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How are your product/scrum teams organized?

14 days ago from , UX Designer @ Lucid Software

I'm a UX Manager at a mid-size software company, Lucid (makers of Lucidchart). We've evolved the way we structure our teams over time, and I just spent a few weeks cataloging that evolution:

How UX Works with Product Teams at Lucid

We used to all sit together as designers and, as the company grew, we now sit on cross-functional teams with Product Managers, QA, and Engineers. I mention some of the tradeoffs of these situations, but I'd love to hear how you company or team does it well (or not so well).

7 comments

  • Todd CantleyTodd Cantley, 13 days ago

    In my experience, when you put all the designers in one room it doesnt work out and there becomes a massive seperation, both socially and productionally (?). I think you've got the right idea. Right now I sit next to a backend, frontend and ios dev and it's super easy just turning around to talk to them.

    3 points
    • Taylor Palmer, 13 days ago

      Yeah, I think you're right. I think it also depends on the strength and maturity of your design team. If you have a strong style guide, design system, and process it becomes easier to sit apart. If not, it helps to stick together.

      3 points
    • John Williams, 12 days ago

      My best work comes from sitting in the same room as the developers and PM. There's zero effort in communicating and it's much easier to be on the same page.

      4 points
  • Andrew Washuta, 12 days ago

    So, our company is in a really interesting place right now. We're building a multi-million dollar analytics product, that serves as a replacement for legacy products as well as making huge improvements. When we first started building this and when I first joined, our company was still trying to figure out how agile fit into our heavy data analytics structure. As time has gone on, more of the business has seen the value of iterative approach to design and development.

    Our "scrum" team is technically "scrumban", so basically we keep feeding our current streams with work when we have openings to pick up new and estimated stories.

    Our UX team of 6 are integrated heavily in this delivery team. We work cross-functionally alongside business analysts, product folks, full stack developers, front-end developers. It's definitely a team effort. We use MS Teams to communicate and handle our daily stand-ups and so we're able to stay in sync when part of the team is remote. This definitely presents its challenges. There are a lot of moving parts. Just our scrum team has roughly 30 folks on it. It's a VERY large team.

    With regard to UX, we definitely have a seat at the table. To get buy-in from both developers and a few key stakeholders, we'll usually hold design showcases where we share out some of the stuff we're working on so developers can have some idea of what's coming down the pipeline. We'll also get tech feasibility feedback so we know if what we're working on might be too expensive. Then, we'll be pretty much testing (sometimes via paper prototypes) often every week. It's definitely really great to be integrated as a designer and a part of such a diverse team!

    1 point
  • Alexander GiraldezAlexander Giraldez, 11 days ago

    I work at a large company we are organized under programs and projects. Each program is a collection of project teams and each project team is a individual cross-functional team. Our program sits together on the same floor, but individuals sit with other folks with a similar roles. So two designers from different projects might sit in one office.

    I think this works well because you interface with your project teams daily per scrum and standup and you can ask your office mates for assistance or thoughts and everyone is generally accessible because they are on the same floor.

    We have created a few meetup groups (developer, designer, communications, book club, ect) that have been useful to share project process, wins and lessons learned. We have found they the most beneficial when the meetups intermingle. Some are once a week and others are once a month and some are quarterly. The meet ups have been very successful with our culture, giving other teams an awareness of what others are doing and a efficient way to introduce new employees to the program. We also use these meet ups to introduce new or updated process or guidance that is to be implemented at a program level. It

    We have not been very successful at reaching out to other programs. I have found larger cross program meetups to be overly simple or not as interesting. They generally devolve more into very large socials. I will occasionally interact or reach out to another program but it's usually because I personally know that team.

    Interesting question

    1 point
  • Aaron Wears Many HatsAaron Wears Many Hats, 13 days ago

    What does that word... 'organised'... mean?

    1 point
  • Jon MyersJon Myers, 7 days ago

    One thing - it depends on the size and stage of the product and company with regards to what structure is most effective. In the earlier stages, a looser, more ad-hoc structure may make more sense to achieve product-market fit. If the organization gets product-market fit and intends to scale, it’s likely a scale or fail moment that demands more structure will present itself.

    We are a crypto-exchange and fintech company who are evolving into a more mature product-centric organizational structure with familiar startup roots.

    We have business analysts who support product managers who form product requirements, business requirements and user requirements, which in turn inform and nurture the process for our product designers.

    These sources of truth (requirements + design deliverables) inform technical requirements, which our product and project managers use as the the source of truth to guide our weekly sprints and development efforts.

    And - we are focused on a culture of empiricism to guide our product design and development efforts to best serve users. That said, we spend a lot of time in front of customers as well. So, it’s a balance.

    1 point