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Friday, September 24 • 10:15am - 11:00am
Psychological Safety in Teams: The UX of a Design Review

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UX designers can face many challenges day-to-day. We are usually responsible for
evangelizing (let’s be honest: selling) our work. From newcomers to established teams
within a company, explaining the value of UX is a key part of our roles. We are also the
ones who usually adapt our pace/process when a company’s rapid growth means a
switch to an agile methodology (don’t worry we won’t be talking about this thorny issue).

These, among other challenges, mean that presenting a unified front when part of a
design team is all but essential to the survival of good UX practices within an
organization. And there is a very important factor that determines how confident and in
sync a team feels. That feeling, that cohesion, comes from psychological safety.
True psychological safety at work can be a more complex issue that stems from
organizational policies and management. We found during our interviews that
transparency and fluency of information from management to teams was absolutely key
to feeling informed and empowered individual contributors. However, this is a cultural
shift that might be outside a design team’s control. We wanted to focus our presentation
on something within the control of the designers themselves. We would like to explore
how team members can empower each other by creating psychological safety during
design reviews/critiques. A psychologically safe team is more open to learning new
things, taking risks, and being innovative. Members of teams who trust each other
collaborate more, which leads to better output.

We wanted to share our experience of working in a new team that grew and changed
rapidly. Through many challenges, we managed to maintain a healthy sense of trust,
and continued to innovate. It became clear to those around us, and to us, that we had
built something special. We became curious and wanted to know how. Employing
proper user-centric methods, we interviewed our teammates, our past manager, and
collaborators. We came out with some key insights about what makes designers and
collaborators psychologically safe during design reviews. We would like to share with
others how to build psychological safety within their design teams.

avatar for Ketan Galhotra

Ketan Galhotra

UX Designer, Eversource

Friday September 24, 2021 10:15am - 11:00am EDT
2 - Back Bay C/D (Design)
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