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I'm very new to wireframing in an Agile environment (2-week sprints). My wireframes and storyboards contain features for immediate release as well planning as for future releases.

I'm using Visio, and at the moment have seperate visio files for different functionalities (parts of the site). And each visio file includes wireframes for the different releases. But it means that it's not obvious upfront which releases a wireframe caters for. This works so far, as I can update the pages easily as I go along. But when things change in an early release, it can be a bit of a pain as those changes sometimes need to be replicated to pages for the future releases as well.

I'm not convinced my approach is the best and I'm sure many of you have experience in such environments. How do you currently manage your wireframes and storyboards to cope?

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2 Answers

It sounds like your "down the road" wireframes are a bit too far along on the fidelity spectrum. In other words, they're too detailed if you feel much "pain" when the ground changes under your feed (which it often does, in your case as well as mine).

Have you tried just using pen/marker/paper (lo-fi) for your longer term wireframes and saving Visio (higher-fi) as your deliverables start to solidify?

That method would also more clearly communicate to developers what's further along and fleshed out in the design process.

A sketch communicates → "Things can change, but this is an idea we want to explore."

And the further you move along the fidelity spectrum to things like wireframes and full-blown pixel comps…

Wireframes communicate → "We're refining this and resolving specific questions about the design."

Bill Buxton discusses this continuum from sketch to prototype (and the artifacts in between) in Sketching User Experiences (pp 135-141).

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You could be right about fidelity... perhaps I am thinking too far ahead. I do sketch (pen+paper) and then add to my Visio collection. But maybe i'm adding to visio too soon. I've also recently started html wireframing as well, and am now thinking of going from sketch to html (skipping the visio completely). –  ivyclark Aug 12 '10 at 2:41
    
+1 for advocating sketching. I've skipped Visio completely lately, moving directly from Sharpie sketches (or Balsamiq quick mockups) to Axure prototypes. We also take photos of our quick sketches and attach them to the user stories. The team knows that if it's a loose sketch done in Sharpie, it's going to change. –  LindaBrammer Aug 15 '13 at 20:55
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I usually make storyboards in PowerPoint and put them on a central file share. (Used to be Sharepoint, which I liked). This is a starting point for the developers.

I usually work with them on the actual product and things shift and change from the original PowerPoint design. In the end, the PowerPoint only has a weak link to the real thing. It becomes outdated and useless.

We have demo days, once a week, where we show off our work to a larger group. This is where things solidify and become "the way its supposed to be". We make punchlists in those meetings. QA attends too, so they know what is "designed behavior".

Then nearing release (monthly) we work with training, support, product marketing, etc to document the existing behavior.

There are lots of methods. This is just the one I use. I hope this was helpful for you.

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Thanks Glen. We have discussions very regularly too and I find that helps :) I'm trying to figure out if there's a better way to put ideas+wireframes for future releases down somehow, alongside the current delivery scope. Perhaps as Kyle has suggested, these unconfirmed ideas should remain as sketches until we revisit them in the future. –  ivyclark Aug 12 '10 at 3:47
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