Complete Guide to UX Design Project Management

Source: from Coderus 

Have you ever dealt with a UX project that went out of control? This problem is familiar to many UX teams. You may get too creative or have no leader in the team, thus getting confused by different perspectives and losing business objectives out of sight. Or your team may get too obsessed with the creative process that they lose the feeling of time and violate all deadlines. 

In any of these cases, you need a UX project manager. Practical tips and strategies for UX team management are covered in this article, while here, we deal specifically with the value of project management. Read on to see how a PM can help you and where to look for the right talent to close your staffing needs and increase UX design efficiency. 

What Can a Project Manager Do for You? 

The primary challenge of UX projects is their complexity and participation of many stakeholders. A UX team is typically tasked to create a user-friendly design that target customers will love. But the harsh business reality includes many more stakeholders in the equation. These may be marketers, investors, product owners, and others with a unique vision of the app’s design and functionality. 

A Project Manager is a person who can keep all those perspectives consistent and aligned with your broader business strategy. The gains of engaging a PM into a UX design project are: 

  • Management of project bottlenecks 

A PM anticipates and resolves project-related problems while the UX team focuses on what it can do the best – UX design. Stopping to discuss problems and find solutions is destructive for a UX project, so PMs handle these tasks by letting the team work at the top of its productivity without interruptions. 

  • Project oversight from planning to development 

Developing and launching a digital product is much more than UX, though the latter is a vital component of any modern app or platform. Project managers are responsible for keeping a uniform project vision and communicating that vision to all engaged participants. Thus, the PM assigned to a project can connect the dots and achieve project consistency across teams and departments. 

  • Knowledge of numerous stakeholder positions 

While each department focuses on its specific tasks and has a limited vision of the entire project, a PM typically embraces the whole picture. Thus, they can navigate different areas of project progression and continually check the project’s alignment with broader business strategy and goals. 

  • Effective communication management 

Every digital product is developed by numerous specialists, such as front-end and back-end designers, engineers, sales and marketing representatives, etc. Thus, the project’s success depends on how well all team members communicate with each other. A PM’s role in this aspect is to fine-tune all communication channels and structure team collaboration effectively, avoiding delays and misunderstandings.   

  • Experience with collaboration tools 

Like communication channels, collaborative software is vital for both in-house and distributed teams. It’s a medium for storing files and data, discussing the process, sharing insights, and assigning project-related tasks. Thus, a PM should monitor the team’s activity in the project management program to see whether everyone is on the same page. 

  • Business-oriented mindset 

While the UX team is more narrowly focused on the UX design, a project manager thinks in broader terms and reinforces the corporate culture and team morale. Their objectives are broader than one project as they work to achieve far-reaching business objectives. 

Source: from UX Collective 

Benefits of Incremental Planning 

As a rule, project managers coming to UX teams introduce an incremental approach to work planning. The main reason for UX failures is a lack of understanding of project requirements and disagreement among stakeholders on the project’s purpose and goals. That’s what a PM should align and harmonize. 

Thus, a PM’s work on the project starts with the broadest stage – defining the project’s vision. At this stage, all project requirements and goals are collected and analyzed to condense these characteristics into a vision. 

Next comes the identification of specific, measurable goals. They are carefully chosen depending on how well they can help achieve the project vision. All of them should be attainable and consistent with one another. Only after this stage is finished, the PM proceeds to refine project deliverables. 

The deliverables formulation is the final stage of project planning. Its outcome is a set of tangible, small milestones that a UX team can accomplish on the way to goal achievement. These tasks become the project’s roadmap that all involved developers follow.

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How does a PM arrive at a vision, scope statement, and a clear project plan? As a rule, they: 

  • Learn the project goals from the client during a meeting or call. 
  • Create the general vision and discuss it with the client. 
  • Create the project’s scope and revise the goals based on the client’s feedback. 
  • Create a project plan and assign the deliverables to team members. 
  • Control the fulfillment of project milestones and report the progress to the client. 

UX Project Manager Skills to Look for 

How should you formulate the job description once you decide to hire a PM? What skills are instrumental for this specialist? Experts recommend focusing on the following core skillset: 

  • UX project managers should be creative and knowledgeable in UX design. 
  • They should combine creativity with analytical insight and a task-driven mindset. 
  • All PMs benefit from active listening skills as they have to collaborate with numerous team members and clients. 
  • PMs must possess a strategic thinking approach to incorporate business strategy and client vision into workable UX design solutions. 
  • Every PM should be team-oriented and collaborative. 
  • PMs need to possess leadership skills and lead their teams toward better project comprehension and compliance. 
  • They should be punctual, able to meet deadlines, and negotiate terms with the clients. 
  • A capable PM should instill peace of mind in the team with effective stress management techniques. 
  • A PM can’t be effective without seeing the big picture.  

Hiring a PM Is Always a Change for the Better 

So, as you can see, the introduction of project management into your UX teamwork is a beneficial change for everyone. Team members receive a single reference point for all their project-related issues and concerns. The process goes smoother and faster. All stakeholders’ interests are observed, and the company’s operations are perfectly in line with the company’s broader vision and strategy.

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