks and plan accordingly. When unanticipated difficulties crop, they adapt their work rhythms. They know how to give and take criticism and ask clarifying questions of teammates and project stakeholders.


At the end of this short course attendees should be able to:

Identify problem frames (types) and use them to ask probing questions of their customers

Write and share designer stories to kick off an iteration

Use a common vocabulary for characterizing various aspects of a design

Sort through designs tasks and identify their project impact

Conduct a CRC card modeling session

Recognize when a "wicked" problem crops up and how it affects project flow

Effectively discuss issues and come to meaningful agreements

Measure design progress and track technical debt

Course Outline

What makes a designer agile?

Problem Frames: a tool for seeing typical patterns of software tasks

A designer's story: a tool for seeing/communicating what's important

Object Role Stereotypes: a tool for seeing object behaviors

CRC card modeling basics and when a responsibility model can help

Control centers and collaboration styles: a tool for shaping collaborations where "defensive" behavior is needed and specific tests are required

Design problem types: A tool for balancing priorities

Handling design criticism: What to do with valid, invalid, aesthetic, personal, judgmental criticism and praise

Adding design topics to project retrospectives

Course Schedule and Information

Instructor: Rebecca Wirfs-Brock
Course Number: 09-SD-19 Dates/Times: Nov. 6, 2008; 8:30 am - 4:30 pm Location: OHSU West Campus (formerly OGI), Wilson Clark Bldg. (#3 on campus map), Room 407 Course Fee: $475 Course Includes:
This course combines short presentations introducing new concepts and techniques with short, to-the-point exercises. In addition to course slides, attendees receive notes describing each technique, concept, or practice. Lunch and break refreshments.