Target ratios for skill sets or roles

18 Dec 2007 - 7:17pm
6 years ago
4 replies
715 reads
Jerome Ryckborst
2007

clarification.

At work (software company), we're wondering about the "typical" ratio of developers to usability staff. I may as well go whole hog and do a proper survey.

Is this an appropriate list of roles?

- Interface/interaction designers.
- Usability testers.
- Software developers.
- QA-testers.
- Technical communicators.
- Product managers.
- Development managers.
- Project managers.
- Subject-matter experts (customer domain, not software).

Please e-mail me any missing roles. I'll set up a survey and then invite you all to respond.

-=- Jerome

Comments

18 Dec 2007 - 11:37pm
Katie Albers
2005

I would say "usability researchers" rather than usability testers.
Testing is done with an existing artefact of some sort. A lot of the
most important aspects of usability is done at the very beginning of
a product cycle, things like: Are we building the right product? Does
our thinking conform to actual needs/empty niches/felt wants/our
users' perceptions of their own needs? How do our expected users
conform or not to our expectations of their behavior...all of this
and so much more goes into developing a reasonable first cut at a
usable product with a well defined series of interactions.

Katie

At 4:17 PM -0800 12/18/07, Jerome Ryckborst wrote:
>clarification.
>
>At work (software company), we're wondering about the "typical"
>ratio of developers to usability staff. I may as well go whole hog
>and do a proper survey.
>
>Is this an appropriate list of roles?
>
> - Interface/interaction designers.
> - Usability testers.
> - Software developers.
> - QA-testers.
> - Technical communicators.
> - Product managers.
> - Development managers.
> - Project managers.
> - Subject-matter experts (customer domain, not software).
>
>Please e-mail me any missing roles. I'll set up a survey and then
>invite you all to respond.
>
>-=- Jerome
>________________________________________________________________
>*Come to IxDA Interaction08 | Savannah*
>February 8-10, 2008 in Savannah, GA, USA
>Register today: http://interaction08.ixda.org/
>
>________________________________________________________________
>Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
>To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
>Unsubscribe ................ http://www.ixda.org/unsubscribe
>List Guidelines ............ http://www.ixda.org/guidelines
>List Help .................. http://www.ixda.org/help

--

------------------
Katie Albers
User Experience Consulting & Project Management
katie at firstthought.com

19 Dec 2007 - 9:09am
Bill Fernandez
2007

You might add:

- Visual Designers
- UI Architects
- Software Architects
- Animators
- HTML/CSS coders (sometimes in the UI group. Often different than
the programmers)

For a game company:
- Sound Designers/Engineers
- 3D modellers
- Scene designers
- etc.

- Creative services (packaging, collateral materials)
- Legal services (trademark, copyright, intellectual property, licensing)
- Marketing (typically represented by a Product Manager, but
sometimes more people are involved)
--- Market researchers
--- Competitive analysts
- Manufacturing and Distribution folk
- Some companies have "Producers" rather than "Product Managers"

By Product Managers did you mean the Marketing folk?

At 4:17 PM -0800 12/18/07, Jerome Ryckborst wrote:

>Is this an appropriate list of roles?
>
> - Interface/interaction designers.
> - Usability testers.
> - Software developers.
> - QA-testers.
> - Technical communicators.
> - Product managers.
> - Development managers.
> - Project managers.
> - Subject-matter experts (customer domain, not software).

--

======================================================================
Bill Fernandez * User Interface Architect * Bill Fernandez Design

(505) 346-3080 * bf_list1 AT billfernandez DOT com *
http://billfernandez.com
======================================================================

19 Dec 2007 - 11:40am
Jared M. Spool
2003

On Dec 18, 2007, at 7:17 PM, Jerome Ryckborst wrote:

> Is this an appropriate list of roles?

Hi Jerome,

Our research shows that focusing on roles is the wrong approach.
Teams that focus on skills are more likely to create great user
experiences that teams that focus on roles. In those teams, they may
have skills distributed across team members and any given team member
will have a pile of skills. This creates a team that is more flexible
and can react better to the demands placed upon it.

Another advantage is that focusing on skills reinforces a culture of
constant improvement across the individuals on the teams and sets up
nice opportunities for mentorship and coaching from within, which is
one of the most effective ways to bring up the quality of the team's
capabilities.

I've written about the skills necessary more in an article, Assessing
Your Team's UX Skills: http://tinyurl.com/22c3qw

Hope this helps,

Jared

Jared M. Spool
User Interface Engineering
510 Turnpike St., Suite 102, North Andover, MA 01845
e: jspool at uie.com p: +1 978 327 5561
http://uie.com Blog: http://uie.com/brainsparks

19 Dec 2007 - 4:04pm
Jerome Ryckborst
2007

Yesterday, I wrote:
> Is this an appropriate list of roles?

Jared M Spool replied:
> Teams that focus on skills are more likely to create great user
> experiences than teams that focus on roles.

OK. I want to know how our ratio of UX to other job titles compares to the ratios of other companies because I think I can use that data to argue for an improvement in our ratios, at work. I don't expect to get much comparables data in a survey about skills because of the rating complexity and the effort, as described in the Spool article (http://tinyurl.com/22c3qw).

In the absence of comparables, would it be possible to combine the roles and skills idea? For example:

Ignoring actual job titles, in your workplace how many
people -- in-house (IH) and contractors (C) do the following work?

Use fractions, as needed:

IH C
__ __ Visual designers or graphic designers.
__ __ Information architects or information designers.
__ __ Interaction designers.
__ __ Usability testers.
__ __ User researchers.
__ __ Software developers or programmers.
__ __ QA-testers.
__ __ Technical communicators (copywriters, incl. text in GUI).
__ __ Development managers.
__ __ Project managers and fast-iteration managers.
__ __ Subject-matter experts (customer domain, not software).
__ __ Product managers.

I welcome feedback, including offlist.

Oh, and I should add: my boss likes the idea of industry ratios to which we can compare ourselves.

-=- Jerome

Syndicate content Get the feed