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I recently started a UX Design role in a different organization. I'm curious as to what are some best practice techniques in getting up to speed fast. The organization I'm working on is small and they get usability but there's room to grok UX holistically.

That said, what do you do when you start a new engagement or a new role? I'm thinking some of the critical things might be,

  • Learning the organization's business - how is the product being sold, distributed, etc.
  • Meeting with stakeholders from sales, marketing, product, and so on
  • Gathering existing voice of customer data to feed into UX Strategy
  • Taking over former UX assets and learning how the process was done previously

So what do you do to get up to speed quick in a new position while making a long-term, strategic impact?

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3 Answers 3

up vote 4 down vote accepted

If you're joining a very large organization, understanding what competition exists between different business units can be helpful.

Also, try to get a good idea of who approves budgets and how decision-making happens. A common mistake many organizations make is that the budget-givers or ultimate decision-makers don't stay involved in evaluating progress throughout a project. That can cause problems if those different stakeholders' expectations aren't being met.

During your stakeholder interviews, I've found the two most important questions to ask are:

  • How will you measure the success of this project?
  • Have there been projects similar to this that have previously succeeded or failed, and is there anything I should know about those?
  • What do you need see to understand if things are going well or not? How would you like to be involved? How often should I contact you? Etc...

Ask for as much documentation as may be relevant for review, with an understanding of which projects were seen as successes or failures internally, so you can learn lessons from both.

This will give you a good idea of what stakeholders are used to seeing.

Learn lessons from the existing team members, if there are any. Project managers can give you a lot of honest information, particularly if they've been around for a while.

Good luck!

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You are on the right track for sure with all your points. The one thing I have found is a very helpful first task is to write a set of Guiding UX Principles. I don't mean general best practices but principles specifically for the product or brand you are supporting.

This will make you examine the product you are working on, get to know it and the people making it and using it. And once you have them, they become a "sacred reference" for the future. Consult them whenever, you are unsure of a direction to take.

I have done this twice now as a first step and it has led to great results.

Here is a long winded post about it if you care to hear more.

http://www.camuti.com/post/40580683138/user-experience-principles

Best of luck to you.

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I would imagine that it would depend on the projects or vision that you'll be working on/creating. All of the above would help, but it's all pretty broad.

To make an impact in your role, I think you should focus on fleshing out the answer to the problem you have been hired to solve. Work closely with the people that can help you achieve the goals you define, and aim your solution to meet users goals and business expectations.

Good luck :)

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