Considering that a UX designer is often required to carry out different roles within a UX team, does it also imply that a UX designer need to play multiple team roles. I find this rather conflicting because generally people of complementary personalities/behaviour trait work best in a team environment, and if a UX designer has to fill multiple roles then it can be in conflict with their own personality. In a company where there is no UX lead or manager (just UX designers) do they normally fit into the role of having to 'lead' or 'coordinate' between design and development or do they just end up trying to fit into the development process. I don't think that UX designers can just be a cog in the development cycle/sprint, but generally someone with a strong personality tend to upset the balance in the team.

My experience with UX designer roles is that they tend to either fit into a sprint cycle (as part of a step/process) or that they provide a deliverable for a particular sprint. I haven't seen UX designer that define the sprint process because they usually have to work with the scrum master or development lead.

The question is, in a UX team of more than one (including at least one UX designer, developer and graphic designer) and no lead role assigned, is it typical for the UX designer or developer to take the lead if the project relates to redesigning or refreshing the user interface (regardless if Agile methods are employed in the development process) or does it depend on other factors?

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    There is no such thing as the 'ideal' as it will all come down to way too many variables: the team (or lack thereof) they are a part of, the design and development processes in use, the type of work being done, the type of clients they work with, the needs of the particular projects, etc. As for pegging the question to particular personality tests, that's probably a question for psychology or the work place sites rather than UX. – DA01 Jul 18 '13 at 4:55
  • In order to answer this it would help to define what you feel the role(s) of a UX designer is/are. With agile there are different approaches to applying UX, some fit in a sprint cycle, some sit alongside it, others reshape the nature of a sprint to make room for UX. What is your experience? – Stewart Dean Jul 18 '13 at 7:00
  • @Stewart Dean - just updated the question to take into account of your comments – Michael Lai Jul 18 '13 at 7:04
  • I've had this question in mind for ages, and in my opinion, its a perfect fit (and important) question for the ux community -> ux stackexchange... UXSE-police, hold down your guns please :) – Bluewater Jul 19 '13 at 9:14

For the sake of different points of view I'll tell you how UX fits in at my company (enthuse.me). We have a team of 6 - 2 back-end developers, 1 front-end, 1 designer (mostly pixel-perfect Photoshop work but also some front-end code and some wireframing), 1 ceo, and me - Head of Product and UX. My main role is product manager, but as it's a small team i'm also involved in most aspects of the development process.

I specialise in UX, so I tend to flesh out the concept, specification and UX planning for new features in discussion with all other members of the team as and when it's useful, and then the designer works with me on turning wireframes into PSDs, we iterate on those a few times looping around until we're happy with a decision on the design and UX of the feature, then it goes to the front-end dev to code up the UI, then to the back-end devs to implement the functionality.

In reality all the team will have input in UX at some point. Me, the designer and the front-end developer will have most, and ultimately I'll make the final call in a stalemate.

I personally thing having one person as the Product Manager who also spends a lot of time working on ensuring and improving the best UX is 'the ideal' - With those 2 skill sets I should be able to balance business needs and user needs perfectly and it means all new features are planned with a user-centered starting point.

  • It is interesting being the product owner and the UX designer at the same time. In a way it seems like a conflict of interest, and in another way it seems to make perfect sense. Do you often have to resolve stalemates? Does this model work well for your company? – Michael Lai Jul 18 '13 at 22:09
  • It doesn't feel like a conflict of interest, but having both business and user needs in mind at the same time can result in some uneasy compromises I suppose. It does seem to work pretty well for us. As we grow we might need more specialised roles, but we'll see! – Toby Vacher Jul 18 '13 at 22:38

UX-designer are from different fields (Design, H-M-I, etc.) and companies have different ideas about how much man-power they want to put into UX.

In big companies who have their own specialized UX teams, you can get along with high knowledge in a narrow field.

In small companies I made the expirience that they don't want to hire anybody for this stuff but they wan't good products. What they want is a developer-designer-hybrid.

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