Building UX Teams

21 Nov 2008 - 4:02am
5 years ago
11 replies
923 reads
linda yoon
2007

Hello everyone,
I am interested in learning / hearing about building UX teams. What makes a
³good² UX team? Have you been part of a ³great² UX design department? How
would you go about building an ³excellent² UXD team?

If you will share your stories and ideas, I¹d appreciate it greatly.

Thank you in advance!!

Comments

21 Nov 2008 - 9:05am
Benjamin Ho
2007

Here's an article that may help:
http://www.uie.com/articles/ideal_UX_team

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Posted from the new ixda.org
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21 Nov 2008 - 10:07am
Mike Padgett
2008

Ahoj Linda,

I've worked in a number of teams such as might interest you. All of them were small (<= 6 members), so I wouldn't want to theorise about how bigger teams would work.

The best situations for me have always been those in which the notion of a "UX team" is really a label used for convenience by human resources folks rather than a properly distinct business unit. That pours cold water on the ideas of those who like to 'build empires' but there you go. Maintaining a team as a kind of separate entity to developers or business analysts doesn't really work in my experience, usually because of the fact that what we do is still "alien" to a lot of people.

I like to work in the tried-and-tested law firm format: a senior who provides leadership and also operates on a strategic level, a number of "associates" each with their specialities (interaction design, usability testing, requirements gathering) with some overlapping of course, and junior members who preferably "rotate" their duties to gain exposure to all parts of the process.

I think junior team members don't get enough opportunities to develop themselves nowadays. It's important to encourage them to develop additional capabilities that can be utilised when they reach associate level and a kind of maturity in writing through their contributions to project documentation. Apart from feeling valued, they also respond well to being considered as upcoming experts in their areas.

Discussions on this board and elsewhere have also highlighted the interesting angle of practising a methodology such as Agile or RUP. I'm working in a RUP regime at the moment and it's relatively new ground though much of it is common sense.

It's always interesting to take what you know and make it work under the prevailing (and frequently different) business conditions, but in practical terms, it leads to an improved rapport between UX teams and the business/client which has been working this way for a lot longer.

In this way, I once had to remodel a visual design team's business processes in order to meet ISO9001:2000 quality standards. You can probably imagine that, a UX professional sitting in seminars about feedback loops and kite marks, but there's actually a surprising amount of common ground in there with what we do everyday and I found myself really curious and increasingly keen despite myself! ;-)

Thx,

Mike Padgett
www.mikepadgett.com

>Hello everyone,
>I am interested in learning / hearing about building UX teams. What makes a
>³good² UX team? Have you been part of a ³great² UX design department? How
>would you go about building an ³excellent² UXD team?
>
>If you will share your stories and ideas, I¹d appreciate it greatly.
>
>Thank you in advance!!
>________________________________________________________________
>Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
>To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
>Unsubscribe ................ http://www.ixda.org/unsubscribe
>List Guidelines ............ http://www.ixda.org/guidelines
>List Help .................. http://www.ixda.org/help

21 Nov 2008 - 12:18pm
Alexander Baxevanis
2007

Not explicitly about building, more about managing, but may give you
some hints as to how a good UX team can work

http://managinguxteams.com/
http://www.slideshare.net/sarahbnelson/10-tools-for-managing-a-creative-environment
(by Adaptive Path)

On Fri, Nov 21, 2008 at 9:02 AM, Linda Yoon <lindayoon at live.com> wrote:
> Hello everyone,
> I am interested in learning / hearing about building UX teams. What makes a
> ³good² UX team? Have you been part of a ³great² UX design department? How
> would you go about building an ³excellent² UXD team?
>
> If you will share your stories and ideas, I¹d appreciate it greatly.
>
> Thank you in advance!!
> ________________________________________________________________
> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
> To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
> Unsubscribe ................ http://www.ixda.org/unsubscribe
> List Guidelines ............ http://www.ixda.org/guidelines
> List Help .................. http://www.ixda.org/help
>

