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At Consortia, we recently hosted a casual yet impactful networking event for UX and product leaders. It was an evening of valuable conversations, insights, and plenty of food and beer. While the event was confidential, the consortia staff that hosted learned a lot. We asked what their key takeaways were from the night (other than one of the dips being too spicy!). Here are some of the common challenges and experiences that were shared during the event:

 

  1. Siloed Teams

One recurring theme was the struggle with silos within teams. Leaders highlighted that siloed teams can hinder collaboration and innovation. Breaking down these barriers is essential for a more integrated and productive work environment.

 

  1. Integrating UX with Development Teams

Several leaders noted the success of embedding UX professionals within development teams, particularly in agile environments. This approach significantly boosts project success by ensuring that user experience considerations are integral to the development process from the start.

 

  1. The Importance of Developer Capabilities

Investing time and money in research, testing, and design is futile if the development team cannot deliver on these efforts. Ensuring that development teams have the necessary skills and resources is critical for success.

 

  1. Defining Product Design Roles

The term "product designer" has become ubiquitous, but its meaning varies widely. Leaders stressed the importance of clearly defining the skills and responsibilities associated with different design roles. There was a consensus that design quality can be risked when trying to combine roles like UX designers, UI designers, and user researchers into one "product designer." Whereas specialisation in design roles can lead to higher quality outcomes and greater respect for design work.

 

  1. Challenges in Leadership Transitions

Transitioning into leadership roles can be challenging, especially for those coming from diverse backgrounds, whether commercial or highly technical. Recognising and addressing these challenges can help leaders better manage UX and design teams.

 

  1. Difficulties in Hiring Senior Talent

Hiring quality senior talent remains a significant challenge. The post-pandemic shift has led to a rapid elevation of professionals to senior levels, creating a gap in the expected capabilities of senior candidates.

 

  1. Remote Work, International Teams, and Office Productivity

While teams may operate in hybrid models, it was noted that leaders often work remotely more than other levels. There is also a trend of companies asking employees to return to the office for 2-3 days a week. On the other hand the increasing use of international teams is becoming more common, offering various benefits but also presenting its own set of challenges.

 

  1. Experience and Common Sense in Strategy

Leaders emphasised the importance of using experience and common sense in strategy development. While models and processes are essential for those progressing in their careers, experienced leaders must also rely on their intuition and expertise.

 

  1. The Challenge of Immediate Value from Designers

New designers need time to understand user problems before they can add value. Immediate contributions without this understanding can lead to subpar results.

 

  1. Networking Importance

Maintaining a strong network is crucial. Leaders advised continuing to network during good times to ensure a robust support system during challenging periods. There is also a need for more networking events aimed at senior leaders, as current offerings tend to target junior to mid-level professionals.

 

  1. Portfolio Challenges for Senior Leaders

Creating portfolios for senior leaders is difficult because much of the work is collaborative. Highlighting individual contributions within a team effort remains a significant challenge.

 

Our event underscored the critical need for continuous dialogue and collaboration among UX and product leaders. In leadership roles, it's common to come across unique challenges that can often feel isolating. In an environment where leaders can openly share their experiences and issues, you not only facilitate the discovery of effective solutions but also provide a sense of solidarity.

At Consortia, we deeply value the insights and experiences of the leadership community and by sharing them, we hope we’ve given a good snapshot of the challenges and strategies many UX and product leaders are facing this year. If you're interested in coming to our next event please contact one of the team to book you space. It's free, it's not sponsored and it's casual. Food and drinks provided! 

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