Career paths & organizational structures

7 Jun 2006 - 8:21am
7 years ago
2 replies
655 reads
Michele Marut

After reading this posting a few thoughts came to mind for those positions
below managment level

1) Is the title Human Factors Design Engineer appropriate or should it be
Interaction Designer?

2) At the moment "Each member of our group handles activities ranging from
research, product definition, interaction design, user interface design,
information architecture, ergonomics, and usability testing, through ongoing
usability benchmarking, requirements review and software development
support." - my question is - is everyone doing all these things well? if not
will there be a split between research and design? I know this is frequently

if there is a split will that create two additional tracks?

3) At my company we are discussing the track of associate "insert title",
"title", Senior "title" and then Lead



7 Jun 2006 - 10:04am
Lada Gorlenko

MM> 3) At my company we are discussing the track of associate "insert
MM> title", "title", Senior "title" and then Lead

These titles mean different things at different places. There are two
principal approaches to "seniority recognition" through titles:

1. Experience labelling, e.g..
Everyone with such and such experience is a "Title", with SUCH and
SUCH experience is a "Senior_title", and so on.

-- Flexibility of having an arbitrary number of staff of each title;
-- Promotion to the next level doesn't depend on vacancies;
-- Flat(-ish) hierarchy.

-- Title doesn't reflect the decision-making power of the bearer;
-- You can end up with too many staff of high-level titles, thus
devaluing the meaning of the title.

2. Position labelling, e.g..
"Associate_title" reports to "Title" who reports to "Senior Title".
The reporting structure may not be as rigid, but titles reflect some
hierarchical position on the org chart; high-level titles have caps.

-- A title reflects the decision-making authority of the bearer;
-- In companies with consistent position labelling, locating
counterparts in different departments is easier;
-- Healthy balance between the number of senior and junior staff is
easy to maintain.

-- Promotion happens only when a title vacancy becomes available (at
higher levels);
-- The "junior" staff is at disadvantage when competing on external
market with those who have similar experience but higher titles.

Liz, my common-sense advice would be to start looking at the existing
org structure in your company: what kinds of career routes exist in
other departments? what do different titles there reflect: experience,
position, or a combination of both? are those titles/positions
consistent across the company? who would be a counterpart of a senior
design role (whatever you call it) in engineering or marketing?
Whatever you come up with, it should be organic to the existing org
culture, otherwise it'll make little sense.

In terms of big companies (IBM, for example), there is no clearly
defined tree. Growth structures largely depend on lines of business.
We have compatible "experience labelling" titles across all jobs
("bands" in IBM speak), but even their interpretation differs in
different parts of the company.


7 Jun 2006 - 10:49am
Anirudha Joshi

I don't exactly remember where I came across this suggestion:

Professional bodies (such as IxDG) can give 'martial arts' style
ratings to individuals (green belt, brown belt, black belt etc.) after
a suitable evaluation.

The sooner we get organized, the better it gets for the profession.
The idea is not to create a wall around the profession but a


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