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How to Build a Powerful UX Team

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How do you find the right people for a balanced and effective UX team? What traits and skills should you look for?

Darren Hood, Manager of UX at Bosch with 20 years of experience in the field, presents on the "Do"s and "Don't"s of hiring for UX roles in this hour-long TryMyUI webinar.

Watch the full video recording of Darren's presentation: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ub0rTjCyUjY

Or, read more about coordinating a UX team and the responsibilities and skills required of each role on our user testing blog: http://blog.trymyui.com/2016/04/coordinate-ux-dream-team/

Published in: Recruiting & HR
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How to Build a Powerful UX Team

  1. 1. How to Build A Powerful UX Team 
 Darren Hood Manager, User Experience | Bosch Adjunct Instructor | Kent State University
  2. 2. Source: ChaiOne & Stecklein, 2004 How to Build a Powerful UX Team Darren Hood | April 2016
  3. 3. Source: Jeneanne Rae How to Build a Powerful UX Team Darren Hood | April 2016
  4. 4. How to Build a Powerful UX Team Darren Hood | April 2016
  5. 5. How to Build a Powerful UX Team Darren Hood | April 2016 The Bermuda triangle and today’s world of UX have something in common….. Unexplained accidents, disorientation, the inability to maintain a sense of direction, turbulence, disappearing travellers, etc. Today, my hope is to share info to help you overcome associated pitfalls. List of known Bermuda Triangle accidents: http://www.unp.me/ f8/list-of-all-known-bermuda-triangle-accidents-108289/
  6. 6. Agenda. Changing Landscape of Skill Assessment Optimal Hiring Strategies Key Dos and Don’ts How to Build a Powerful UX Team Darren Hood | April 2016 1 2 3
  7. 7. How to Build a Powerful UX Team Darren Hood | April 2016
  8. 8. Feature Three Lorem ipsum dolor sit. 0 3 CHANGING LANDSCAPE OF SKILL ASSESSMENT How to Build a Powerful UX Team Darren Hood | April 2016
  9. 9. Human-Computer Interaction/HMI Information architecture User interface design Yesteryear, identifying and assessing skills was very simple. Skill sets were minimal and identifying key contributors was relatively cut and dry. How to Build a Powerful UX Team Darren Hood | April 2016 Nomenclature Wayfinding Taxonomies Visual design Aesthetics Design pattern libraries Information management Information foraging Color psychology Accessibility System analysis Value sensitive design Ethnography User testing Pictorial realism Heuristic analysis Usability Common convention Error handling Cognition Readability Scannability Findability Intuition. System/Real world match Consistency Minimalism. Site maps Style guides Iconography
  10. 10. Today, with the expanding world of technology and the growing spectrum of mental models with users and UX encompassing multiple disciplines, things are quite different….. Stakes are higher, but there is an evaluatory skill deficit. How to Build a Powerful UX Team Darren Hood | April 2016 UXUser interface design Visual design Aesthetics Color psychology Accessibility Information architecture Nomenclature Wayfinding Taxonomies Design pattern libraries Information management Information foraging Human-Computer Interaction/HMI System analysis Value sensitive design Ethnography User testing Pictorial realism Heuristic analysis Usability Common convention Error handling Mobile design Responsive design Cognition Readability Scannability Findability Intuition. System/Real world match Consistency Minimalism. Wireframing Prototyping E-Commerce Persuasive design Task flows/analysis Needs analysis UX strategy Storyboarding Journey mapping Scenarios Site maps Style guides Iconography Ergonomics Sound design Augmented reality Virtual reality Risk mitigation Typography Copywriting Customer experience (CX) Brand experience (BX) Lean UX Agile methodologies Email marketing Online advertising Interactive TV Web analytics Data analysis Data synehesis Risk mitigation Instructional design Blended learning Competitive analysis Focus group moderation Remote user testing Vendor management guerilla research
  11. 11. Don’t Forget About Soft Skills. Many people are hired for what they know and then release for their lack of soft skills. In addition, soft skills draw a “line in the sand” when it comes to identifying truly top talent. Query candidates to confirm their aptitude in such areas. Collaboration Interpersonal communication Excellent listener Emotional intelligence Mediation Interpersonal communication Excellent listener Excelling at collaboration Emotional intelligence Skillful mediator How to Build a Powerful UX Team Darren Hood | April 2016
