Beyond Scrum: Agile Strategies for Effective Design Collaboration

Shane Doyle
4 min readMay 25

Imagine a virtual workspace with professionals hustling to meet Scrum deadlines. Virtual post-its litter the digital boards, fingers furiously clacking on keyboards, and the hum of Scrum meetings floats through the virtual air. However, amidst all this activity, a particular group, the designers, seems disconnected from the overall Scrum process. The big question: does Scrum truly serve the designers, or is it just a mirage of productivity?

While Agile and Scrum have changed the way development and product teams operate, it’s debatable if they serve the needs of designers as effectively. I’ve experienced many companies professing their “agile” allegiance, I’ve seen designers get more entangled in meetings and ceremonies than actual design work, myself included. So, designers, though integral to the team, are better off staying away from Scrum.

Before we dive in, let’s remind ourselves what is Scrum. It is a globally celebrated Agile methodology, it champions breaking down work into manageable pieces, fostering team collaboration, and nurturing continuous feedback loops. Sounds perfect, doesn’t it? Yet, there’s a different side to this story.

Despite recognizing these benefits, I’ve found that these meetings often turn into ceremonial rituals rather than productive gatherings for designers. Time spent not listening but checking emails or something else, such as taking them away from work. Imagine attending meetings where your contribution is minimal and often unnoticed. Isn’t that precious time wasted that could have been utilized in creating compelling designs?

Whenever I’ve put forth my perspective, Agile enthusiasts have quickly shot it down and educated me on Scrum’s virtues. They mention shared understanding, sprint planning, daily stand-ups, sprint reviews, retrospectives, and backlog refinement. All promising to enhance collaboration, inform decision-making, maintain alignment, and optimize productivity. Which will lead me to make better products…

This becomes even more crazy when designers are asked to estimate tasks involving backend development! Isn’t it common sense that developers, with their intimate understanding of technology, are better equipped to estimate development tasks? So why ask people who don’t have a clue about development to estimate the work? The stubborn belief in following Scrum to the letter T without adapting it to the team’s needs undermines the…

Shane Doyle

Husband • Dad • Lead Product Designer • 🇮🇪🇪🇺 • • co-founder of

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