ARTICLE: Crissie Raines

Manage your EdTech product’s resourcing needs with the right UX partner

EdTech product development rarely moves along at a predictable, constant pace. There are phases of frantic activity. And there are phases of watching and waiting. The ebb and flow inherent in your product’s life cycle keeps things interesting — and difficult to properly staff. Now more than ever, striking the right balance with resources is a job unto itself. And you may be considering hiring an outside UX agency to support you.

Up to this point, you may not have felt the need for an external UX partner. Not so long ago, your product team probably spent time and energy focusing on nice-to-have features. And you had the capacity to do so. But the EdTech landscape is different now. You have to prioritize the features you know your users require in the post-Covid classroom. If you don’t have a team that’s adequately staffed, some of those essential features may be deprioritized or even shelved. And that can result in a myriad of issues, like inferior usability and calls to customer service. 

Addressing those features and issues properly can mean all hands on deck. And then some.

When you work with a UX agency like Openfield, we can fill in your capacity gaps with our experts. You’ll have all the hands you need — and only when you need them. 

Time and Budget Are Finite Resources With In-House UX Teams

Wanting to use in-house resources is understandable. Why wouldn’t you lean on your own team to cover your product development tasks? After all, they’re right in the thick of it. They know your product.

Expecting your UX team to be able to cover everything — both anticipated and not anticipated — isn’t reasonable. And it’s often not affordable. 

It might be necessary to have a bigger team to work efficiently during busy times. But when the time crunch is over? You may suddenly find your organization overstaffed. If you have full in-house design and research teams, the inevitable lulls in demand can be quite costly. You certainly don’t want to compensate staff for just showing up. And you also don’t want to see your team’s morale plummet. 

Being understaffed, on the other hand, can lead to a different sort of crisis. As projects ramp up, you need resources to meet the increasing demand. Interviewing, hiring, and onboarding new team members can be time consuming in the best of times. But when you’re swamped? It’s deeply stressful — and it slows your whole project down.

You can’t look into a crystal ball and see what your UX staff needs will be in the near (or far) future. So choosing an external partner that can scale up and down along with your shifting needs may just be an essential ingredient for your product’s success.

Rightsize Your Resources With the Right UX Partner

Deciding to work with an outside partner can feel risky — especially if you’ve adopted a project-based mindset. In that case, you’re used to earmarking part of your budget for certain deliverables. And receiving them in a predictable time frame. When you think of taking on a UX partner as an investment, though, you’re not locked into rigid terms. Instead, you have freedom to develop a highly responsive, best-fit plan with a team of experts. 

When you invest with Openfield, you have access to our EdTech industry specialization and UX specialization. We’re in a unique position to support you at any point of your product development. You don’t have to have a year-round, full-blown staff to get the job done. We can seamlessly integrate with your team and precisely plug in our expertise. 

As your project takes off and evolves, our adaptable process ensures we protect your time and budget. Project activity can be intense — only to be followed by lulls. Sometimes resources need to be added to your project, and other times subtracted from it. For example, we might discover that more research is needed in order to take the best next step. Or we don’t need to conduct as much research as we thought. Our team is built to scale up or down for maximum ROI. 

Protect Your UX Investment With Resource Roadmapping

We forecast resources in order to build a stable and flexible plan to meet your objectives. Our roadmap is informed by these key project elements, which we are constantly evaluating:

  • Initiative priorities. Your project’s most pressing priority is our guide — and it can change. We can offer insight that will help you get clear about whether it should. And then we adjust the project path and resourcing needs accordingly.
  • Timeline. Shorter-term projects require a weekly touch-base to keep resourcing, budgeting, and scheduling on track. Projects spread over longer periods allow us to plan months ahead and adapt as needed. 
  • Specialty demands. We can anticipate necessary team members for each phase of your project. Design, research, and usability testing phases all have unique demands that require the right specialists.
  • Budget spend. Because we are intimately involved with priorities, deadlines, and resourcing, we can wisely guard your UX investment

When there are surprises along the way, your project doesn’t run off the road. We expect the unexpected and are prepared to meet your needs with the right experts at the right time 

The Best UX Partner Can Fill Every Resource Need

When you work with us, you don’t have to handle every project change. Openfield has a robust team with the right mix of specialties to do just that. And our resource roadmap shows us if we need to grow our team to meet your future needs. We continue rightsizing resources and pivoting until we reach project completion together. 

Working with a UX partner like Openfield takes the burden of extra resource management off your shoulders. But working with us also gives your team the time and space to focus on their own tasks. If everyone on your team and ours can work optimally, you’ll be much more likely to bring a truly useful EdTech product to market — in record time.Ready to invest in a customized project plan? Let’s talk.

  • Photo of Crissie Raines
    Crissie Raines

    As Project Manager at Openfield, Crissie plays a critical role in helping our team focus on what they do best by hawkishly monitoring budgets, resource and time tracking and financial reporting. As a graduate of the University of Cincinnati, D.A.A.P.’s Fashion Design program, she brings a unique view of the value of design to work each day. Outside of the office, Crissie enjoys designing and sewing one-of-a-kind clothing pieces for herself and others, including five wedding dresses. She always has a jar of candy at home, at the office and in her purse, as she feels “candy is the most important food group.” Crissie is a pop culture connoisseur, and a major force of our culture here at Openfield.

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