As a UX researcher, it’s easy to assume that your primary responsibility is to gather insights and data that will inform the design and development of products and services. But there’s another critical skill that goes unnoticed: playing politics. This involves understanding the power dynamics within your organization and using that knowledge to navigate your way through the complex landscape of stakeholders and decision-makers.
“Politics” is often seen as a dirty word in the workplace, but the reality is that it’s an essential part of any organization. Power dynamics exist in every company, and understanding them is crucial to making a meaningful impact on the products you work on and advancing your career. For UX researchers, playing politics involves building relationships, influencing stakeholders, and positioning yourself as a valuable contributor to the organization’s success.
One of the most significant benefits of playing politics is that it affords you a seat at the table when critical decisions are being made. UX researchers have valuable insights into customer needs and behaviors, and you need to leverage that knowledge to influence product decisions. But if you don’t understand the power dynamics within your org, you may not be invited to critical meetings or have your voice heard.
Playing politics also involves building relationships with key stakeholders, such as: product managers, designers, and engineers. These individuals (and teams) have their own agendas and priorities. Understanding them is essential to building trust and collaboration. By taking the time to get to know these folks and their perspectives, you can better align your research goals with the organization’s objectives and ensure that your insights are valued and applied. By demonstrating your value and impact, you can build credibility and influence within the organization.
Playing politics is a crucial yet undervalued skill for UX researchers. By understanding the power dynamics within your organization, building relationships with key stakeholders, and positioning yourself as a valuable contributor, you can have a significant impact on the products you work on and advance your career in the process.
Leave a Reply