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The Fountain Institute

Create a Collaborative UX Strategy

published4 months ago
2 min read

Dear Reader,

Creating a UX strategy is complex. Strategy isn't just about analysis, market research, and road maps.

It's about not stepping on the toes of other product and business areas and aligning upward. It's about facilitating decisions.

Collaborative UX Strategy

A good strategy is about making big moves. But that requires buy-in, alignment, participation, and collaboration with many different internal stakeholders that are busy and have their own agendas.

Working Collaboratively

Anytime you bring a group of people together to work on strategy, it will be hard.

  1. Opposing Points of View: you might have people with opposing interests and investments in the project. They also bring their assumptions around the product, existing strategy, goals, and solutions.
  2. Diverse Viewpoints: everyone sees strategy differently (which can be a huge benefit) but how do you manage those differing perspectives?
  3. Future Unknowns: you are dealing with a problem that is hard to define, and the solution is unknown because strategy is always about the future.
  4. High Stakes: the outcome is high-stakes and can have a significant impact on the company's bottom line.

How do you overcome that?

Let's look at a collaborative process that brings stakeholders together to reach our goal.

Activate Strategy Sprint

Here it comes to save the day!

But does it?

Expectations:

  1. Find a strategy sprint online and follow its steps
  2. Over a week, we have some working group sessions
  3. Afterward, everyone leaves happy, aligned, and knows what the next steps are
  4. Then we all go do those next steps
  5. Then the company grows, UX is awarded all the prizes, and we win!

Reality:

  1. Find a strategy sprint online and follow its steps
  2. Over a week, we have some working group sessions
  3. Lots of ideas for solutions are laid out, and the real problem is never discussed
  4. The team can't come to a cohesive decision
  5. Everyone leaves the session more frustrated than before
  6. Nothing changes...strategy work is abandoned

The Truth

There is no perfect strategy sprint you can copy and paste from someone else, and there is no perfect strategy workshop, canvas, or framework that will work perfectly for your company.

It has to be unique.

That uniqueness is one of the reasons why strategy is so hard. It is unique to your industry, your company, your team, and your users.

But don't worry, that doesn't mean you're alone.

A strategy is a long-term action framework, but it still has to be tended after "delivery." A strategy is at heart a hypothesis, and it has to be checked. That's why a good strategy should be emergent, which means it’s a living thing that you should guide.

A successful UX Strategy plan is a sequence of gatherings between the UX team and stakeholders. The plan should:

  • Maintain momentum
  • Take in the long-term view
  • Map the series of activities
  • Be visual

But that doesn't mean we ALL need to meet and work together ALL the time. What happens between the group activities needs to utilize individual expertise and work.

What does this look like?

These strategy maps are inspired by Sam Kaner's work with participatory decision-making and multi-stakeholder collaborations. I've adapted them to reflect a UX strategy plan.

But this is just a taste of the full process. There's much more involved.

Do you want to learn more about the full process of designing a unique UX strategy for your company?

How to Design a UX Strategy

Join the webinar on June 8th→

Until next week!

Hannah Baker
Educator & Co-Founder
The Fountain Institute