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AstraZeneca is a large global pharmaceutical company with 60,000 employees and offices all around the world. The company has a history of using external partners for the majority of its digital projects. There is therefore little understanding of UX within the organisation, or the benefits that taking a user-centred design (UCD) approach can bring. As part of the newly formed internal UX team within AstraZeneca I helped sowed the seeds for UX to grow within the organisation. I did this through training, mentoring, evangelising and providing UX guidance and advice for internal teams.
Training key individuals
Working with colleagues within the UX team I put together a highly interactive 1-day introduction to UX training course for key individuals within the organisation, such as business analysts, technical architects, project managers, and product owners. The face-to-face course was designed to primarily teach by doing, not by lecturing. Participants were given a mini design project to undertake and were able to progress from research, to ideas and finally to testing a paper prototype with users within the day.
I personally delivered the course to over 200 employees within the UK (over many sessions), and within the company’s global technology centre in India. The course was very well received by participants, being one of the highest rating internal training courses within AstraZeneca.
Building senior buy-in
For UX to grow within an organisation it needs buy-in from the bottom, and also from the top. To help establish senior buy-in I ran an interactive introduction to UX session with senior IT management in the UK, and in India. The session introduced the benefits of taking a UCD approach and allowed senior management to experience first-hand some key UX activities, such as user interviews and usability testing.
Evangelising the benefits of UX
Given the limited exposure to UX within the organisation it was important to spread the message that taking a user-centred design approach is very beneficial for digital projects. To help do this I ran a number of face-to-face and online UX overview sessions for key business groups, such as project managers, developers, marketing and business analysts.
Masterclasses and mentoring
To providing ongoing support to those individuals interested in applying UX to their digital projects, I organised and ran UX masterclasses to drill into a UX topic or technique in more detail. These 1-hour webinars covered topics such as personas, user journeys, prototyping and storyboarding.
In addition to the master classes I also mentored a handful of project teams and key individuals to help guide their UX approach and to discuss and review their UX work.
Through training, mentoring, evangelising and providing internal UX guidance and advice I’ve helped to build buy-in and knowledge of UX within AstraZeneca. UX work is increasingly being factored into more and more digital projects, and rather than being an afterthought is being considered, and importantly also being budgeted for from the very start.