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Inside-out: Using UX Maturity evaluation to make informed decisions

Table of Contents
I was running at the enormous pace set by my expectations to perform as a Head of UX. I gained experiences and tools that helped me to make well-guided leaps. One of those was the UX Maturity Model developed by Nielsen Norman Group. This is what and how I did it.

Making a list of all that can be found inside a box, a team, an organization, or a leader is essential while choosing the best way forward.

You may find yourself in moments of confusion with your domain. You have either too many paths or none to choose from. Your insights and actions depend on your perspective and your viewpoint.

Taking a closer look and assessing your reality is the only way to decide your actions.

For example, I had many issues and viable solutions when I started as a Head of UX. Still, I needed a better understanding and alignment with my team. I decided to evaluate the UX maturity of the organization.

In my previous career, I witnessed a manager’s biased application of UX maturity evaluation. It was a group discussion without any actionable insights. I needed a diverse range of facts from my team.

Methodology

I used UX Maturity Model1 as a basis for a semi-structured interview guide.

UX Maturity evaluation table

The first round of UX Maturity evaluation happened during the pandemic. I interviewed my team members individually for two hours while guiding them through the table. We went row by row.

  • I asked them to reflect based on their judgment of our team and organization’s maturity level. They had to make the choice and comment on why they felt this way.
  • After this, each had to pick how far the organization could develop in one year, starting today. I asked what must be true and what I, as a leader, and we as a team can do to make it happen.
  • When we covered all the rows, each team member had to pick three critical topics we must focus on the following year to improve the organization’s UX Maturity development.

Results

I focused exclusively on my team’s perception of evaluating UX Maturity as they had first-hand experience and a realistic understanding of our standing. It may have introduced some bias to the summary, but I knew that each team member knew and understood what we were talking about. Still, the research had even more benefits.

  • Change in vocabulary while communicating between team members and others in the organization upfield our messages.
  • Aligned understanding of our status in the organization channeled the team’s self-image and change in culture.
  • I gained detailed lists of issues and suggested solutions and priorities from the inside.
  • Maturity evaluation inspired other teams to look at their domains more closely. Interestingly, the quality of leadership and communication improved only by defining necessary maturity components and levels. And by initial maturity assessment, teams’ understanding of focus improvement areas catalyzed rapid growth.

This work was the ground-level data-collection step in the preparation for the UX area strategy. I understood the team’s perception of the organization’s UX Maturity with detailed suggestions. I had gathered plenty of signals about leadership and organization yet to be processed and analyzed.


  1. Pernice, K., Gibbons, S., Moran, K., & Whitenton, K. (2021, June 13). The 6 levels of UX Maturity. Nielsen Norman Group↩︎