Do you feel like you are always playing catch up?
Do you feel like you are seen as a blocker?
Does it feel like you are often putting lipstick on a pig?
Do you often miss pivotal conversations on features being implemented?
Do stakeholders often demand what the features should look like without input from others?
If you have answered yes to any of the above questions then you are not alone. It is only recently that UX has been recognised as one of the core skills that a Scrum team may need to have and the questions above allude to just a few of the many challenges those of us who work in a UX role will often face.
Before all else though, I believe it is important that we have good collaboration with our colleagues. Many articles out there highlight how important teamwork is in an Agile environment, but in particular I want to highlight the importance of it regarding the UX SME.
I’m constantly improving the product I’m working on while looking at my role holistically. The team I work with, the company I work for, how to engage with my colleagues and how to spread the UX ethos I live by. I’m a problem solver, and I love it. I believe for a UX specialist to work successfully within a team and help address the questions above, they should build a rapport with all team members, not just the development team, but the Product Owner and stakeholders as well. All of these relationships need to be nurtured if we are going to build trust in the decisions that we make.
It’s not as simple as being a friend to everyone though, although that helps. Teams with people that have transparency of what each other is doing is a good start, but I feel that we can go further and have the whole team involved in UX activities, for example, we aren’t the only people who need to carry out UX related tasks such as user testing or collating research.
Instead, I believe that we should live by the ‘cross-functional’ ethos that is core to Scrum by trying some of the following:
• Invite a teammate to help when collating research.
• Get stakeholders involved when refining personas.
• Invite the Product Owner and developers to shadow or take part when carrying out user testing.
• Pair with team mates on user stories that are currently being worked on.
• Be open and available to answer questions and discuss the evidence behind your decisions.
• Run UX Brown Bag sessions.
• Make UX deliverables more transparent; share user testing results, utilise Confluence to show user flows, make use of the spare bit of wall next to the whiteboard to stick up customer journey maps and spread your work around!
User Experience should not be the responsibility of a single person. Everyone on the team should be considering it – after all, we are all users of all different kinds of products in our everyday lives and the experience of everybody counts.
We do not need to hide tips and tricks when conducting UX related tasks, instead part of the role should be to show others how to approach UX problems by educating everyone involved.