Designers like to be heroes. We think our job is to use our vision to solve the world’s design problems, all by ourselves but those days are over. Jeff Gothelf (Lean UX) points out that in agile environments there is no space for heroes. Why? Lean UX is based on teamwork.
Everyone involved in a project should come to the table and talk about design solutions, designers and non-designers alike. Designing together allows drawing upon ideas which a designer alone might have never come up with. Jeff Gothelf writes:
“Instead of relying on a hero designer to divine the best solution from a single point of view, we use rapid experimentation and measurement to learn quickly how well (or not) our ideas meet our goals.”
The most resistance to this approach is coming from designers themselves. Lean UX eliminates all the pixel perfect deliverables designers got all there “ooohs” and “aaahs” from.
Traditional development processes favored the hero attitude. In agile and lean UX where teams are collaborating instead of passing on, there is no need for huge amounts of documentation. The entire team is up to date and regular meetings assure everyone is on the same page. Thus, no hero needed.
What to look for in a UX designer
Make sure he/she is a team player. Many companies have implemented agile in their development process and need team players not heroes.
“Keep an ear out for rock-star syndrome. If the transitions in your candidate’s career were driven by “too much criticism” of their work, or an inability to build the designs they came up with, or a propensity to simply leave a job if the chemistry wasn’t immediately there, then you may be dealing with someone who believes they are a hero designer. Hero designers are problematic in agile environments because agile is distinctly anti-hero.”
How to build an agile UX team by Jeff Gothelf (Smashing Magazine)
Remember, your colleagues have a different background then you and therefore they are a valuable resource. Integrate them in the design process. This kind of collaboration creates a sense of ownership and the team will be more committed to the outcome of the project. Designing together raises the design IQ of the entire team and Ux principles can be integrated easier.
Hero designers are problematic because of their inability to collaborate. Agile is distinctly anti-hero. The smallest unit of labor is the team and not the individual designer or developer.