  12. 12. But Wait…. There’s More! In addition to soft skills, there are several other skills related to the world of UX that are extremely valuable. Evaluate what said skills would do for your team and gauge candidates’ levels of skills and knowledge in these areas. Storytelling Lean/Agile System analysis Emerging technologies Education/Evangelism Lean and agile knowledge System analysis Storytelling Emerging technologies Education/Evangelism How to Build a Powerful UX Team Darren Hood | April 2016
  13. 13. Remember UX Skill Levels. Entry Level Early-to-Mid Senior 7+ years of experience May be multi-skilled Capable of mentoring all levels 2-7 years of experience May require supervision at times Capable of mentoring junior UXers 0 - 2 years of experience Able to grow, coachable Qualified retrofits* 2 1 3 How to Build a Powerful UX Team Darren Hood | April 2016 May be multi-skilled Skilled at multitasking Excellent multitasker Can provide educational support Interns Requires supervision
  14. 14. Feature Three Lorem ipsum dolor sit. 0 3 OPTIMAL HIRING STRATEGIES How to Build a Powerful UX Team Darren Hood | April 2016
  15. 15. Conceptualizers Analyzing and synthesizing data Implementers Ensuring things get done and excellent at creating plans Innovators Coming up with new ideas Optimizers Driving efficiency How to Build a Powerful UX Team Darren Hood | April 2016 Strategy #1 The Problem Solver Grid.
  16. 16. Strategy #2 Completing The Team Puzzle. A blend of skills makes for a more diverse team. Hiring the RIGHT person or persons paves the way for greater levels of innovation and greater capabilities to advocate for users. RemoteUserResearch InformationArchitecture VisualDesign/Ergonomics Remote&Ethnography Interviewing/VisualDesign ContentStrategy How to Build a Powerful UX Team Darren Hood | April 2016
  17. 17. Strategy #2 Completing The Team Puzzle. A blend of skills makes for a more diverse team. Hiring the RIGHT person or persons paves the way for greater levels of innovation and greater capabilities to advocate for users. HMI/Research Ergonomics/Research Ergonomics Ergonomics/Ethnography Ethnography/Interviewing HMI/Interviewing How to Build a Powerful UX Team Darren Hood | April 2016
  18. 18. Strategy #3 Gauging the Team Spectrum. What is your team’s power level before a hire? What’s its potential afterwards. Gauge your team’s status and potential to help you identify the best candidates. Responsive Mobile Information Architecture Content Strategy 55% 15% 20% 10% How to Build a Powerful UX Team Darren Hood | April 2016 55% 20% 15% 10%
  19. 19. KEY DOS & DON’TS How to Build a Powerful UX Team Darren Hood | April 2016
  20. 20. DO …..engage in a little UX Potpourri. How to Build a Powerful UX Team Darren Hood | April 2016
  21. 21. DON’T ….. hire or promote in your own image. It is foolish to replicate your strength and idiotic to replicate your weakness. ~Dee W. Hock How to Build a Powerful UX Team Darren Hood | April 2016
  22. 22. DO ….. make sure your recruiters have at least a basic understanding of UX and UX professionals. How to Build a Powerful UX Team Darren Hood | April 2016
  23. 23. DON’T ….. let unskilled people interview your
 UX candidates. How to Build a Powerful UX Team Darren Hood | April 2016
  24. 24. DO ….. check for knowledge of evolutionary UX elements (e.g., CX and BX). How to Build a Powerful UX Team Darren Hood | April 2016
  25. 25. DON’T ….. give psychological tests. How to Build a Powerful UX Team Darren Hood | April 2016
  26. 26. DO ….. demonstrate an understanding of a UX professional’s persona in interviews. Knowledge of the discipline isn’t enough. How to Build a Powerful UX Team Darren Hood | April 2016
  27. 27. DON’T ….. discount a UXer’s value (e.g., thinking the work doesn’t take any effort). Skilled UXers will recognize the trait and withdraw from consideration or depart the company. How to Build a Powerful UX Team Darren Hood | April 2016
  28. 28. DO ….. a resilience check. Perform an inquiry to find out how candidates rebounded from failure or disappointment. The “never say die” attitude is quintessential for members of powerful teams. How to Build a Powerful UX Team Darren Hood | April 2016
  29. 29. DON’T ….. play fraternal games. How to Build a Powerful UX Team Darren Hood | April 2016
  30. 30. DO ….. exalt balance over smarts. How to Build a Powerful UX Team Darren Hood | April 2016
  31. 31. DON’T ….. hinder growth. How to Build a Powerful UX Team Darren Hood | April 2016
  32. 32. DO ….. consider interns. How to Build a Powerful UX Team Darren Hood | April 2016
  33. 33. DON’T ….. assume that lower salaries are equivalent to savings. You get what you pay for. And paying someone less will be reflected in the final products — resulting in losses. How to Build a Powerful UX Team Darren Hood | April 2016
  34. 34. DO ….. identify candidates who possess “infectious” energy and knowledge levels. Knowledgeable team members who are willing to share can build confidence in stakeholders and broaden a team’s impact, especially on teams engaging in the institutionalization of UX within the organization. How to Build a Powerful UX Team Darren Hood | April 2016
