Epiphanies and Old Habits: Getting Over Design Mockups

My company loves Photoshop comps. Way too much. I know this and yet, to some degree, I’ve enabled it.

It’s not original of me to say that static mockups are misleading and often unnecessary. 37 Signals fairly shouts it. It’s also deep in the agile spirit of conversations over contracts.

Whiteboard SketchMy team walks this talk. We co-locate our designer to pair with our developers. We present product ideas using hand drawn sketches and narratives.

Still, in a company with design approvals and a history of handing down information architecture to developers it’s tempting (I’m tempted) to ward off complications by cooking up visuals that are irrelevant, obvious or subject to change, “pushing pixels that won’t even exist later.”

At first, you create formalities around your agile process to protect your team but with success you get opportunities to teach by doing — to demonstrate work is unnecessary by not doing it.

All this hit me today like it had never occurred to me before even though I’d read, thought and said some variation of it so many times I should have put music to it by now.

We’ve earned some trust. As my team starts building our first web products for our company, I think it’s time to end our infatuation with 800×600 jpegs.

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About Ken Judy

I am an executive manager, software developer, father and husband trying to do more good than harm. I am an agile practitioner. I say this fully aware I say nothing. Sold as a tool to solve problems, agile is more a set of principles that encourage us to confront problems. Broad adoption of the jargon has not resulted in wide embrace of these principles. I strive to create material and human good by respecting co-workers, telling truth to employers, improving my skills, and caring for the people affected by the software I help build.