21 Nov 2008 - 5:20pm
linda yoon
2007

Thank you all for replying. It's very interesting to learn / hear how
the theories and methodologies are working in UXD teams, particularly
stories coming from an individual designer's point of view.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Posted from the new ixda.org
http://www.ixda.org/discuss?post=35869

22 Nov 2008 - 4:00am
Pietro Desiato
2008

Mike Padgett wrote:
> I like to work in the tried-and-tested law firm format:
> a senior who provides leadership and also operates
> on a strategic level, a number of "associates" each
> with their specialities (interaction design, usability
> testing, requirements gathering) with some overlapping
> of course, and junior members who preferably "rotate"
> their duties to gain exposure to all parts of the process.
>

I'd like to know what you guys think about junior interaction
designer. In my opinion it's really hard to have the chance to
express yourself without real decisional power. Morever, an ixd
designer should aim to establish strong relations with all the team:
how do you think this can happen if your senior is very capable and
everybody refers to him?
Junior ixd designers seem a little bit contradictory for the role
that this professional figure should represent...

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Posted from ixda.org (via iPhone)
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22 Nov 2008 - 5:56am
dszuc
2005

Hi Linda:

Your question = "What makes a "good" UX team? Have you been part
of a "great" UX design department? How would you go about building
an "excellent" UXD team?"

Some thoughts on what makes a good UX team:

1. Can communicate clearly

2. Is able to teach methods and empower those outside of the UX team
to find insights to improve UX (so does not keep UX all to
themselves) See next point.

3. Can sell UX organizationally -
http://www.uxmatters.com/MT/archives/000335.php

4. Can help the business improve products and services and pick the
right projects to work on (rather than just talk about design or UX
for its own sake)

5. Can prove their value -
http://www.apogeehk.com/articles/Value.html

6. Has a simple set of tools and knows when to use them at the right
time to find the right answers (but does not get caught up in the
tool itself) - See: "Choosing the Right Usability Technique (Getting
the Answers You Need)" -
http://www.wqusability.com/publications.html#workshops and
http://www.sitepoint.com/kits/usability1/

7. Can walkthrough results and bridge research into design -
http://uxmatters.com/MT/archives/000199.php

8. Can build relationships -
http://www.apogeehk.com/articles/Six_techniques_for_advocating_design_in_your_organization.html

9. Has a strong manager who can filter work opportunities, advocate
for UX organizationally and know how to manage a team with varied
skill sets

10. Fill in your own :)

rgds,
Dan

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Posted from the new ixda.org
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22 Nov 2008 - 6:15am
Melvin Jay Kumar
2007

Great inputs from all.

Another item I want to throw into the mix here, is, where in the
organization are you and how much sponsorship for UX ? That alone
would set the tone to how the team should be created and the kind of
skills you need etc...etc...etc

Are you a cost center or a revenue center? , that is another major
differentiator which would lead to what a good team should be made up
off.....

Cost centers & revenues centers in my experience needs different types
of experience and skill levels ......

Regards,

Jay Kumar

On Fri, Nov 21, 2008 at 5:02 PM, Linda Yoon <lindayoon at live.com> wrote:
> Hello everyone,
> I am interested in learning / hearing about building UX teams. What makes a
> ³good² UX team? Have you been part of a ³great² UX design department? How
> would you go about building an ³excellent² UXD team?
>
> If you will share your stories and ideas, I¹d appreciate it greatly.
>
> Thank you in advance!!
> ________________________________________________________________
> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
> To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
> Unsubscribe ................ http://www.ixda.org/unsubscribe
> List Guidelines ............ http://www.ixda.org/guidelines
> List Help .................. http://www.ixda.org/help
>

24 Nov 2008 - 3:31am
Jarod Tang
2007

It's more or less like Design a Good Environment for Designers.
1. Productive, they generate design solutions that make sense
2. earth for good, It should brings the good part instead of other
side of each members
3. Inspires, guys tends to be open and respond to innovate, it provide
environment for generating good design
4. Integrate, everyone find himself from the work
5. Innovate instead of restrict, It has principles instead of rules
for activities
etc.

