Cultural change is the first job of most designmanagers ...
18 Mar 2005 - 9:09am
10 years ago
> From: David Heller, > my first call to order is for cultural change so that I CAN do the design
> work that you would expect from someone like me. This work is slow and very
> very painful. > But for many "innies" of companies that just don't "get design" but > desparately know they need it so they hire you, this is the > first part of the job. It will never be on any job description, but it is
> always there.
Couldn't agree more Dave. (although I'm not currently a design mgr) I
have faced this with almost every position I've had in the last 10 years
of designing. I'm currently in a position where I'm charged w/
implementing cultural change, although that wasn't the job description I
replied to (I'm essentially an internal UX consultant)...even the folks
that brought me on are skittish about all that is involved in this. They
are all onboard to bring a more prominent focus on usability and UX, but
are really unaware of what is involved. I approach this as an
institutionalization effort around usability and user experience design.
I've been in my current position for just over a year and am making
inroads w/ executive level and project managers alike. We're focusing on
the strategic projects and building out the competency in-house as well
as building out our resources.
There is a considerable amount of marketing and management involved in
cultural change (understatement, yes). Getting C-level champions is key
to continued successes. That and also having some failures to point back
to. Not pointing fingers at anyone in particular, only that these
project failures can be attributed, in part, to a lack of user-centered
design and usability activates. The balance between user/desirable :
business/viable : and technology/feasible, can be met, and when done so
provides a successful UX intersection.
Those successes help promote the cultural change as well as provide
momentum moving forward to the next project. In part w/ a cultural
change around UX and usability, we've also recently adopted an agile
development approach, that in many ways is complimentary to our UCD
methods. Bringing business, users, and the project team closer together
has made great leaps towards a cultural change for the better here. It
has provided a great sense of ownership, relationship building, and
continued open lines of communication. Many of which were merely
One other note on this type of change, set your own and your
constituents expectations; it's not going to happen overnight.