The quality of the design work is correlated with the company culture, do you agree?

practice
culture

#1

One of the ways of working with complex business and use cases is efficient requirement gathering, user insights and the amount of collaboration.

Ability to do design sprits and the company taking these sprints serious enough to make effort to participate is something I call part of company culture. Some companies are at least inclined to try but when it comes to availability people are not seeing it as important as monthly company reviews.

Is this the reason why we do not have enough good products or some companies can not find that awe effect in their products? How can we get over this as designers? We are not magicians to design things without knowing about business and customer processes nor one person can design a complex software without testing it through those.


#2

You’re asking valuable questions, @gultekin_irengun!

I believe the behaviour and attitudes around project work have a deep link with the resulting products.

And I don’t think we can get over a lack of value or support of human-centred methods on our own. We need to include our teams and stakeholders in discussions about establishing a more appropriate vision. Sometimes it’s unrealistic to expect sufficient change (and the organisation may ultimately fail as a result). But dictating a new process, or even assuming process is the magic bullet to start with, is highly problematic. Discussing and agreeing on principles is more likely to be helpful for the design work we’re doing in the short and medium term, and also helps grow longer term thinking.

A healthy, mature UX practice will extend and reveal the relevant values of the organisation it works within by bringing together the stories of stakeholders, customers, users. I wonder how it could possibly do this if those values don’t include the customers and users? And perhaps the project team too, for that matter. The infamous ‘sweet spot’ between business needs and user needs is impossible to grab hold of if either or both sets are missing.

If we’re to design something meaningful, purposeful and enabling for humans, we need space to fully practice the soft skills and human qualities that make these things possible; listening, probing, facilitating, connecting, critiquing, playing, etc.

There are many various and exciting ways of executing projects with these values, and (as with many such matters) the conversations are developing. Three good places to start are:

  1. Dan & Josephine’s Designing Projects for Success: A More Humane UX Practice.
  2. The transcript for our Ask The UXperts session last week with Dan includes a tonne more links and helpful discussion.
  3. The Make Meaningful Work web site itself.

#3

I see @kayla_j_heffernan1 is giving a talk at UX Australia this year on a related topic: Design is as good (or flawed) as the people who make it


#4

Absolutely, doing good design work can be blocked by a company culture. If your company doesn’t value UX and you have to argue that you should be doing UX research you’re not going to end up with a good design.

My talk at UX Australia will talk about unconscious biases that affect us all, and how these seep in to our designs.


#5

Of course people in business expect different results in collaboration. Even the process means a different thing to them. In one requirement gathering day which was the spoilt version of day one of a design sprint, people couldn’t just sit and listen to customer without trying to give solutions to customer or quickly dismiss the customer for being difficult and a special case. Which I had to explain that it is important to listen and take notes and see his problems not as difficulty but as opportunity. Another thing I realised was the lack of confidence in company towards colleagues that some people should not voice opinion because they do not know as much as others. Hence afraid that their proposals may be heard or even acted upon. This was very interesting to see that UX is actually bringing respect and democracy in a company. Thats how I see it theoretically. I agree that it does not work when it is seen as dictated.


#6

Yep, that happens a lot! I like how you’ve articulated the importance of bringing respect and democracy to a team. Not solely our responsibility, but we have an opportunity to do that, for sure.