Regards,
Jarod
On Fri, Nov 21, 2008 at 5:02 PM, Linda Yoon <lindayoon at live.com> wrote:
> Hello everyone,
> I am interested in learning / hearing about building UX teams. What makes a
> ³good² UX team? Have you been part of a ³great² UX design department? How
> would you go about building an ³excellent² UXD team?
>
> If you will share your stories and ideas, I¹d appreciate it greatly.
>
> Thank you in advance!!
> ________________________________________________________________
> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
> To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
> Unsubscribe ................ http://www.ixda.org/unsubscribe
> List Guidelines ............ http://www.ixda.org/guidelines
> List Help .................. http://www.ixda.org/help
>

--
http://designforuse.blogspot.com/

24 Nov 2008 - 4:53am
Mike Padgett
2008

When I learned to drive (many) years ago and I got nervous about the long trail of vehicles building up behind me as I struggled along, my driving instructor would say tell me not to worry about them, for they had all been learners at one time.

Same goes for junior UX folks: everyone has been at that level at some point in the past. When I was a junior designer, I often had to work crazy hours, was often given little opportunity to contribute (other than getting the coffees) and the credit for a couple of the good ideas I was allowed to have were stolen by a design director who had little understanding of online issues.

At the time, they told me "that's how things are, your time will come". I'm not sure if that particular golden panacea has arrived as yet, but I don't agree at all with that attitude. In terms of UX awareness, I personally have plenty of respect for the generation born closer to the current technology and whose intuitions are sometimes more insightful than my Punchcard-Spectrum-Atari contemporaries ;-)

Of course, "junior" doesn't always equate to "younger", but whatever its composition, this particular cadre of designers is too often undervalued. As I mentioned in my last post, it's probably better to encourage junior team members to develop consulting expertise sooner rather than later so that a) they can get out there and earn some confidence, respect and fees (or else they will become competitors) and b) they have the savoir faire for Technology X when it comes to be the norm for your org.

This is a matter of skills and mentoring, which I know can be scarce qualities these days. In return, you nurture a hard-working, enquiring and hopefully bright individual who will move from supporting to leading in just a short while. If the team (and that's a team, not a dictatorship) can break down tasks in a project properly, then it can easily involve a junior team member properly.

Thx,

Mike Padgett
www.mikepadgett.com

>
>Mike Padgett wrote:
>> I like to work in the tried-and-tested law firm format:
>> a senior who provides leadership and also operates
>> on a strategic level, a number of "associates" each
>> with their specialities (interaction design, usability
>> testing, requirements gathering) with some overlapping
>> of course, and junior members who preferably "rotate"
>> their duties to gain exposure to all parts of the process.
>>
>
> I'd like to know what you guys think about junior interaction
>designer. In my opinion it's really hard to have the chance to
>express yourself without real decisional power. Morever, an ixd
>designer should aim to establish strong relations with all the team:
>how do you think this can happen if your senior is very capable and
>everybody refers to him?
>Junior ixd designers seem a little bit contradictory for the role
>that this professional figure should represent...
>
>
>. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
>Posted from ixda.org (via iPhone)
>http://www.ixda.org/discuss?post=35869
>
>
>________________________________________________________________
>Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
>To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
>Unsubscribe ................ http://www.ixda.org/unsubscribe
>List Guidelines ............ http://www.ixda.org/guidelines
>List Help .................. http://www.ixda.org/help

24 Nov 2008 - 6:16am
Mike Padgett
2008

I like the track that Jay is on here. So at the risk of stating the obvious, my experience has so far been that those organisations that have recognised the intrinsic value of (online) UX in helping to differentiate them from the competition will input the most resources.

