The most important resource in any company has always been people. As tech keeps on evolving and growing in complexity, we need greater creativity, problem-solving and blue-sky thinking to keep up with all the changes. For a business to survive and to be truly successful we need to leverage these uniquely human traits.
Teamwork is essential in every work environment and within every business. Representing UX/UI you are expected to be at the center of a team and you will be responsible for empowering your teammates to find this natural creativity. You will need to craft different ideas and opinions from around the team into something tangible that your users will love.
When first put into a team and expected to be the center of a process like this, things can be quite daunting. Simple questions about what everyone does and what certain acronyms mean can make you feel a little embarrassed. In this lesson, we are going to look at the different team members and importantly what everyone does. This will give you a head start and hopefully save you some awkward moments.
When designing a digital product in many companies now you will hear the word “scrum”. This is a framework for managing software development that is taking over the digital industry, it’s often referred to as agile. Don’t worry if you have never heard of it, we will discuss this process more in the next section. All you need to know now is that most of the time now and certainly within the next 5 years in almost every digital company you will be part of a “scrum team”.
At the head of this team is a Product Owner and they are typically a project’s key stakeholder. The product owner, PO for short is always someone who represents the business, commonly someone with management experience and someone who understands the end-users and marketplace.
The product owner is often a visionary with ideas about the overall goals for the project and they will most probably not be involved in the day to day tasks of creating the software. The product owner is the manager of the backlog, which is a list of tasks for the team to complete. They might be responsible for multiple projects at once and oversee the whole process from a high level leaving the everyday management left to the scrum master.
One person you will work with every day is the scrum master, they are the facilitator for the development team and makes sure everything is running according to plan. The scrum master can be a dedicated person or in some teams, the role is passed over to different team members each week.
Although a powerful title the scrum master does not hold ultimate accountability for the project, this is shared between the team and ultimately the product owner. The main task for the scrum master is to remove obstacles that stand in the team’s way, helping everyone stay focused and protecting the team from outside distractions.
At the beginning of every day, the scrum master will host a stand-up. This is normally just a 10 minute catch up where all the team members get together and talk briefly about what work they did yesterday and what they are going to do today. Although very simple it’s surprising how effective this can be in preventing problems occurring and creating a solid team bond. All the team members are asked if there are any blockers and this is where issues are raised to the scrum master.
Another important member of the scrum team is the business analyst also know as a BA. The business analyst takes responsibility for talking to the business users of the product you’re creating and understanding their needs. Out of these discussions a business analyst produces a list of requirements. This list of requirements is then used by the development team to help design and build the final product.
As a UX/UI designer, you will be working closely with a BA. They will help you understand what’s important to include in your designs from a business perspective. Their help can be crucial when trying to understand how a system works or just getting to grips with the background project you are, they really are a great resource for information.
The other major roles in the development process are the software developers themselves. Normally in a small scrum team, there may be 1 product owner, a scrum master, a BA, a couple of UX/UI designers then 4 or 5 developers. These are the team members who physically create the final product.
On a day to the day project, you will work closely with developers to make sure that your designs are translated correctly into the final environment. Every week there should be a demo session where the developers show you the working code and it’s important to speak up and really make sure this is meeting your expectations. Sometimes the design you send over may look a little different when translated by a developer so having a great relationship will help you craft a product that your users will love.
I hope this has given you a good introduction to who you will be working within your project team. In the next section, we will be discussing what agile software development is, why you need to know and how the Scrum development process works. Understanding this is really important in your career and as scrum becomes more popular give having a good foundation will give you a distinct advantage above the competition so don’t miss out, see you there.