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I’ve been fortunate to work in many different software development life cycles. Early on it was mostly waterfall with various teams trying to integrate and deliver using an Agile methodology. However, since 2019, I’ve been leading a team of UX professionals through a continuous discovery and delivery methodology founded by the Silicon Valley Product Group or SVPG.
Along the way I've also been fortunate to work with some amazing people. I've learned so much on my journey and have countless people to thank for their dedication to this craft and teaching others, like myself. While I've spent most of my career as an individual contributor I started focusing on management in 2019 and have since been leading a team of UX professionals for a consumer product called ScriptHero.
In 2019, we created 4 cross-discipline product teams made up of a Product Manager, UX Designer, Data Analyst, and Front & Back End Engineer. We called them Experience Teams, each with their own important business goals. We use OKRs, experience, and opportunity mapping to define product designs and ultimately what we deliver. This type of methodology puts user research and design at the forefront of the conversation. This helps us match business and user needs as well as determine risks which helps move the business forward quickly.
With user research leading the conversation we now have the user in the driver’s seat. The conversation continues weekly, with at least 2 interviews a week, hopefully as many as 5. Everyone is invited to the interviews, but only the Product Owner, Designer, and Engineering Lead are required. We leverage these interviews to help us understand if we’re meeting user needs while defining and delivering on our business goals.
The Product Designer works with his/her cross-functional team members to define the user experience and opportunity maps. This sets up the foundation of the work and aligns everyone on a shared vision.
While the team assesses each of the major risks and validates their assumptions, the Product Designer is running workshops with the team in Miro and iterating on designs in Figma. While the Designer is evaluating some designs with one user the Designer might also be running a diary study with another set of users. The Product Designer is responsible for all things UX. This includes generative research as well as evaluative and all the design work in between.
Everything we do levels up to the business objectives set by the OKRs. We have weekly priorities that we set on Monday which drive toward the larger goals. Friday we check on our progress and hopefully deliver to production, only if we've determined there will be user value.
I led several multi-million dollar projects during my time at Chase. One of my favorite and most challenging was the redesign of the safe deposit box systems. Chase needed to consolidate multiple systems into a single web application to manage all aspects of their safe deposit boxes. The design is now patented!
Great experiences don't happen by chance; they happen when you involve your users and review the entire experience from beginning to end -- Someone at Google.
To be an interaction designer you must understand some basic design principles and rules, but to create great user experiences you must understand your user.