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Where Should User Experience (UX) Report To Be Most Effective?

In 2015, Agile, Lean, Marketing, Product Management, Product Management Consulting, Product Management Facts, Product Marketing, Product Owner, Product Teams, Project Connections, Project Management, Ron Lichty, Scrum, Sean Van Tyne, sensor six, Take Charge Product Management, The Study of Product Team Performance, Uncategorized, User Experience, Voice of the Customer by [email protected]2 Comments

Two weeks ago I wrote a post on the importance of product management and user experience collaboration entitled “Where is the Line Between User Experience and Product Management?“. I’m a strong believer that both functions benefit from a robust and transparent working relationship. It benefits the end user and the organization.

Since 2012 we have been examining the factors that contribute to high performance on product teams. One thread in this years market research focuses on user experience and how to optimize the functions organizational effectiveness. This year’s preliminary findings illustrate a disconnect on where user experience should report to be most effective. While the jury is still out, our early findings suggest that most product team members believe that the user experience function’s existing reporting relationship is adversely impacting UX’s effectiveness!

Given that our research is still in process I don’t want to reach a final conclusion yet but lets examine several data points. First, when survey respondents are asked about where user experience reports today the majority of respondents indicate that UX reports primarily to “Engineering, Development, Technology or similar”. Even more interesting only a minority of Chief Product Officers (CPO) appear to have user experience reporting into them.

If we compare that to how survey respondents respond to the question “Where should user experience report to be most effective?” it becomes clear that survey respondents see the user experience relationship as evolving out of the “Engineering, Development, Technology or similar” category and into product management in order to increase the functions effectiveness. In fact, when you add the Chief Product Officer tally together with the responses favoring product management it currently equals about 60% of the overall responses.

As I mentioned earlier, our market research is still ongoing and these numbers could change and probably will. If you have a point of view on where user experience should report to be most effective we want to hear from you. You can weigh in by clicking this link.

Where do you think user experience should report in order to be most effective?


  1. Being a functional rather than technical discipline, I believe wholeheartedly that UX has a closer affinity to PM than development. There’s also an argument for making it independent, but I think that’s a major evolution that will take time.

    1. Author

      Hi Greg, you’re not alone. It appears that about 60% of product team members, at all levels, agree with you! There’s a case to be made, and some already have, for splitting UX professionals in a thoughtful way with Development, where appropriate. What’s clear though is that only a minority of product team members believe that the current reporting relationship to Development or Technology is optimizing UX’s results.

      Thanks for your comment Greg.

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