Notes from a UX Pro Over a Cup of Joe: Team Formation

Notes from a UX Pro Over a Cup of Joe: Team Formation

By ICS UX Design Team

Welcome back!  Today I’ve been pondering team formation and team building.  While I try to avoid buzzwords, team building is often about synergy – that moment when a team comes together and the overall team performance is even more impressive than individual contributions alone.  Teams in general, often go through four phases - forming, storming, norming, and performing. ₁ Each of these stages presents its own challenges for the team, whether it’s determining team or project objectives, how to build trust, learning to resolve conflict, choosing how to work together as a team or how best to delegate work.  The formation of a team and the way it functions has consequences to every project.

To learn more about these different team building phases, check out this great article:

Let’s bring the discussion back to user experience (UX).  Why would a UX professional want working knowledge of the various steps in the team building process?  UX professionals often operate in newly formed teams made of different professionals such as project managers, developers, business analysts, marketing gurus, industrial designers, human factors engineers and even sales managers.  These teams are often established for a project-specific purpose, for a set-time and the team members may or may not have ever met before, let alone worked together.  The team needs to come together quickly and cohesively for the project to succeed and for their individual strengths to shine.

The UX professional’s role is often one of team builder.  They are the ones who liaison with clients, project managers and engineers to conceptualize and design a product.  Good design is often the result of multiple people with varied backgrounds coming together in an iterative fashion to create the final version of the specified product.  For this or any design to function smoothly and optimally, the team needs to unify quickly and interact well. Understanding how teams form and having the knowledge of what it takes to help teams form quickly and function well, together, is a vital skill for UX professionals and vital to the outcome of any successful project.

When you think about the teams you work on, where do see room for improvement? Our UX team has refined team integration as a process as we work with varied clients and have to adapt quickly to internal client environments and do what we do best. We’d love to chat about how our talented team can work together with your team to create beautiful, intuitive, touchscreen user interfaces and experiences for your projects. 


1.        MindTools Forming, Storming, Norming and Performing, website last accessed, January 16, 2015