Stakeholder with too high sense of ownership


some time ago I joined a team building an analytics dashboard for the app we’re working for. They have not cooperated with UX before, so everything they created was never questioned, or consulted with anyone. They made decisions about the look & feel and how things work, and then they implemented it. Now, I am there, and I question things asking what is the benefit for Users, why would Users want this or that, what is the business case, why they made a decision to do A and not B, etc. etc… I noticed this induces a lot of resistance from the stakeholders’ side. They are obviously not used to people disagreeing with them. That’s one. But also… they don’t understand that I’m asking these questions not to change everything they built but to simply make the tool better. I also received feedback that I ask too many questions delaying the project (where I feel the project will be deemed unnecessary by the Users).
Did you have similar experiences with such stakeholders? How did you solve the problem? Or what did you do to make your cooperation a successful one?


Every last step of the way, I encountered resistance at the last contract I had. I quit after 4 months.

I can understand what you describe. Are the stakeholders developers? How many people work in the company? There might be the case where the company is not mature enough to evolve. Especially if they told you that you make a lot of questions. And I understand that you are there not a long time.
Ask them what they expect of you in the process and stick to that. Ask them why did they hire a UX designer. They might have done it because it is a trend and not valuing the real UX part.
In our field we have to educate our coworkers about what we do and always try to convince them that UX matters. I have tried to give this fight a lot of times and I am still doing it.
And one other thing: developers and business people tend to see themselves as designers, so they might suggest a lot of design things, and not value your job so much. Be patient and good luck!


It’s a bummer it seems like this is still a common thing to encounter for UX designers. Marilyn gives some good advice about asking what they think your role is/ why they hired a UXer. If they happen to actually value true UX, you might want to approach the stakeholders like one of your personas and align yourself with what it is they’re trying to accomplish - understand their wants and needs. Tom Greever in his book Articulating Design Decisions does a great job giving advice in how to effectively get stakeholder buy-in - ultimately approaching them with the same empathy you approach users as they too are only human and have goals while operating with constraints. Hope this helps!

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I left and moved to another company. You can, if you have the skill and energy, start a program of developing UX maturity in the business. I suspect that you’d have to start from scratch with this one.

Hi, I am in a similar situation right now and planning to move to another company. I am trying to increase the UX maturity of my team but it just takes so much effort and time and may not have any results. And also I am not here to educate other people on what is UX so… but one thing that is different is our design team doesn’t have a proper design process. Usually, we just take whatever requirements that PM gives us and do the UI for them (more like UI designers), and they usually don’t include designers in their product development process. By the time we question everything, it’s already too late to ask. It’s hard to build a portfolio based on my one-year experience with this company because the projects that I’ve worked on hardly have a process and I was mostly working on educating teams on how to work with designers. Does anyone who shares a similar experience also struggle with their portfolio revamp?