  35. 35. DON’T ….. insist on being the smartest person on the team. According to Liz Wiseman, as the leader, focusing on your own intelligence and your resolve to be the smartest person in the room has a diminishing effect on everyone else. You actually hurt the team and siphon its power. How to Build a Powerful UX Team Darren Hood | April 2016
  36. 36. DO ….. seek TRUE team players. As Patrick Lencioni (author of The Five Dysfunctions of a Team) states, “Not finance. Not strategy. Not technology. It is teamwork that remains the ultimate competitive advantage, both because it is so powerful and so rare.” How to Build a Powerful UX Team Darren Hood | April 2016
  37. 37. DON’T ….. fudge the facts when assessing the team. How to Build a Powerful UX Team Darren Hood | April 2016
  38. 38. DO ….. be a multiplier. How to Build a Powerful UX Team Darren Hood | April 2016
  39. 39. DON’T ….. take the cheap route by trying to combine multiple roles into one person. There is NO SUCH THING as a UX developer. And UX professionals, by trade, are NOT responsible for providing assets for the presentation layer. How to Build a Powerful UX Team Darren Hood | April 2016
  40. 40. WRAPPING UP How to Build a Powerful UX Team Darren Hood | April 2016
  41. 41. • Have you been hiring all specialists? If so, start considering what Arnie Lund calls “tweeners” (i.e., people with multiple UX skill sets). • Don’t reject a candidate because you consider him or her to be “weak.” Could be a diamond in the rough. Evaluate a person’s coachability and proceed accordingly. A person’s weaknesses don’t matter if they can be coached. • Picture your current UXers as a construction team. Based on the current aptitudes and skills, what can they accomplish today? Identify the skills that would take them to the next level and search accordingly. Closing Notes. How to Build a Powerful UX Team Darren Hood | April 2016
  42. 42. • Passion is a fuel — a fuel that can energize your team and have tremendous impact upon your organization. Always make sure to gauge a candidate’s passion level AND where its limits are. • Avoid the “cloak of nepotism.” Some people are so void of the ability to properly evaluate skill and envision scenarios that they only hire people they or someone they know knows. In so doing, they potentially cripple their teams and operations. Don’t be one of them. • Every dollar invested in UX brings a return of up to $200, but ONLY if skilled people are hired. Closing Notes. How to Build a Powerful UX Team Darren Hood | April 2016
  43. 43. • One’s ability to create wireframes and prototypes, conduct remote or ethnographical research, or construct the best information architecture in the world WILL NOT and SHOULD NOT supersede one’s ability to manage clients, advocate for users, or mediate between politically- driven and egotistical clients. • The key to selecting candidates to strengthen YOUR UX team isn’t about the candidate as much as it is about YOUR ability to properly evaluate and identify what each candidate brings to the table and what it means to your operation. • Lastly, when deciding between candidates, always ask yourself…. Which candidate(s) will benefit our users most? Closing Notes. How to Build a Powerful UX Team Darren Hood | April 2016
  44. 44. • Remember…. there is no such thing as a UX Developer. Beware of an “opportunity” where the job description says something like “Strong knowledge of HTML, CSS, JavaScript/JQuery, ObjectiveC (iOS), C++.” • Many companies and managers (still) believe that UX = UI, instead of seeing UI as a subset of UX. In addition, they (still) think that any and every UX professional is capable of providing presentation layer support. This simply isn’t true. You could end up in the “Bermuda Triangle.” • On another “Bermuda Triangle” note, don’t be starstruck by a company’s reputation. When interviewing, make sure you understand what a UX team’s org chart looks like and gauge UX knowledge of leadership before accepting any offers. Closing Notes for Job Seekers. How to Build a Powerful UX Team Darren Hood | April 2016
  45. 45. by Liz Wiseman with Greg McKeown ISBN: 978-0061964398 Multipliers HBR’s 10 Must Reads on Emotional Intelligence by Arnie Lund ISBN: 000-0123854962 User Experience Management: Essential Skills 
 for Leading Effective UX Teams by Richard Canfield ISBN: 978-1491929209 Design Leadership: How Top Design Leaders Build and
 Grow Successful Organizations by Patrick Lencioni ISBN: 978-0787960759 The Five Dysfunctions of a Team by Leah BuleyASIN: B011T78LBM The User Experience Team of One How to Build a Powerful UX Team Darren Hood | April 2016 RESOURCES by Harvard Business Review (compilation) ISBN: 978-1633690196
  46. 46. Thank you! Questions? ! @darrenhood !@uxpulse

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