Usability Assessment of an Extreme Programming Project: Close Co-operation with the Customer Does Not Equal to Good Usability

  • Timo Jokela
  • Pekka Abrahamsson
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 3009)


Extreme programming (XP) is a development paradigm that is becoming widespread in the field of software engineering. Very few – if any – empirically validated research results have been reported on the relationship between usability engineering and XP. To understand to which extent XP guides to development of software that is usable, a usability process assessment was conducted on a controlled XP project. The analysis reveals that XP pays almost no attention on the usability of the software, apart from some actions that can be regarded as implicit usability evaluations. The analysis shows further that in XP the team transfers the responsibility of the product’s usability to the customer. It is argued, however, that an XP team is in trouble when an enlightened customer sets value on usability requirements. These findings bear significant implications on research and practice. These implications are discussed and a promising avenue for solution is identified.


Usability Requirement Acceptance Testing Usability Feedback Usability Engineering User Task 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. 1.
    ISO/IEC, 9241-11 Ergonomic requirements for office work with visual display terminals (VDT)s - Part 11 Guidance on usability, ISO/IEC 9241-11: 1998 (E) (1998)Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Nielsen, J.: Usability Engineering. Academic Press, Inc., San Diego (1993)zbMATHGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    ISO/IEC, 13407 Human-Centred Design Processes for Interactive Systems, ISO/IEC 13407: 1999 (E), International Organization for Standardization, Genève, Switzerland (1999)Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Beck, K.: Extreme programming explained: Embrace change. Addison Wesley Longman, Inc., Reading (2000)Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Macomber, G., Rauch, T.: UCD in the Age of Web Years, XP, and Agile Programming Methods: Towards Agile User-Centered Design. Presented at UPA 2003 (2003)Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    CMMI, CMMISM for Systems Engineering/Software Engineering, Version 1.02. Continuous Representation, Software Engineering Institute, Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh (2000)Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    Jeffries, R., Anderson, A., Hendrickson, C.: Extreme Programming Installed. Addison-Wesley, Upper Saddle River (2001)Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    Boehm, B.: Get Ready For The Agile Methods, With Care. Computer 35, 64–69 (2002)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    Abrahamsson, P.: Extreme programming: First results from a controlled case study. Presented at Euromicro 2003, Antalya, Turkey (2003)Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    ISO/IEC, 15504-2 Software Process Assessment - Part 2: A reference model for processes and process capability, ISO/IEC TR 15504-2: 1998 (E), International Organization for Standardization, Genève, Switzerland (1998)Google Scholar
  11. 11.
    Jokela, T.: Assessment of user-centred design processes as a basis for improvement action. An experimental study in industrial settings. Oulu University Press, Oulu (2001)Google Scholar
  12. 12.
    Coallier, F., McKenzie, R., Wilson, J., Hatz, J.: Trillium Model for Telecom Product Development & Support Process Capability. Release 3.0. Internet edition, Bell, Canada, vol. 1999 (1994)Google Scholar
  13. 13.
    Flanagan, G.A.: Usability Leadership Maturity Model (Self-assessment Version). Delivered in a Special Interest Group session, Denver, USA (1995)Google Scholar
  14. 14.
    Taylor, B., Gupta, A., Hefley, W., McLelland, I., Van Gelderen, T.: Human Ware Process Improvement - institutionalising the principles of user-centred design. In: Tutorial PM14 H Human-centred processes and their impact, Presented at Human-Computer Interaction Conference on People and Computers XIII, Sheffiel Hallam University (1998)Google Scholar
  15. 15.
    Eason, K., Harker, S.D.: User Centred Design Maturity. Internal working document, Department of Human Sciences, Loughborough University, Loughborough, Internal working document (1997)Google Scholar
  16. 16.
    Earthy, J.: Usability Maturity Model: Human Centredness Scale. INUSE Project deliverable D5.1.4(s). Version 1.2., Lloyd’s Register of Shipping, London IE2016 INUSE Deliverable D5.1.4s (1998)Google Scholar
  17. 17.
    ISO/IEC, 18529 Human-centred Lifecycle Process Descriptions, ISO/IEC TR 18529: 2000 (E) (2000) Google Scholar
  18. 18.
    DATech, DATech-Prüfbaustein. Usability-Engineering-Prozess, Version 1.2, Deutsche Akkreditierungsstelle Technik e.V., Frankfurt/Main (2002)Google Scholar
  19. 19.
    ISO/IEC, A specification for the process assessment of human-system issues. Version 2.1, committee draft," ISO/IEC TC 159 / SC 4 N 704 / WG 6 2002-09-19 (2002)Google Scholar
  20. 20.
    Jokela, T.: Making User-Centred Design Common Sense: Striving for an Unambiguous and Communicative UCD Process Model. Presented at NordiCHI 2002, Aarhus, Denmark (2002)Google Scholar
  21. 21.
    Klein, H.K., Myers, M.D.: A set of principles for conducting and evaluating interpretative field studies in information systems. MIS Quarterly 23, 67–94Google Scholar
  22. 22.
    Constantine, L.L.: Process Agility and Software Usability: Toward Lightweight Usage- Centered Design, vol. 2003. Constantine & Lockwood, Ltd. (2002)Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  • Timo Jokela
    • 1
  • Pekka Abrahamsson
    • 2
  1. 1.University of OuluFinland
  2. 2.VTT Technical Research Centre of FinlandOuluFinland

Personalised recommendations