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Whether to have a designer on product team that can do everything, or one expert that hops around to all teams?

This is something that I'm dealing with right now at work. The person who used to be leading my team wanted niche designers who hop around. I want designers with well-rounded experience to sit on a team full time. Which is better? Is one better at all?

- Caitlin

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    Preston McCauley

    As a manager and product owner I've often found the more internal and external information that each team member has in the product and development process the better the team is able to make decision and directional decisions. Personally, I've always hired UX professionals that have a rounded skill set so they could adapt to the ever changing nature of development. This is especially true in an agile process, where one skill set may not always be needed every sprint. In this case I would have capacity of an entire resource that would not be utilized. That becomes a project managers nightmare. 

    By building a team that can act as a cohesive unit, you are much better able to ideate, design, create, and build ideas that can then be tested and validated.

     

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    Kayden Knauss

    I’m not sure that one is “better” than the other, because I can see the value in both depending on type of team and structure. I think specialization is important, I think everyone has heard of the T shaped skills, but I personally find having knowledge in more than one area is incredibly important. I agree with Preston, and I think in a perfect world a designer that will only work on his/her strength in every sprint isn’t realistic. I think having a rounded skill set allows us to learn more about what we don't know and provide different perspectives for the teams we’re on.

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    Lala Galindo

    Hi Caitlin!

    Our team is also going through the same discovery! We've found that having one full stack dedicated designer per project/product is very easy to maintain, but it may stall growth of the team or individual designer if they don't have a new challenge. We've also tried to have agnostic designers, meaning all designers know everything about all the products and projects and will be able to take on any product at any time - it seems like this one is good in theory but it's very challenging and confusing since it's hard to keep up with all the changes and outcomes. So.. on the road to discovery!

    Please let us know what you find in your search! :)

    Lala

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