How to Build an Agile UX Design Team

The Agile framework is what any UX design team could make great use of. It comprises specific metrics and approaches that allow you to objectively measure the productivity, quality, and business value of any project your team is working on.

Iryna Makiievska for Fireart Studio

Agile hasn’t always been the number one choice for creating high-quality design projects. While some experts thought Agile and UX wouldn’t work together a few years ago, more companies believe in the opposite now. So how to set up an Agile UX design team and make it work? Let’s have a look at all the aspects of the question and find the answer!

What is Agile UX?

Agile is quite a flexible and employee-friendly methodology. It’s perfect for working on small scopes of tasks and helps keep control of practically every stage of project completion. With this approach, you minimize the risks and give your team the opportunity for self-organization. Plus, it’s always possible to keep track of all issues and spare some time fixing them.

As for Agile UX design, it focuses on short design and development cycles — a perfect solution for creating and launching smaller pieces of working products or software. Plus, all features aren’t released at once. It’s a step-by-step process in which the team uses a sufficient amount of time to work on fixing every bug or flaw.

An Agile UX design team knows its tasks perfectly well, and it doesn’t need that much management to complete each of them successfully. 

Plus, this approach aims at adding the end-user to the process for testing and analyzing the product quality before its actual release. It helps see the product from a different angle and notice particular issues that a design team couldn’t see in the first place.

So, in a nutshell, Agile UX design is a methodology that focuses on short development cycles to deliver each particular feature incrementally. Each team gets plenty of time to fix the bugs, and the end-users also get a chance to try the product before it’s live. It’s quite flexible in project management, and more businesses are trying to bring this approach to design teams.

Agile UX Design Team Structure

The UX team working according to the Agile principles is a well-oiled machine. Each team member knows their place and tasks, making them disciplined and more independent. Every Agile UX team can be described as:

  • Collaborative, meaning there’s a lot of communication and mutual exchange of skills and knowledge
  • Cross-functional, meaning each team member is working on the same goal despite having a different skillset
  • Flat-structured, meaning there’s no strict hierarchy — this is what makes each team member more independent and organized.

And what about the roles inside such teams? There are several key participants:

  • A team lead is a person who takes care of team coordination and ensures everything runs well in a project; their tasks include task management, workflow control, hosting meetings, and so on. 
  • A product owner is the representative of the client’s needs; their tasks include regular communication with the team, prioritization, and consulting with the team regarding the features.
  • A team member is quite a broad term used to refer to various roles: developers, marketing specialists, copywriters, etc.
  • A stakeholder is a person who’s not working on a project directly. Their key role lies in defining proper requirements and outcomes for the team; these can be investors or end-users, and their feedback may be decisive at various development stages. 

The Challenges of Agile UX Design

The fact that Agile is rather a liberal approach to project management is both its advantage and disadvantage. Although it’s a great way to create a disciplined, well-organized design team, the Agile framework has a range of drawbacks every team leader should be aware of.

Let’s look through some of the most critical ones.

Length and Costs of Agile Transformation

Although the Agile approach is quite flexible and liberal, it can be a lengthy and costly process to restructure the whole project management process inside a company — especially if the company has been working under a completely different framework for years.

Plus, implementing a brand new system into a company may cost quite a fortune. Rearranging the whole management process might cause delays in project completion and communication with clients or employees. 

The Importance of Delegating Responsibilities to a Team

Although Agile UX design teams are more independent and self-organized, it’s still important to dedicate some time to allocate necessary tasks to them. The management team should be well aware of the current requirements and state of things. 

It’s impossible to let go of the team and make it the decision-maker in terms of the running projects. Maintaining proper communication and keeping the hierarchy between design and management teams is essential for proper project completion and delivering a product that stakeholders and end-users would love.

The Absence of Clear Deadlines for Project Completion

Since the Agile UX design approach is liberal, it states that employees have the right to make mistakes and improve them. This means the amount of time needed to fix all bugs prolongs the whole process. Hence, it gets harder to define the exact release date — this can make stakeholders impatient, and the management team might lose its credibility.

It’s crucial to state deadlines to make Agile work better in a UX design team. Communicate them to your team and ensure it can deliver results right on time.

Final Thoughts

Although Agile UX design is a flexible and liberal approach, it requires a lot of discipline and self-organization to make it work for a team. It’s also important to define roles properly inside the team to ensure flawless communication and project completion within a given period.

If you still need more insights about setting up an Agile UX design department, our team is here to help. We create explainer videos that reveal a lot about any subject matter. Plus, we can help your company communicate the proper message to your end-users. So if you want us to make you one, drop us a line, and we’ll get in touch with you ASAP!

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