Managing UX Team in a Product Company with Multiple Products

I manage a team of UX designers at a product company that builds multiple products. Recently we have moved to a structure of “Product Factories” (terrible name I know.) Essentially there are teams built around a group of similar products. My original plan for my designers was having the ability to move them in and out of the “factories” at cadence to be determined (I was thinking 3-4 months, or possible on releases). Management feels that its better to keep one designer focused on one set of products and never move them. I see the benefit of this to a certain degree, but it also has its flaws.

  • Because I don’t have any overflow, if one designer goes out it creates a single point of failure.
  • I feel this approach stifles designers. Working on one thing for a long time can get really stale.
  • Having the ability to move designers around makes them more well-rounded and gives them to opportunity to learn new things.

Curious what others thoughts are on this?

I will be going through a similar situation soon and I’m still split on this. I’ve been back and forth and this could change but my current thinking is to create a T-shaped team of designers where everyone has some knowledge on all products (through onboarding, regular designer critiques/knowledge sharing, proper documentation etc) but each designer has one main product to own and master. This means that designers can build deep empathy within one product but at the same time, be available to cover other products for brief spells if required.

How different are your products?

If you are in a product environment, there always should be a dedicated designer(s) to each product. Having continuous involvement with the product gives broader and better understanding of problem statements from various perspectives and you get a change to improve the UX practices.
Concerns regarding designer performance and overflow, - build programmes which give a change to interact/share their work between the designers (Peer reviews, shared work offload are few of examples.)

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