Constraints inspire innovation. Jason Fried, in Getting Real encourages you to, “Let limitations guide you to creative solutions.” That’s exciting because I have a spit ton of limitations to work around. Firstly as an organization our UX Maturity Model (UXMM) scores are low. UX is important to the organization however our team will need to prove the value of UX before formalized programs emerge. We are also working with limited budget and personnel resources. Did I mention I work remotely, 2,861 miles from the mother-ship. Lots of opportunity to get creative.
Enterprise UX team structure comes in two flavors, centralized or decentralized. A centralized UX team will generally consist of specialists in the fields of information architecture, visual design, research, usability and font-end development. This team is run as an internal consultancy. Team members are assigned to projects or to departments based on need. The centralized model assumes your organization has a high level of UX maturity. In this scenario UX is a core tenet and budgets are in place. This pattern is not going to work given our defined constraints. This may be for the best. The research I have done leads me to believe a centralized team may not be the best solution to getting the real work done anyway. If you are interested in this topic there is a lively conversation going on over at LinkedIn Central vs. distributed UX teams in the enterprise.
Given the zero budget and existing resources only constraints the team structure is going to have to follow a decentralized UX team model. The team size will be 5-7 members. Team members will remain embedded within their existing functional groups, performing their current activities while working UX as a bit of a skunk works.
How the beep do I build a team from existing resources? Historically there have been very little direct design resource hires in our organization. There are two design specialists by title that I can cherry pick spread between functional groups. I can get creative to fill out the rest of the roster. Over the years I have worked with a few folks who were already running UCD like activities within their silos. There is a content strategist hidden in training, an information architect in the marcomm group, a visual designer in business solutions as well as a few empathetic minds in QA and development. I can throw in our brand specialist and a Lean Six Sigma black belt. The team is looking pretty solid on paper. Next step is to contact each candidate on the list, see if I can sell them on the idea and get this initiative kicked-off.