Re: where do your UX team-members sit?
We have a similar sized team to you and know the situation you are in. We decided to have all the UX team members together but in close proximity to the developers in our open concept office. So it is still easy to communicate and overhear what us going on between dev and UX but St the same time UX can collaborate easily and often too.
We find that this works pretty well. It helps that everyone is very comfortable with agile and do not hesitate to get up and come over to talk!
I work at a medium sized company. We have three designers and five developers, all who sit in close confines. From reading the posts lately I wonder if we handle design and development differently.
It seems (and I may be horribly wrong) that the arguments are mainly against big, up front design. I absolutely agree. However, I don't think that having designers do designs prior to development is a bad thing, if done well and there's plenty of communication.
We have one month release cycles, which means we're getting real, working software into our clients hands very quickly, and get feedback quickly as well. We do paired design, so two designers will sit down and shake out most of the design. This can take anywhere from a day to a week and a half depending on the size of the story. During this time we meet with developers several times so they know where the design is going, point out technical road blocks, and yes, give design input. Then we hand it over to get coded, and during this time the designers work closely with the developer who's handling the story to answer questions and work out real time design questions.
So the designers do a bulk of the design (I'd say 95%), but there's no huge outlay of up front design. We do it all 'just in time'. Designs get input from developers, product owners, and other stakeholders. The mock up's may go through three or four iterations before they reach development, all within a few days time.
I'm not saying that developers cannot design, I think many can to varying degrees. We've just found that paired design done just prior to development, and working in close proximity to each other has allowed us to create great designs quickly.
On 12/4/10 4:33 PM, Tref Gare wrote:
Our environment is the opposite – we huddle our ux folk together which does give us the cross pollination thing, but means we miss out on the embedded engagement with the developers. I’d love to find some form of middle ground where I get to regularly mind meld with my design colleagues, but also am in there with the devs when the design hits the metal.