As UX practitioners, we often need to push back on requests when we are already fully allocated or when requirements are not well enough to find. But, we must do this tactfully because in the real world it’s not always acceptable to say “No” to our managers. So, when this happens, instead of saying “no,” determine the needed resources to take on the project.
Instead of shutting down colleagues, build allies by saying: I want to support this project, but my time is fully allocated. Let’s reprioritize my project deliverables based on business needs and rethink my deadlines. Then, I can support this new project.
In taking this approach, we are seen as a team player. Instead of saying “no,” we’re prioritizing work based on what is best for the business and our customers.
Now consider a project that lacks UX requirements. In this case, we need to convey the risks of poor design to increase customer support calls, site abandonment, and engineering rework. Conversely, we can discuss the return on investment for proper UX work, and how a small investment in time and research can pay off in the long term.
In this case, we say: I can contribute to this product. But without requirements and research, there is considerable risk to both the customer and the product’s success. If I had two more weeks and a contractor, we can make this project a success – without the costly rework.
In the big picture, a delay of one or two weeks is a small price to pay for ensuring that requirements and designs are sound and will achieve both user and business goals. Taking this approach, managers and stakeholders will see that UX work must be considered early in the planning process.