Hi Doug — apologies for the delayed response on this, but here’s my two cents on the topic.
There are several parts to introducing UX to an organization for whom it’s foreign territory, and some ground rules that experience has taught me apply in those situations:
Speak the language of business, not UX or Design. All too often, people on our side of the fence talk about best practices, principles, user delight, etc. Which, for us, are all very real, understandable; we know the relationship between those things and valuable outcomes. Stakeholders, however, have no such context. Those things will all fall on deaf ears until you start talking about something that matters to them, and in most cases that’s money. Money made, money saved. Stopping customers from defecting to competitors. All of which speaks to their self-preservation as well (never underestimate this as a motivating factor). Figure out whose neck is on the chopping block, for what, and why. Speak to those things and you’re more likely to get attention and action.
Focus UX conversations on desired outcomes, not features, functionality, UI or interaction. Instead of giving you another paragraph to read, I’m going to direct you to a series of 7 videos I created that deal specifically with this. You’ll see when you watch that I’m talking about UX, but in a way that resonates with people outside the discipline — from product owners to project managers to executives to developers.
Be patient. You are, in effect, attempting to change a culture whose ingrained habits and reflexes have been built and strengthened for several years. It’s not easy for humans to pivot quickly, to overcome those innate actions and reactions. Focus on getting people to think differently about what happens and why, instead of trying to change tactical activities. Get their minds first, and the actions will eventually follow. But expect a lot of bumps in this road, some bigger than you expected. Keep going anyway — UX maturity is absolutely a marathon, not a sprint.
Hope that’s helpful to you, and I’d love your feedback on the videos. GIVE GOOD UX!