1

I wanted to get some insights into the structure of our UX Team. Currently we have 10 designers all working in an agile environment.

  • UX Manager (on scrum team)
  • UX Team Lead (on scrum team)
  • 8 UX designers (all on different scrum teams)

Everyone reports into UX Manager ultimately. UX Team Lead takes 4 direct reports and UX Manager takes 4 direct reports.

My suggestion would be to definitely remove the UX Manager from a scrum team and have the focus of this role on aligning the vision of our product and effectively communicating it throughout the team. Also being a point of contact for the UX team within agile and ensuring collaboration amoung the team.

UX Team Lead will work on a scrum team but take some more responsibilities around the internal processes of the team. Assisting with collaboration and taking some of the direct report responsibilities.

We we're thinking if 8 designers report directly into the UX Manager most of the time would be taken up by 1 on 1, performance reviews etc So thought it would make sence to spit this responsibility somewhat. Although I see it as important that the UX Manager has direct contact with all of the UX team members.

The UX Manager will work with alot of the Product Owners on defining the strategy for the roadmap and how we might approach it from a UX point of view. He will also handle resourcing amoung the scrum teams ensuring they have adequate UX resourcing available for sprint work.

I wanted to see if anyone has a similar setup to this and if so, could they share some of their thoughts on maybe responsibilities of the roles of Team Lead and UX Manager?

  • Maybe you need to tell us a little bit about the surrounding organization - it sounds similar to the setup here, where there is a SCRUM-like development team, which includes a IxD from another reporting line. Two reporting lines (developers report to PO, while IxD reports to UX Manager) may lead to different strategies. But I'm just speculating... – virtualnobi Nov 12 '14 at 11:44
  • I probably was not 100% clear. Our organisation is pretty big and we work on one product. We have 10 scrum teams, all with their own product owner, BA, architect, Dev's, QA'a and UX designer. Architects have their own Team Leads, as do the BA's, QA's etc. The role of the UX Manager is to sit outside of any scrum team and cordinate the UX team itself in working the all of the PO's to define the strategy and vision of the product, then to communicate this via the UX team across all scrum teams. – UXG Nov 12 '14 at 15:45
3

I think that there is some confusion about Scrum roles and responsibilities.

In Scrum you have just 3 roles:

  • Product Owner - holds the vision for the product.
  • Scrum Master - helps the team best use Scrum to build the product.
  • Team - builds the product.

Please note that the Scrum Master is not a "Team Leader" or a "Project Manager": he's a coach and a servant leader that helps the team achieving their goals and an advocate for Scrum and Agile in the organisation.
A Scrum team doesn't need a Team Lead because it's self-organising: the team doesn't "report to" anyone and the structure is not hierarchical.
It's one of the biggest differences between Scrum and traditional project management (I suggest you read here for a more detailed description of roles in Scrum).

Considering the responsibilities you have mentioned in your message, I would use the following structure:

  • Product Owner
    • "aligning the vision of our product and effectively communicating it to the team" (former "Ux Manager")
  • Scrum Master
    • "being a point of contact for the UX team within agile and ensuring collaboration among the team" (former "Ux Manager")
    • "take some more responsibilities around the internal processes of the team" and "Assisting with collaboration" (former UX Team Lead)
    • "1 on 1, performance reviews" and "direct contact with all of the UX team members" (former UX Manager)
  • Team
    • "resourcing amoung the scrum teams ensuring they have adequate UX resourcing available for sprint work": ideally it's the team itself that decides what resources are needed.
    • "defining the strategy for the roadmap and how we might approach it from a UX point of view"

Every Scrum Team differs and can have a different organisation, but so far I've found that following the standard roles has been of great help.

1

Adding to the already good answer from Eleonora Zucconi:

I noticed that you said that each UX designer is in a different scrum team. To me that means that as far as the project being concerned they are members of that team, period. Now there might be structures within the company that aren't a part of the project, like a UX group in the organization, UX designers having the same boss, and so on. I think you need to look at these structures as completely separate from the project, other than "person x will have a day off next sprint because all UX personell are going on a bear hunt in northern Sweden".

So that leaves you with pretty much two alternatives:

  1. Keep each UX person as a member of each team.
  2. Form a separate UX scrum team in the project, removing the UX designers from the other teams.

I've worked with both of those options, both will work depending on how the project is being run in general. For example how much you can split the design work into separate User Stories and so on.

Regarding the UX Manager and UX Team Lead, they should adapt to either being a team member, or being a product owner (or supporting a product owner). The third possible option is that they are managing the UX staff but completely outside of the project, and then they should not have an assigned role in the project.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.