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Growing a team of UX designers

@XebiaLabs

Total project time

Staring from May 2017 - until current.

My role

Hiring new members, mentoring junior designers, setting up design process, setting up learning goals, providing feedback on all running UX-related tasks, facilitating co-working, aligning UX designers with the business strategy, showcasing UX efforts internally. 

Brief

XebiaLabs is a rapidly growing company that is offering continuous delivery software for enterprise organisations. Company was founded in 2008 and I was hired as first in-house designer in 2014. I had to make organisation gradually familiar with design and UX strategy.

Process

First, I started from investigation about what design skills are required for the type of projects that are coming up in the organisation.

I’ve made the analysis based on evaluation of design projects that were given to the UX team to assist what skills will be needed for it’s execution. Different types of projects were evaluated to cover the full picture.

Also, the analysis of current skills of the existing team members have been performed. The most underrepresented skills are marked in red. 

Also, the analysis of Design vs Development headcount was performed to understand how efficient the interaction between the teams can be and to judge whether further expansion of design team is required.

Also, the analysis of Design vs Development headcount was performed to understand how efficient the interaction between the teams can be and to judge whether further expansion of design team is required.

Establishing UX process

Introduction of rituals for UX team

As XebiaLabs was growing we needed to scale digital product design team efficiently. More productive workflow was needed, alignment between teams, debriefing sessions, so designers can produce quality design work. 

New rituals for design team were implemented:

  • UX team planning (weekly) to review work progress and plan new work

  • UX Team retrospective (monthly) to review the was we work and collaborate, make self-reflection and improve

  • Design Critiques sessions to give each other constructive feedback on performed design work

  • Introduction of a SPOC designer - a responsible designer per Development team to make ease the collaboration

  • SPOC designer joins Development team stand-ups, plannings sessions and retrospectives

This helped bringing alignment between Designers and Development teams and improved output.

 

Reviewing and adding necessarily design tooling

As XebiaLabs matured and invested in design, we needed to operationalise workflow by adding necessary design tooling that are the key to scaling digital product design team with more efficiency.

  • Changing from Photoshop to Sketch

  • Starting Design System

  • Adding design files versioning control

  • Introducing Zeplin for better collaboration with Developers

 

Strengthening team culture

Repetitively connecting with each member on the team to learn about each member’s motivation, interests for growth in order to know what kind of work each wants to be involved. 

Making sure that collaborative works happens to boost team’s creativity and collaboration. Encouraging learning and constructive feedback.

 

Creating feedback culture

Experimenting with different types of retrospective session is allowing us to share feedback in constructive and creative way, making sure that reflection and debriefing of received information happens.

Results

UX team improvements are recognised by different departments at XebiaLabs:

  • UX and Development communication is good and getting better

  • UX is playing on customer side

  • Designers sometimes replace PMs

  • UX team is acting on time

  • UX team great work production