Design by Committee

Design by Committee

Presenters: Pradeep Nayar and Kevin Leebroderick
UX work in an Agile (or almost Agile) environment can sometimes feel like 'Design by Committee'. The Tribune UX team would like to share some tips, thoughts and strategies we use internally, to maintain the sanctity of a participatory design environment. We will stay as practical as possible, using recent projects to walk through what we do. The goal is to leave you with some key takeaways to try in your workplace.


Pradeep Nayar

July 19, 2012


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    Kevin Leebroderick UX Architect Tribune Company July IXDA 2012 @

    Tribune Company DESIGN BY COMMITTEE Maintaining Sanity in an Agile Environment Pradeep Nayar UX Principal Tribune Company
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    Brainstorm meetings 18 Lack focus Progress too quickly to a

    solution without exploring options Most powerful, loud and/or obnoxious person wins! People get excited about an existing solution rather than solving the problem Some solutions are not cohesive with the overall experience CHALLENGE
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    “Brainstorm” in isolation 19 SOLUTION Have a designated facilitator Embrace

    divergent thinking; conduct individual exploration Conduct a design studio, not a BRAINSTORM MEETING!!!
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    Explain why it may not work Time to show your

    expertise on interface design. 35 SOLUTION Look at other examples to force a conversation. Focus on the problem you are trying to solve and question the solution.
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    Be open to various forms of communication 37 SOLUTION Remind

    them that your job is to make them look good.
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    They help push hard features forward 38 It’s important to

    maintain daily communication with them.
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    They are usually the scrum master 40 A good project

    manager can make or break a project.
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    Be upfront and realistic about estimates 42 SOLUTION Build on

    existing trust and confidence. There is no such thing as over-communication.
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    Like reuse of code & efficiency 45 CHALLENGE Solutions oriented

    around technology rather than the needs of users.
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    It’s all about building a better product 47 SOLUTION Walk-through

    the interface using specific scenarios. Take the time to explain the thought behind your design. Thank them for a job well done! Try to include them early in a solution.
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    Set expectations & keep in touch 51 SOLUTION Need to

    emphasis how important they are to the project. The success of the project depends on them. Talk about a holistic testing approach. Conduct occasional walk-throughs with them.
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    UX also needs to think about the business 54 SPOILER

    ALERT User needs + business needs = $$$ for everyone.
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    56 Let’s face it. You’re not going to win, but...

    SOLUTION Figure out what makes them tick. Find an influencer and become their buddy. Don’t be scared - they’re not going to bite.
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    57 Always present your work Never email a deliverable and

    assume they understand your lengthy email. SPOILER ALERT
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    57 Always present your work Never email a deliverable and

    assume they understand your lengthy email. SPOILER ALERT SELL
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    Give them options, but lead them to your choice Always

    tell a story. Solution A Normal Solution B Better Solution C What they should want
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    Thanks! 63 Get in touch with questions, comments or other

    feedback Pradeep Nayar designonmymind Kevin Leebroderick