While in a general conversation for the Outcome conference and for our dinner series, our crew member Tanu Sharma asked me for any pointers to raise the bar in her design work.
When I talked about research oriented evidence based design, and how to ensure that our designs are scale-able, I sensed her curiosity.
“What will you do with all this learning?” – I asked her.
“I will put these into practice of course. I want to design better products.”
“Will they allow you to?”
There was a pause.
“Everything you want to learn and upgrade about yourself and for your team is in the interest of the product. Right? And it means a better user experience of course.” I continued.
“What about the business perspective? Why do you assume that the stakeholders will agree to whatever you will propose? They have their own business success goals, their own parameters, and their own data (mostly on assumptions though).”
And I continued.
When you plan to upgrade your skills and knowledge so that you can put these into real work practice, the first thing to learn is to get buy-in from stakeholders. Or at least this should be an in-parallel exercise.
Get them involved proactively in the design process.
Use their resistance as an opportunity to educate them.
There will be times when you will find that they have done their research that the product has a market.
Ask for data in such cases.
They have data and you have stories. Together these form a near-perfect recipe for an evidence based design investment.
For example well, if the design team’s understanding of customer journey is different from the marketing team’s understanding of customer journey, what are designing for? For which version?
And it is less about who will own that failure but it is more about the uselessness of your upgraded skills.
So whenever you learn new stuff, invest in buy-in, on equal priority.
Pick your battles because that is part of your job. Your current job may ask you for the mockups, usability, form validations. An important milestone in your career path will ask you about your contribution to the product success for the business goals.
The choice is yours.