ARTICLE: Trevor Minton

How to protect your UX investment from employee turnover at your EdTech company

In 2020, people on your product team may have been reluctant to pursue other professional opportunities in the midst of so much uncertainty. 2021 is a different story. Now your team has much greater freedom to explore their options. After all, even a generally happy, productive team occasionally loses key players. It’s inevitable that people seek new industry challenges or take on entirely different work. That possibility can spark fear in the heart of your organization. How will your team move projects forward without stumbling? How will you reassure your users? And how will you fill the knowledge gap?

But your organization doesn’t have to struggle when a team member leaves. 

When you work with an outside UX agency, you have access to industry experience and design expertise. But that’s not all. The best external partners also provide stability and continuity in times of transition. 

You need a partner that can help you mitigate the risks that come with internal change — especially the risk of losing valuable institutional knowledge. A relationship with a trusted UX agency can help make sure you don’t miss a beat — whether you are planning ahead or managing the unexpected. 

When Team Members Leave Your Organization, What Are They Taking With Them?

Your product managers, product directors, and UX leads can be expected to do it all in-house. Their specialized knowledge is often siloed, not shared. If one of these industry experts walks out your door, their knowledge walks out with them. This can leave an EdTech team scrambling, and frankly, vulnerable. 

Because the world of EdTech is a small one, your former specialist may now be your competitor’s new hire. This reality should motivate you to share knowledge across your team in a consistent, methodical way. It’s just good business. Team members should all be empowered to step into a resource void when needed. And your stakeholders will be assured that when highly-skilled people leave your company, the ship remains steady and on course. 

When you work with Openfield, we kick off your UX project by aligning your stakeholders. We believe the best way forward is through collaboration and knowledge sharing. Everyone on the team needs to hold a common vision — and everyone should be held accountable for relevant information. 

Your kickoff session allows us to ask your team the most pertinent questions — and sets an important precedent. Every person’s input matters. And no one person can be the gatekeeper of niche facts, processes, and insights. 

We encourage collaboration over the life of your EdTech product, not just in its infancy. That means no pass-offs, just pivots. Sure, different team members will take the lead at different phases of product development and iterations. But everyone works from the same evolving knowledge base. 

When you do your work with Openfield, your institutional knowledge is not just in individual team members’ heads. So when one person decides to move on, your organization can wish her well or throw him a goodbye party. And mean it.

Your External Partner Can Help Provide Seamless Transitions With Knowledge Continuity

Avoiding dependency hell has to be one of an EdTech organization’s top UX priorities. Siloed teams working on the same project negatively impacts your product’s usability and inevitably breaks down team communication. Communication vacuums can be costly at every stage of your product’s maturation — and especially costly when an expert leaves your team.

Your investment with Openfield pays off in well-documented UX processes that eliminate dangerous communication gaps. It’s our intention to set your team free from dependencies — both internal and external. We’ll ensure your team both understands and can successfully use the assets we provide — both during and after our partnership. These include:

  • Your design system. Your design system is an evolving set of design standards, usage guidelines and driving principles. Adherence to this system guarantees consistency of everything from buttons to pages. 
  • Your research reports. Conducting research early and often is essential for an EdTech product. We interpret and clearly report the resulting data pools, issues, and insights so that all of your stakeholders can quickly and easily make sense of them. 
  • Our history of discussions and decisions. We archive our journey together in carefully detailed documents and presentation decks. You can leverage and share these at your discretion.

When everyone owns and is accountable for your institutional knowledge, you can adjust to change — welcome or not — with relative ease.

Invest in a UX Agency That Delivers More Than Design and Build

Even the most efficient organization has its limits when sudden changes occur. After all, your product team is managing a slew of demands every day. Your schedules are jam-packed as you try to meet your sprint deadline, respond to stakeholder requests, and test hypotheses. 

UX agencies worth their salt are motivated to do more than design and build an excellent user experience for your product. You should also expect carefully-crafted systems and strategies to handle any in-house turbulence. 

Part of your investment payoff with Openfield is production and protection of institutional knowledge. As we craft solutions for your team and your product, those solutions become your secure assets. 

EdTech is a vibrant, evolving industry where people will move around to pursue new opportunities from time to time. But that’s okay! Having systems in place to transfer knowledge can put your mind at ease about your UX investment.

If you need a hand with implementing these sorts of fail-safes into your UX process, we’re here to help.

  • Photo of Trevor Minton
    Trevor Minton

    As Vice President of Product Experience at Openfield, Trevor collaborates closely with our clients and ensures that our team delivers world-class design thinking and execution that results in strong emotional connections between users and digital products. He is passionately enthusiastic about music, local and international soccer, automotive design and racing, and getting under the hood of his old but new-to-him BMW to keep it on the road for another couple of decades.

Spread the word – help avoid the traps of digital product development!