In partnership with Janice Fraser of LUXr, Cooper hosted a two-day workshop to share our emerging thoughts around lean user experience and agile product stewardship with a group of designers, developers, and product strategists from Cooper, Adaptive Path, Hot Studio, 500 Startups, and several other organizations.

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We spent the first day exploring the intersecting arcs of lean startup, customer development, user centered design, and lean and agile development. Each of these approaches to making software look at the puzzle from a unique perspective: lean startup and customer development come from the world of business and entrepreneurship; lean and agile development practices strive to build healthy collaborative teams and coerce order and purpose from the sometimes chaotic world of programming; user centered design emphasizes understanding and empathy for people served by the software we create. Lean UX and product stewardship seeks to weave together best practices from all of these approaches.

Material from first day of the workshop is available on Slideshare.net at http://goo.gl/aJwdm

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The next day, the group put their new thinking to work helping Change.org envision and clarify a new initiative. It was fascinating to see founders of early stage startups and consultants to Fortune 500 companies find common ground in their approaches. Some were learning to recognize the particular value of narrative to provide context around features, others identifying places where their existing processes could be more lightweight or robust. When we were done, the fine folks of Change.org had three promising approaches and everyone understood a little bit more about how to move our practice forward.

I'll have much more to say about the ideas and practices behind lean UX and agile product stewardship and I'm excited about sharing our experiences and learning from yours.