Recruiting UX talent and training teams are challenges that many digital teams face, but once you have the team you need to work out where they fit in.
Simple questions such as, where do they sit within your company structure and even physically within your office can have large implications for your team.
Centralised UX teams are how organisations have traditionally approached the placement of their UX resource. By having the UX team together, the business can brief requirements and the team then works out who should work on which projects.
Working this way has meant that:
What it's also meant is that product owners have historically tried to solutionise their challenges, briefing in the UX team around what they want (rather than briefing them on the problem they're trying to solve). And who can blame them when the guys in the UX team don't really understand the intricacies of the product.
The key benefit of a product manager working with a UX professional is that the UX designer helps solve the problem through well thought out user-centred design solutions - having the UX team so separate from product managers makes this difficult.
We've seen a hybrid model working really well, with most of your UX designers embedded in product teams with a small centralised team of subject matter experts supporting them.
Many brands have moved away from a centralised internal agency model, preferring to have UX and UI specialists embedded within product teams alongside the product manager, developers etc. (This is part of a wider move to us all working continuously on products and not just on projects).
This means that UX designers:
That's the theory anyway... In reality, this does happen but UX designers can quickly become isolated and get too close to the product, and you can sometimes see a long-term decline in original thinking and the quality of output.
We've seen a few other problems occurring with this setup:
What if there was a way to gain the benefits of both models? We've seen a hybrid model working really well, with most of your UX designers embedded in product teams with a small centralised team of subject matter experts supporting them.
To do this you need to:
Your competency framework will help you identify the skills gaps in your team
You should then also create some rules to keep your UX designers motivated and able to learn from each other, for example:
It's hard work implementing and then maintaining all of this - do so and you'll have happy UX designers contributing real value to your business.
How exciting, let's get started
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