UX in *your* business

(Dan Course) #1

Hey Brum-land!

What is UX in your business? Is it an awareness of user research and testing for all staff to make better product decisions for users, or is it a specific role instead of a product manager, or is it it’s own role with a product manager? What does that role do? Do they take on specific challenges rising from a product and see it through to the end with a project manager?

I’ve been reading so much theory I’m desperate for grounding in real uses now, and keep struggling I just don’t see how it fits in with everyday businesses past it being an awareness of your user feedback to influence your product feature changes. It always seems like a set of skills a product manager should have!

I’d love to hear actual real life examples from you if you have any (rather than more theory, hopes and dreams!), thanks for your thoughts :slight_smile:

Best, DanC

(Matt Moran) #2

Well, at my work it’s both a specific role and an awareness - all of us, for example, that are software developers, have had accessibility training, so there’s zero excuse for getting that wrong, but our UX & artists work as a pair to produce good designs & user journeys through our site, which they pass on to us. If we have queries about the design they are on hand to answer questions. We can show them what we have at any stage of the process, and the finished product has to pass their inspection before it can be demoed to the client.

(Andy Wootton) #3

My most recent dev work was as Product Owner in small agile teams in a small IT department, in a consultancy and R&D department in a huge engineering company so the UX came from all over. There were prescriptive but good style guides and CSS templates from the corporate IT department that were consistent internationally with TV and press advertising campaigns but my team layered other design decisions onto the portfolio we managed for the R&D department, to give a consistent approach to product design for a ‘market’. Remember though that your definition of ‘products’ is almost entirely arbitrary. It’s just a boundary around a chunk of work that you have chosen to see as discreet. A Product Owner or Product Manager are responsible for the development or lifecycle planning of product(s). That may not map neatly onto design of either appearance or technical architecture and consequent user-experience boundaries. We also had portfolio managers to try to plan incremental changes across and between products.
Nearly all our software was .Net web apps but they could be ‘internal’, ‘internal customers’ or ‘external’ e.g. business partners. My team was not responsible for ‘public’ web sites but might be for services that fed them.
I did some work on splitting ‘jobs’ down into ‘roles’ that needed ‘skills’ and there were overlaps. I was doing the work to make sure there was ‘cover’ for all knowledge when a colleague was retiring. The roles won’t be the same in every organisation, because the structure, needs, culture and rate of business change are different.

(Dan Course) #4

Thanks Matt for taking the time. That makes sense to me. So it’s about awareness, but also there are roles in straight UX.

So does the UX person, when working with the designer handle known user feedback, and user sentiment and then piece together the wireframes and design with the designer? Does that go back through the Scrum / or a project manager to help move along?

Best, DanC

(Dan Course) #5

Thanks Andy for taking the time as well. Good to hear it’s not a “set in stone” role. So you’re saying that the discrete areas a PM chooses to advance next have to map into the whole UX of the piece and a UX person is responsible for that cohesiveness?

(Matt Moran) #6

Sort of - we have a Product Owner who is from the client’s company, who represents what the client wants. UX & Art work with them to arrive at the design. UX will refer back to the Product Owner if there’s any uncertainty, and will of course show them the wireframes. The whole team will demo the finished product, or what we have so far, every couple of weeks at scrum-end. The Scrum master will liaise with UX, PO, etc to keep everything moving smoothly. I think. I mean, I’m a back-end guy so I have limited exposure to this part of the process but that seems to be what’s happening, from what I observe.

(Andy Wootton) #7

The Product Owner role is fairly clearly defined in https://www.scrum.org/resources/scrum-guide, specifically https://www.scrumguides.org/scrum-guide.html#team-po but people still disagree about who it should be. I think it is best performed by an expert who wants a product but if the product has many customers then someone who can gather and understand many opinions may need to be their proxy. Note: “Optimizing the value of the work the Development Team performs” (on one product development.) Wanting to optimise across multiple releases over time, pushes you towards a Product Manager. A Portfolio Manager might optimise investment across Products. It depends on the business context.

My main point was that the boundaries of every Product are potentially flexible. I worked in a software house that wrote software for drug trials and real-time industrial control systems. There was hardly any need for common UX or cohesiveness because we didn’t share any customers. We could have been 2 separate companies. We used different languages but shared the costs of the same development systems.