A Value Sensitive Design Toolkit for Agile Project Management


Since the early 1990's the value sensitive design (VSD) approach has been a continually burgeoning design methodology for technological innovation. VSD is commonly described as a "principled approach" to technology design, given that it is explicitly orientated towards designing technologies for human values, rather than sidelining them to ad hoc and/or ex post facto design. However, in much of its near three-decades-long development, the VSD approach has mostly been adopted as a conceptual framework to assess existing technologies and to explore how the consequences of the technology's development could have been influenced positively if VSD was adopted early on and throughout the design process (Friedman et al. 2002). Similarly, VSD has been adopted as a conceptual framework for analysing how future speculative technologies like molecular manufacturing (Umbrello 2019) and advanced artificial intelligence systems can be directed towards positive futures (Umbrello and van de Poel 2021). Yet, despite the benefits of these endeavours and VSD being an approach that can be adapted to any given design domain, it has yet to be widely appropriated in existing design spaces as a primary design approach. In this short paper, we aim to fill this lacuna by framing VSD as a toolkit that can be adopted by existing design teams rather than a wholesale approach. In particular, we describe how VSD maps seamlessly onto agile workflows, an approach to project management that is widely adopted globally. By doing so, we hope that the VSD approach will likewise be more attractive and thus adopted more broadly. As a consequence, a more explicit orientation towards designing technologies for human values will follow.

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