I hear a lot about the needs of finding a UX champion high in your company’s org but no one ever talks about how to get one. I have found that my process works and it’s repeatable at every company where I’ve worked. It involves using research as bait!
That’s not a typo. Research is the best bait to entice your potential champion to come out in the open and engage with you!
Juicy high-quality research works because it combines three components, if you’re doing it right.
3 Components of High-quality Research
- You validate something they already know and that makes you legitimate in their eyes.
- You validate something they suspect is true, which makes them feel smart. That makes you an authority in their eyes.
- You inform them of something they didn’t know but they can trust it because of the previous two components. That makes you a valuable resource in their eyes.
It doesn’t happen overnight. In fact, I got lucky with a UX champion in my current role and it still took six months to get to step 5 below. You’ve got to keep your eyes and ears open for the signs while still producing the high-quality work.
Steps to Finding and Converting a UX Champion
- Invite all the stakeholders to engage in all the research meetings.
- It’s important that you are the organizer of all the research-related meetings. Don’t tack on to the project manager or anyone else’s meetings. You are not just a contributor. You are a leader.
- Do kick-ass research (But that’s another blog post!) and create awesome presentations.
- Always present your findings in a meeting. It gives you a chance to engage with your stakeholders.
- During these presentations you’ll have a chance to identify the most engaged stakeholder. This is your champion candidate!
- Ask your champion candidate to further engage in research.
- Include them your research notes distribution for each session.
- Invite them to observe your research sessions. If they can’t attend, offer them links to the recordings, if you have them and can distribute them.
- Ask for a regular meeting with them to discuss future research opportunities—even 30 minutes once or twice a month is good.
- Explain to them the importance of early discovery in research before the projects start.
- Find out what’s upcoming and make sure you position yourself as a strategic asset in the success of future and ongoing projects.
- Look for signs that they’re evangelizing UX work—and especially research.
- If you hear, other high-level stakeholders repeating UX-isms you told your champion candidate, you know it’s working.
- If they come to engage you in an early discovery opportunity on a major project, you’ve got yourself a true UX Champion. Congratulations!
- Repeat with other champion candidates. Good luck!
This has worked for me. For years I came right up to step 3 but never engaged the stakeholders directly. Being passive just wasn’t getting me anywhere. Being proactive has opened many doors for me. Give it a try!
I would love to hear your UX champion stories and tips.