Reflective Paper: UX Strategy and Futures

Michael Bengwayan Jr.
3 min readNov 26, 2021

This blog is a reflective piece on an academic group work in IADT Dún Laoghaire.

Team Effort and Outcomes

Our team has a well-written and well-thought of story for our speculative design on autonomous cars. The final outcome of our film was very satisfying and professionally produced. In terms of assessing the user experience (UX) strategy for an organisation, we interviewed a UX professional to gain a deeper understanding. The professional had background in designing in an aviation company. An aviation company is not the same as an automobile company but it has similarities. Given the effort and level of quality of our outcomes, I believe an A would be a fair grade for us.

What I did Best in the assessment task

Given my experience in the UX industry, I was able to identify and recognise various team setups as well as the pros and cons that come with them. For example, I worked in a centralised UX team; hence, I was warrying of its disadvantages like appearing to be an external contributor to teams. I too had experience working on a decentralised team where I was able to contribute more to the engineering team that I was embedded in. However, there were inconsistencies that came about with my fellow designers who were also embedded in other engineering teams. This is where the hybrid team structure comes to place. In our interview with the UX professional, who now works at HubSpot, she did not explicitly mention that her team has a hybrid setup but the way she described it alluded to one. Their product owner is not just one person, rather three: the product manager, the product designer and the engineering tech lead. The leadership is led by a triumvirate (Merril, 2016). Other UX roles such as researchers and content managers act as supporting groups that help enable engineering teams, the product triumvirate and others to make informed decisions. In an interview with the another UX professional from HubSpot, a principal designer, he mentioned that they do not work in a feature team but in a product team instead.

What I did the least well in the assessment task

I have not experienced working in a leadership role yet which made it tricky to empathise with the woes and challenges that can come from a leadership level. However, according to our interviews, one leadership challenge that they mentioned is empowering design teams. This is a challenge that is well-known even to the lower ranks of an organisation. It is because the solution to this challenge should come from the leadership level — a top table buy-in. I believe one of the factors why the company Intercom has a high UX maturity (Pernice et al., 2021) and also why they are successful is that they have leadership support. One of their co-founders, Eoghen McCabe, used to be a designer. To advocate for UX from a non-leadership role means going through the painstaking process of constructing proposals, arguing for the return of investment (ROI) for UX, or “showing them the money.” As per my experience, any effort that comes from below is like going against the tide.

Top learning points from the assessment task

With more time, I would do more research on the design teams by car manufacturers, especially the ones that are already venturing into autonomous vehicles such as Audi, Waymo and Tesla. From there, I can formulate a strategy for our project. It is also important to understand how a design team works for a specific industry, as the culture in one industry can be a big factor in its operations.

I would also go deeper in understanding how a UX designer would strategize for a release or product and communicate it to leadership and what common framework or systems are currently present for strategizing. Next, I want to understand what roles are responsible for strategizing. It is true that roles vary for each company but there are common roles and almost standard roles that can be used as a reference. I currently work with a fintech client. The lack of UX maturity from their end has posed multiple constraints such as not having the leeway to conduct research, having no voice during inspect and adapt sessions, or even having limited UX tools.


Merril, T. (2016, July 20). What Does a Product Designer Do at HubSpot? HubSpot Product & Engineering Blog. Retrieved November 26, 2021, from

Pernice, K., Gibbons, S., Moran, K., & Whitenton, K. (2021, June 13). The 6 Levels of UX Maturity. Nielsen Norman Group. Retrieved November 26, 2021, from



Michael Bengwayan Jr.

T-shaped designer and life learner, portfolio design enthusiast and nerd.