4 people from TargetProcess attended London UX Conference this year. It was a decent event and here are mine "take-aways".
UX + Agile
Alan Cooper read a solid visionary lecture about UX future and adoption. The main trend is to mix agile software development practices with user experience teams. There is a new initiative called Balanced Team. He did not spend much time on this topic, but that is something I am curious about. We've been adopting UX + Agile at TargetProcess since 2009 and definitely want to do that efficiently.
It was nice to be reassured that we are going in the right direction as a company. We already do many things Alan mentioned in his speech.
Our meetings might be better. Sometimes they are too long. Sometimes too boring. Sometimes there is no clear outcome. Quite many workshops and sessions at London UX 2011 were dedicated to better, more productive and more fun meetings. Sunni Brown ran a fantastic workshop: The Art of Graphic facilitation (a.k.a. “How to Run A Workshop with Pictures”). It was very funny and useful. We had several short creative meetings and drew a lot of sketches. I highly recommend her Gamestorming book.
Kate Rutter's session Design Patterns for Fantabulous Collaborations was very informative and I've learned new ways of running efficient meetings, but the practical part was a bit boring and out of context. Overall, after this conference I have a clear understanding how we can improve our meetings which is good. Best Practices for Facilitation looks like a "must read" book, but it seems you can barely purchase it.
We often do ad-hoc meetings, without any preparation. We go like "Let's discuss this user story with filters". However, such meetings should be planned. All attendees should be prepared. There should be a right balance of order and chaos. Our meetings are on the chaotic end, so we have a huge space to improve.
Sketching, Sketching, Sketching
Everybody should be able to sketch. It means we should train people to not be afraid to draw something and express information with words AND pictures. Adults often prefer to write and don't like to draw their thoughts. Mostly because they're wary of looking "unprofessional" and "ridiculous". We should break this prejudice. Sketching is a very powerful technique that allows people to try and express ideas blazingly fast. Bill Buxton wrote an incredible book Sketching User Experience. Read it and you will understand why sketching is so cool.