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Laying the foundation for a great UX team

| March 29, 2016
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Today’s post is an excerpt from our eBook, 4 Stages of building and scaling a UX team. Enjoy!

The good news about user-centered roles is that they’re quickly becoming less of a specialty and more of a necessity. For organizations that have caught on to the importance of a user-centered culture, expanding your UX family should be an easier sell. But not everyone in your organization will be on board the UX bandwagon. And the pool of talented candidates available is vast and deep. This means that when you’re ready to build out your team, you’ll have to be thoughtful and strategic with every hire. How you go about hiring the next addition to your team is just as important as the quality of person you hire.

A note on “where they sit”

UX roles are unique in that they can be “owned” by just about any team in the organization. The way we see it, everyone needs UX, which means your UX team could be pretty spread out. You may have one UX generalist sitting with a product team while another sits with the marketing department. Or you could have your whole team in the same area. UX can live anywhere in your organization, so don’t limit yourself to hiring for one specific team or discipline.

Laying the foundation

Hiring great people is a no-brainer, but finding great people who are right for the job will take some effort. UX folks are a special breed, and that means you’ll probably need to search a bit longer to find the right fit. When you’re putting together your team, focus on individuals who share your organization’s passion for creating a great UX. People who can work well in cross-functional teams and are open to feedback make great candidates.

You’ll also want varying degrees of experience on your UX team. While some expertise is ideal, you don’t want to load your team with high-level pros in each discipline without balancing them out with junior-level support. More junior team members tend to have more varied experience, which will help keep everyone connected and moving in the right direction. This will help prevent the siloing that can happen when teams get too focused on a specific role or objective.

UserTesting tip

The UX universe is filled with buzzword-worthy titles. One company’s user experience content strategist is another’s junior user experience manager. UX professionals are becoming increasingly fluid with how they define their roles and titles. If you’ve narrowed your LinkedIn search for “senior UX designers,” you might miss a lot of folks who identify as design strategists. If you want to ensure that you’re reaching the best and brightest, don’t limit yourself with super-specific job titles.