What To Do If Your UX Team Is Under-Resourced

Hello all.
Benjamin Franklin was wrong. He claimed that the only certain things in life are death and taxes, but he missed something – that UX teams are under-resourced compared to other departments.

Most UX Teams Are Overstretched

I have worked with companies that have had over 100 developers and a single UX designer. That maybe an extreme example, but it is common for me to encounter UX teams of one.

Organizations with UX teams typically have way more projects going on than the team can realistically engage with, not to mention the ongoing work they should be doing iterating upon existing digital services.

Of course, there is no point about collectively moaning that we are under-resourced. Every employee complains they are being worked too hard. So how do we deal with the fact that companies typically don’t have enough UX professionals to do a good job at ensuring users have a great experience?

You Need To Redefine Your Role

When I work with under resourced UX teams I encourage them to change how they see their role. Instead of seeing themselves as implementors of UX best practice, I encourage them to become evangelists and facilitators of it instead. But what does that mean in practice?

If you try to do every piece of user research, create every wireframe and run every test session, you will instantly reach capacity or end up doing a terrible job.

However, if you teach others how to do these things and give them the tools to enable them to do it easily then you will have a far bigger impact. Focus your time on:

  • Providing self-service training on how to do things like user research and testing.
  • Creating a design system to facilitate easy prototyping.
  • Procuring easy to use research and testing tools.
  • Offering coaching for those undertaking UX work.

You Need To Become UX Evangelists

I know what you are thinking. If I don’t do the work, nobody else will. Nobody cares about this stuff like me. Well, that is the final part of your job. You need to make them care. You need to sell people on the value of user experience design. You need to be:

  • Offering workshops.
  • Sharing best practice.
  • Promoting success stories.
  • Running guerrilla marketing campaigns.
  • Getting in guest speakers or speaking yourself.
  • Publishing newsletters.

There Is a Strong Business Case

Of course, nobody will see these things as your job currently. However, that doesn’t mean you cannot pitch the idea to your manager. There is a strong case to be made here. This is especially true if you point out how little of the work being done is touched by you and so UX is not being considered in those situations. You also should point out the business benefits of using design thinking.

And if all else fails you can call upon your friendly external UX consultant to sell the idea for you!


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