A couple of weeks back we ran a small but perfectly formed conference at Hot Studio in San Francisco to bring together practitioners and would-be practitioners to discuss ways of creating and maintaining balanced teams.
As was fitting for a conference discussing agile and UX integration, the program was created by the attendees. During registration we asked each attendee what they wanted to learn and what they could teach/share. We took all of the suggested topics and let attendees vote for the ones they wanted to see (using Google Moderator). After each chunk of sessions we had time for a fishbowl-style discussion where audience members interacted with the presenters in a highly interactive Q&A/conversation furthering manner.
It didn’t hurt that we had a large proportion of the brain trust in the agile/UX space gathered in the room. Every talk produced “aha” moments for the audience. The output was a set of resources that really show the state of the art in creating balanced teams.
I talked on UX Coaching. By involving every team member in user research, interface design, paper prototyping and user testing, UX people can move their individual focus to harder interface problems while giving the whole team an inherently deeper understanding of what they need to build, backed up by good user research data. It’s win-win for all team members.