When a product is developed using user-centered design methods, the results are transformative. True user-centered design is built around user research and evaluated through user testing. Like all processes, there is no one-size-fits-all approach; there are many different ways to put the user at the center. See an example of a project where I used user-centered design.
USER-CENTERED DESIGN PROCESS
UCD ACTIVITIES + DELIVERABLES
I've worked with a variety of clients and always adjust my process and deliverables to meet the needs of the client and team. My goal is always to provide the user-centered design services and deliverables that provide the most impact.
Evaluate + Test
User-centered design and agile work well together. The agile process best suited for a project depends on the design roles on the team, the presence of a client (agency model vs. corporate), the location of the development team (embedded or off-shore), and overall team and project size. I believe the single most important aspect of any agile process is the concept of a "shared understanding". User-centered agile processes allow the whole team to get a better understanding of the users. Communication and collaboration across roles is key to a good agile process and to a more robust and sustainable product.
UCD + AGILE DEVELOPMENT
There are a million ways to get things done. Many of these ways lead to great user-centered products and happy teams.
My experience has told me that a healthy user-centered process greatly enables great design, happy teams, and successful products. I'm always committed to finding the best way for a team to support, and be supported by, the goals of a project through good process.
A process can be as simple as a team's brief discussion about how they plan to get something done, setting expectations with each other, and then following through. It can also be a more robust framework with the same intent. A process shouldn't be a burden, stifle creativity, nor be rigid. Processes are living parts of a team and should to be cared for, assessed for value, and evolved as needed.
"We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them."
~ Albert Einstein
Lean, agile, waterfall, agile-fall, startup, Kanban, rapid-iterative, get-it-done...they all come down to communicating responsibilities, activities, and deliverables within a team environment. In the absence of a formalized process, I've found that transparency and communication are key to keeping teams happy, productive, and efficient.