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The Role of User Experience Management in an ALM Assessment


User experience management ensures developers are thinking about what the end user wants when building applications.

This means having a structured process for understanding what the user needs and how they will interact with the software. Without the right processes, people and tools for arriving at that understanding, businesses risk creating ineffective products that require multiple updates or fail to achieve business goals.

As such, user experience management is a vital part of the application lifecycle management process and the second thing we assess in a technical due diligence report.

In this article, we’ll look at why having a mature user experience management process is so important, what that should look like in practice and how we assess a company’s user experience management practices as part of our technical due diligence report.


Why Do Organizations Need Mature User Experience Management?

Mature user experience management lets companies produce software that is loved by end users and achieves business goals.

The difference between having a user experience team (and a set of processes in place) versus not having them is significant, says Debbie Levitt, founder and principal at Delta CX. Without user experience management systems, software is usually built first and revised later. But when you have user experience experts, designs get tested before a single line of code is written.

“This ensures that the product or feature we’re considering building is the right execution of the right idea for our target customers,” Levitt writes.

It also streamlines the approval process. “If someone changes their mind along the way, that person talks to UX rather than putting it in as a change request to developers,” Levitt says. “UX runs interference during their process and nothing is sent to engineering without UX being involved in designs, decisions, and testing on real or archetypal customers.”



5 Ways to Assess User Experience Management

As part of our application lifecycle management assessment, we analyze the processes, people and tools businesses use to manage the following user experience disciplines:



A thorough prototyping process is essential because it reduces risks substantially, says Bill Clerici, CEO and partner at Kingsmen Software. “Prototyping is one of the best ways to test and evaluate your idea, so you know you’re building the right solution before typing a line of code.”

There are several processes and tools we look for in a mature prototyping practice. What those are will vary, depending on where teams are in the process. “For example, if you are at the conceptualization stage, a paper prototype will work,” says Steven Widen, partner and president at E-Cubed Media Synthesis Inc.

“If you want to build a higher-fidelity prototype, there are a lot of user-friendly prototyping tools that allow you to build one without any coding knowledge.”


Persona Management

Developers and user experience experts need to know who they are designing and building solutions for. That’s where persona management comes in.

Personas are detailed descriptions of your end user, Clerici explains. They describe who the end user is, their habits, their behaviors and their goals. Personas put a face to the story and ensure developers are addressing the specific wants and needs of the end user.

Businesses need to be constantly refining personas as part of a mature process. Customer needs and pain points change over time, so it is important to update personas to reflect those changes. As such, there needs to be a process in place to continually capture user feedback.


Style Guidelines

Consistency is key when it comes to delivering a satisfying user experience. Each piece of software needs to look and feel the same.

“In an ideal world, a product code (or code of different programs created by a particular company) should look like it was written by a single person, even if it was written by hundreds,” says Bradley Nice at ClickHelp.com. “Conforming to a style guide removes unneeded guesswork and ambiguities.”

A style guide streamlines your software development process by reducing the time developers spend fixing code issues, says software engineer Catarina Gralha. It also reduces the complexity of your code base, improves the bug-fixing process, and reduces development time and cost by enabling developers to reuse code from other applications.

What do style guidelines look like in practice? “Programming style guides are composed of rules and guidance,” explains David Carty, site editor at TechTarget. “A coding style guide might inform programmers on such issues as acceptable naming conventions, how to store source files, and code format. Some rules border on the mundane, but they collectively serve larger organizational goals.”



Wireframes are a form of prototype that lay out the visual concepts of an application.

Wireframes act as blueprints, showing what different elements of the application will look like and how they work together, says Randy Costner, Head of Engineering at Kingsmen Software. These don’t have to be anything more advanced than rough sketches on paper.

Wireframes are effective for spotting issues or redundancies in an application before development starts. Any changes made during the wireframing stage have barely any impact on your team’s workflow.


Experience Design Management

Experience design management is the most complicated part of user experience management, says Clerici: “Software teams need to be visualizing the full product experience for the end user. That means understanding their needs and values, but also how they find your product, interact with it and use it to solve their pain points.”

In-depth user journey maps are the best way to achieve this understanding. UX designers and developers need to combine market research that highlights the customer journey from start to finish, then pair those maps with design and development best practices to create a user experience that satisfies a person’s needs at every stage of the product life cycle.

It’s an intensive process, but the payoff is huge. “Given that 50% of development time and effort can be spent on changes and fixes, UX [design] reduces development costs by reducing the need for such changes and fixes in the first place,” CodiLime’s Sebastian Janiec and Łukasz Wawrzkiewicz write.

“A UX design process helps keep a project within a budget and saves time, focusing resources on the functionalities that really matter to the user. There is less risk of feature creep, and the product design specifications are more effectively focused.”



Assess User Experience Management With Kingsmen Software

Our application lifecycle management assessment uses a heatmap to grade each of the areas above from good to poor. During an acquisition, this map can help potential investors understand any potential technical risks they could be taking on.

You can find out more about how we assess user experience management and our entire technical due diligence process by speaking to one of our experts.


Images by: UX Indonesia, Tirza van Dijk, Kelly Sikkema

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