Creating a UX strategy
As a leader steering your team in the right direction while dealing with daily challenges is incredibly hard to scale without a deliberate plan. You might have a company mission or a product vision, this is a focused view to delivering a great user experience with a high functioning design team.
A vision is the view when you get there, strategy is the deliberate planned journey. In order to align your team towards a consistent target need to understand both. This strategy is usually set alongside a product or company visionand is a framework for how you make decisions.
A good design and user experience strategy needs to be broken down into something understandable. This is a light first approach into strategy, once you're rolling there's a bunch more. Here's where I like to start:
Your strategy as a basic requirement should cover these four areas.
This is the environment you create for designers. Where you define the organisation structure, process and tools for the delivery of daily design work. Enable designers to do their best work by a culture of exploration space, collaboration and quality.
This is the creative influence you have over design and the company. Where you advocate towards the user, define how you talk and appear, drive innovation and promote a perspective of the whole experience.
This is how you appear and collaborate with other functions. Where you build your reputation, capabilities and culture. Building the right relationships to help design show up consistently and support the companies challenges over living inside them.
This is how you build the best team. Where you plan growth, create a culture of good feedback and foster career growth. Smart hiring decisions with a smooth onboarding and clear career paths.
Follwing these four parts will start to paint an oversimplified direction.
A mysterious design process, lack of research, lack of visual consistency, poor quality of outcomes or quality issues of team health. Understand where you currently see room for improvement, this isn't improvement in your product but in how you get to a well put together outcome.
- Outcomes - A statement of the current situation and a list of problems to address.
A vision in it's purest form can be working out with a timeframe what great looks like in the different areas. Maybe it's a bigger investment in user research and training designers to play a larger part in it. Maybe it's a design process that allows more time for exploration and a structure for the right questions. Try starting with a Figjam and dividing it up into each of these areas, involve your leadership team and run some workshops.
- Outcomes - Vision statement, principles and goals.
Once you understand your utopia you need to create the path up to it and the measurements to know where you are. This and the decisions you make against it is the beginning of your strategy.
It's best to think in terms of timeframe, continuous improvements and programs that run short, medium and long term. Short term meaning things you can start this week or month. Medium is where you are likely using your existing budget and long term is where you probably need to ask for additional budget.
This is a great opportunity to involve your leadership team to run a strategy planning session. Throw the net as wide as possible keeping the vision in view, then ruthlessly prioritise. Make sure you leave that session with owners, timeframes, measurements and some serious excitement about possibilities.
- Outcomes - Projects, initiatives and people responsible.
Every few months, reassess with your leadership team the impact of your initatives and how it's affected your goals.
Now comes the marathon. This needs to be the direction that your decisions clearly point toward. It needs to be the subject of your 1:1s, the frame in which you create goals, the measurements you constantly celebrate. When communicating outwards and upwards use this as the frame in which to show success or that you need support.
I wish you less feature firefights and more user centred north stars.