Challenges faced by UX designers while working in scrum teams


Integrating the Agile team and UX has been a frequent topic, and it holds relevance in executing scrum projects where the role of a UX designer is highly specific. Their contribution to the development of the product is integral. Some opine that the design team or more accurately put design sprint should be kept distant from the development sprint or vice-versa. Running a parallel design development sprint is also going to lead as good results as the development sprint marching ahead of the design sprint.

Integrating the design process with the scrum team often leads to a quality product as the entire development cycle is in tandem with the vision and product design.

UX designer within the scrum team

The integration of the scrum team with the UX design approach is what’s been talked about here. The UX work must be kept a little ahead of the development sprint so that the design’s vision is achieved and the product starts showing in the sprint, and the scrum project is on time. This makes the UX designer’s role pretty critical. The details of the UI artifacts have to be communicated to the team before implementation.

Role of UX designer in the scrum team

It is relatively essential to empower the UX designer so that he can commend required changes and take ownership of the design sprint after getting in terms with the product owner. He should be able to provide all the design artifacts to the UI team.

Problems faced by UX Designers

The UX designer is often a sole entity in the scrum team and gets singled out when expressing opinions to the entire sprint. This affects his credibility and confidence in front of other members.

Specific challenges the designer faces when working along with the scrum team are listed below:

  1. Influence of senior members

The seniority level in the scrum team affects the design decisions sometimes. This leads to the developer calling shots in terms of the designer’s framework. The scrum master tends to overlook minute detailing in designs when it comes to the product’s vision.

  1. Lack of technical knowledge

The designer lacks technological know-how of the product cycle and is unaware of the technology used to evaluate the implementation process of the product. This, in turn, leads to exploring alternative options in terms of a conflict with the developer and compromise the user experience.

  1. Lack of ownership by team

Since the development team lacks the knowledge of user experience and its importance to the product cycle, they find it hard to own a UX Designer inside of the organization. This becomes more complicated when the designer is working for more than one scrum projects.

  1. Shared UX member

Sharing the UX designer can create a difference in delivery time and often confuses as the design part is entirely his responsibility.

  1. Quick delivery of UX work in the sprint

If the design work is implemented in the same sprint, then the UX designer needs to provide the required UI artifacts to the developer so that they can begin testing. It sometimes becomes tough for the designer to understand the newer requirements as the feedback keeps changing, thus leading to a lot of confusion in the product cycle.


Recommendations to overcome these challenges

Strong knowledge of the product

It is recommended that the designer gets an entire picture of the product and understands the development phase properly. This will entail submitting a great striking design if there is an understanding of the product.

Proper UX training

It is imperative that appropriate training is given to the UX designer to produce quality work. His training is the responsibility of other members.

Team ownership and support

Ideally, the team members should learn from each other so that they are in tandem with the scrum project and are on time with its delivery. They should also not interfere with each other’s work and strive for a good relationship amongst themselves.

The designer and the developer should resolve within the team and should work together to improve the user experience. The designer must stay close to the team and get an idea of the development. This will help him to know the technical limitation the developer is bound to and create a supporting design to improve the end product. Shared ownership of the project is an ideal case here in the scrum team.

Avoid sharing of resources

Resource sharing should be discouraged across teams as t affects the productivity of the project. This also compromises the transparency of the scrum team sometimes. If the team has no alternative solution to this situation, then the resource’s activities should be monitored closely, and the responsibilities should be visible to all the members.

Keep UX work one sprint ahead

To ensure the timely delivery of the product, the designer should be ahead of the developer. This is done so that the UX participates in the grooming of the product and works to improve user experience with every development cycle. Being one sprint ahead of the development helps the design sprint to prepare specs in advance.

UX vision at the company’s level

User experience is the company’s motive and idea and not the responsibility of a single team member. If the company needs the customer’s experience to be enriched, it has to focus on teamwork. From CEO, management, scrum masters, product owners, and team members should be in tandem with the product life cycle and how will the user experience affects the entire design process.

This will ease UX activities and members to attain strong support from senior members in the organization. UX designer plays a vital role in the scrum that should be empowered and facilitate to a range where he can perform his best to provide intuitive user experiences to their products. The challenges that the designer faces can provide a resolution, but the entire team should be on board to resolve such challenges. Also getting an Agile certification can help the UX designers get a fair idea about how Agile and Scrum work.

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