Search
  • Chaymae Lougmani

Communication layers you need to know about in UX Leadership

Fail to communicate, fail to UX


Why being a good communicator is a crucial skill to have as UX Lead?


Communication is a crucial part of product development. As UX Lead, you’ll be working with a broad range of stakeholders. In addition to brainstorming, designing, and pitching a product, you’ll be expected to justify and defend the decisions you make. It’s essential that you come across as clear, precise, and considered at all times.


‘The art of communication is the language of leadership.’ James Humes


In this article, I share my experience in communicating with different stakeholders in my current and my previous roles. I also talk about the nature of each interaction and what it involves.


Communication layers


As UX lead, you’ll be doing a great deal of internal and external communication. The former is more about leadership and how you can make your team function smoothly. The latter is about understanding your clients and their needs.


I lead two cross-functional teams, with my time divided by different products, as well as mentoring junior members. My role requires a combination of technical knowledge, leadership, and a lot of communication.


External communication


Clients


Handling clients can be tricky. You need to be careful with both what you say and how you say it. I present and demo the progress done on the UX side. I run the workshops and follow up with them on questions or meetings.

I liaise with them to user test with their clients and showcase to their potential investors. I brief them on findings from research and testing.




Clients’ partners


These interactions arise when it comes to integrations with third parties. Sometimes they can be tricky, especially when the third party is an investor or a partner of your client.


The session usually starts with a demo and finishes with a Q&A on what we can and cannot do with the partners' APIs. In my experience, when integrating with my client’s business partners, the demo tends to turn into a pitch.


Handling client’s business partners is even more sensitive, as you represent both your company and your clients. You need to be mindful of what you show and what you say on the behalf of both of them.


Internal communication


Internally, I find it better to communicate face to face whenever possible. If not, then we use either Slack or emails. We also do a lot of brainstorming sessions and workshops for design thinking.


Founder/CEO


We discuss business priorities, investment, budget, and resources. We find a balance between that and the user priorities. I give updates on the plan and the UX strategy for the projects.


Communication Founder/CEO and UXers


Product owners


They provide the brief, it’s then up to me as UX Lead to make it happen. When the proposition changes in the middle of the project, it’s my responsibility to accommodate it. I communicate with the rest of the team the changes needed and brainstorm a solution. In this instance, I would need to present a new delivery plan for the new changes.


Scrum master/project manager


We discuss the user priorities relative to the resources available and find a middle ground between the user’s needs and the business needs. We agree on a list of priorities then put it in the backlog to discuss with the rest of the team.


Designers


I worked with designers who prioritize usability and others who care more about the look. The latest is the most challenging to work with.


The best way I found to push for change in UI is to include the designers in user testing. This allows them to see and hear for themselves when the users get stuck. Creatives do have a lot of ideas and challenge each other but data usually wins.


Developers


In cross-functional teams, I had direct communication with the techies. I sometimes acted as a product owner. In other cases, the communication was through the BAs or product owners.


In both cases, I would provide a detailed site/app map and user journeys. I would do a product demo and explain the interactions.


Business Analysts


When interacting with a BA, expect to go through the requirements in detail. We catch up often to make sure we align on the planning for the next sprints in advance. The user journeys and site/app maps have to be up to date and screens to refine ready in Zeplin before these catch-ups.


Part of our communication happens in Jira and confluence depending on the subject.


Note that not all projects have a BA, and I’ve worked in several situations where the project manager covered these responsibilities.


Marketing team


My communication with the marketing team is around aligning the copy with the brand’s tone of voice. I make sure the copy is relevant before sending it to marketing for tweaks.


Marvel app published my article on testing with real content. You might find it useful Why Testing with Real Content Is Better Than Lorem Ipsum


Compliance team


My interactions with the compliance team typically take one of two forms. We either discuss regulations and restrictions on the product as a whole. Alternatively, we discuss copy, the required legal comments, T&Cs, getting consent, etc.


Communication with the compliance department

Before testing a prototype, I sit with someone from compliance and we go through the prototype. They tell me what I need to remove or add from a legal perspective. This could be adding a tick box or following up with getting client consent to display their logo. I generally only worked with people from compliance with big projects.


Wrap up


The fact that we had sprint demos made communication with clients and the scrum teams easy. It also shaped the projects and helped keep track of time.


Some of the tools we used helped ease communication. We used morning Stand-ups, Slack, emails, and face to face for quick communication. We used Jira as a management tool and confluence as a documentation tool.


Refinement sessions, demo rehearsals, pre-sprint planning, and sprint plannings to define the requirements.


This was my own experience working with stakeholders, and the nature of the role and the responsibilities will naturally differ from one organization to another. Feel free to drop me a line and share your own experience.


Before you go!


If you liked this article, clap, and share. Get in touch if you have any questions or any examples you want to share.


If you liked this article, you might also like to use these top 10 tips when you design for forms

Lastly, we created www.idir.co.uk to help people reduce stress and unwind using highly concentrated CBD products. I’m working on our case study and I will share the tips of dealing with e-commerce platforms as soon as I finish it. Stay tuned ;)



10 views
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • LinkedIn
  • Instagram

©2020 by Innovation Pie.