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I'm about to join a company that never worked with a UX professional. As for now, the development team is in charge of design as well (you can imagine the results).

My role then will not only consists in designing solutions, but also to evangelise UX practices and methodologies.

In order to better prepare myself, did you find some methods that worked well with your clients? Are there any books you would recommend to whomever is interested in this topic?

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I've run into this issue twice now, both within start ups, the first where product development was directed by marketing alone, the second where new products and features were dictated by sales alone and development was owned by engineering alone.

It's always a problem. You are not alone. There are solutions.

The biggest challenge is perspective shift, namely moving from one team/person dictating direction to the team agreeing on everything getting done. This is where buy in from all stakeholders becomes critical. How to do that is actually pretty easy: go to everyone individually on a given design direction and decision and, one by one, use data and research to win them over. You'll find this process awfully rewarding, both because of three challenge of argumentation and because it is inherently post is discovery too. Continue doing this until you get everyone to agree...not most people, everyone. If you don't that opens the door to disagreement, and at the risk of sounding political, early on that can be dangerous, at least until the various people/teams are working together and trust each other.

Otherwise, do your job as a UX designer. Gather data and test assumptions and price hypotheses. Show your work and evidence from your work. Don't do it alone, bring the team in, get feedback from within as well. The end goal isn't to really the company behind you or design, it's too unify the team and to build trust. Once that's done, UX just needs to fulfill on those resume bullet points.

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Explain your process

People tend to fear what they don't understand. It's easy to see the result of a developer and everyone knows what marketing is for, yet the UX field can be unknown to some and therefore you should first try to explain what is it that you are doing.

Show the value

Whatever your job title, the only thing that matters is what value it can bring to the company. Consider this whenever you have a talk with your colleagues. Another important value is the one received by the end user. For this, you need to bring empathy, one way to achieve this is to help the person you are talking to feel the need for better design. I would do this by asking if they have ever encountered a problem on a website or an app, then you explain that this could be because of a lack of user-centered design process.

Give the rationale

Try to explain as often as you can the reasons that have led to this particular design. This will prevent people thinking that design is just a matter of talent and will help the team move forward when the question about the button placement will come up (again).

Design as a team

The role of a UX designer is not to design for but to facilitate design as a team. Make sure people get the difference and don't expect you to be responsible anything related to UX.

For further reading: http://uxmag.com/articles/communicating-the-ux-value-proposition

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