Over the last 15 years, I’ve had a recurring conversation with senior UX professionals: “I want to progress in UX, but I’m not sure I really want to manage teams.” It seems to many that the one way up is the management track—and in many organizations, this is the only upward path for UX professionals.
In my long and varied career working on staff within companies and for clients in agencies and consultancies, I have seen many roles in User Experience that need a senior, mature person—some with people-management responsibilities; others that continue to focus on product design. These roles include the following:
UX Project Lead
Each of these UX professionals plays a specific role within an organization. For senior UX professionals, their quandary is to work out which role is required when and what role suits them best. Read More
Setting up a UX practice inside any organization—whether small or large—can be a challenge. As a UX leader, to ensure you keep the highest-performing individual contributors on your team, you should make sure they have a clear understanding of what they must do to expand their careers within your organization. While leaders often have a clear growth path inside a company, it is often less clear how individual contributors can nurture their professional career.
For example, in some companies, the only way to advance from an interaction designer, visual designer, UX researcher, or other individual-contributor discipline is to become a manager. But, for individual contributors whose talents are less as people managers and more as superstars in their discipline, who love what they’re doing, and who want to continue to be the best at what they do, their way forward is unclear. Read More
The COVID-19 pandemic has shifted how we do our work in unprecedented ways—some of which have arguably been positive. While many people have expressed a desire to return to their workplace after 16 months in lockdown, 41% of Americans want to continue working remotely on a part-time, hybrid basis because they’ve experienced an improved work-life balance. As remote work continues to reshape the policies of many large companies—including those who are beginning to encourage their employees to return to their physical offices, even if just part time—it’s important to step back and reflect on what we’ve learned from this shift to remote work. Companies must continue to help employees feel supported and satisfied in their jobs—wherever they are.
In this column, which is Part 1 of a two-part series, I’ll share my experiences with managing remote UX professionals and teams. I’ll provide some tips for avoiding pitfalls that could arise if managers and leaders are not mindful of how remote work affects their employees. Although I’m writing this column from a manager’s point of view, anyone can work with their manager or other leaders in their company to foster a positive, remote-working environment. I’ll cover the following tips in Part 1:
offering flexibility in camera readiness
creating safe spaces for employees to vent and connect