Management Buy-In for UX Design: 3 Steps, Example & Tips

How to really convince management to invest in UX design

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You are convinced that UX design would be good for your product and your team, but you don't know how to convince your superiors to invest in the corresponding processes? Then this episode is for you. In it, we share our tips and a successful example of management buy-in. The last few episodes of Software for People have been a lot about the benefits of UX design, the methods and processes, and how you can best use it all in your project. In this episode, we talk about what happens when you internalize the benefits and also the strategy behind UX Design. Because then it's mostly about getting stakeholders like your management or other departments and supervisors on board (management buy-in). And that can sometimes be a real challenge.

Example of successful management buy-in

How we were able to take away the skepticism of decision-makers at a medium-sized mechanical engineering company, and why in the end they didn't want to give up our paper prototype at all? We, too, regularly have to list this work of persuasion. We trust with highest conviction in the power of UX design or better said, in considering UX as part of the corporate strategy (UX strategy). Therefore we can convince stakeholders to invest in UX. But the best arguments are of little use without tangible and concrete markers and results. Often, it is exactly these initially small results that are groundbreaking. Yes small! What you need to do, and in our experience, this is a great way to get started, is to try a small experiment first.

Step 1: Enforce small experiments

In our example: our customer, a medium-sized engineering company, wants to improve its machine with a new user interface and offer customers a more user-friendly interface. Sebastian suggested to the customer: let's start with a paper prototype. Thereupon the customer fell out of all clouds. He was simply not familiar with such an approach. But Sebastian and the rest of the team had convincing arguments:

  • Paper is ideal for a small budget
  • Paper creates maximum diversity of ideas and creativity
  • Experimenting is easy with paper (nothing is set and if you don't like something, you just throw it away. It would be different with already developed features)
  • The experiment is fast and requires 0 development capacity

Step 2: Show concrete results and user feedback

The customer finally went along with it. We obtained significant results and were able to prove that the UX of the product could be greatly improved. During the presentation we relied on a very effective argument: users come have some problems using the current UI and we can find them and avoid them with better features. But, of course, anyone can argue that. Why the customer knew we were right: a test person (in this case a service technician) tested our paper prototype live. And lo and behold - the errors and problems with the operation were solved. It must be said: it is scientifically proven that our brain can perform a very good transfer performance between paper and the real surface, so the results are valid.

Step 3: find the right language

Managers often think in terms of money and time, but often there are other arguments for UX design instead of just saving development time and developing faster and cheaper. UX design also leads to better existing customer business, a strengthening of the brand, stronger customer loyalty, more customer acquisition, etc. You should think carefully about which arguments are really the decisive ones for your stakeholders. Get these and more tips in the latest episode of Software for People! And don't worry: our tips are universal and applicable to all industries and projects. It doesn't matter if you're working on a completely new product or a major overhaul of existing software. By following our steps, you'll be sure to convince your stakeholders to invest in UX.

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