To illustrate that, online banking - in which I have been heavily involved in the last few years - is a particular area in which I have noted some of the most sophisticated in-house UX operations.

In-house is in many ways more interesting to me, because a) all decent agencies should be capable of being considered UX experts anyway and b) orgs have to make a considerable effort to integrate such an "alien" species into their business cultures in a way that demands considerable creativity when thinking about how to achieve accountability, measurability and billability (sic).

As I mentioned in a previous post on this subject, building a UX team to fit organisational expectations, including a quality standard such as ISO9001:2000 or recognised process models (e.g. RUP), can be real challenges for design managers. This sort of integration can and should be encouraged and I consider myself fortunate to have been involved in initiatives like these because they're a two-way street.

Artefacts that might seem at first glance fairly unrelated to our field (e.g. feedback loops, sales paths and iterative business modelling) are capable of being adapted and used in UX work itself, indeed they often already inform it. And while much of our work is experimental, these are things that will help us with our daily management responsibilities.

Put simply, you can learn a lot from accountants, lawyers and salespeople because their roles have been around a lot longer than ours and we can generally learn a lot from their experience. Or to borrow from Dean Gooderham Acheson, it's not good policy to be an isolationist.

Besides, anyone who has run or is running a consultancy will know that you can no longer consider yourself exclusively a designer or whatever. In fact, you're a Photoshop composite of all of the above and you will be a better professional for it.

Thx,

Mike Padgett
www.mikepadgett.com

>Great inputs from all.
>
>Another item I want to throw into the mix here, is, where in the
>organization are you and how much sponsorship for UX ? That alone
>would set the tone to how the team should be created and the kind of
>skills you need etc...etc...etc
>
>Are you a cost center or a revenue center? , that is another major
>differentiator which would lead to what a good team should be made up
>off.....
>
>Cost centers & revenues centers in my experience needs different types
>of experience and skill levels ......
>
>Regards,
>
>Jay Kumar
>
>
>
>On Fri, Nov 21, 2008 at 5:02 PM, Linda Yoon <lindayoon at live.com> wrote:
>> Hello everyone,
>> I am interested in learning / hearing about building UX teams. What makes a
>> ³good² UX team? Have you been part of a ³great² UX design department? How
>> would you go about building an ³excellent² UXD team?
>>
>> If you will share your stories and ideas, I¹d appreciate it greatly.
>>
>> Thank you in advance!!
>> ________________________________________________________________
>> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
>> To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
>> Unsubscribe ................ http://www.ixda.org/unsubscribe
>> List Guidelines ............ http://www.ixda.org/guidelines
>> List Help .................. http://www.ixda.org/help
>>
>________________________________________________________________
>Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
>To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
>Unsubscribe ................ http://www.ixda.org/unsubscribe
>List Guidelines ............ http://www.ixda.org/guidelines
>List Help .................. http://www.ixda.org/help

25 Nov 2008 - 6:06pm
fabuloso
2008

Catching up with all the emails.

Im not sure if this was mentioned yet by anyone...
the following is a presented by Ms. Leah Buley at the IA Summit 08:

http://www.adaptivepath.com/blog/2008/05/07/ia-summit-08-slidecast-how-to-be-a-ux-team-of-one/

hope that gives you some insight..

Fabian

On Nov 21, 2008, at 4:02 AM, Linda Yoon wrote:

Hello everyone,
I am interested in learning / hearing about building UX teams. What
makes a
“good” UX team? Have you been part of a “great” UX design department?
How
would you go about building an “excellent” UXD team?

If you will share your stories and ideas, I’d appreciate it greatly.

Thank you in advance!!
________________________________________________________________
Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
Unsubscribe ................ http://www.ixda.org/unsubscribe
List Guidelines ............ http://www.ixda.org/guidelines
List Help .................. http://www.ixda.org/help

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