How did I elevate my team’s UX maturity level?

Udit Maitra
10 min readJun 7, 2022

Summary: In this article, you will learn what is UX maturity model, the stages of the UX maturity model, and how I evaluated my entire team’s UX maturity level and created a strategic plan to go to the next level of the UX maturity ladder. If you’re planning the same for your team/organization but don’t know where and how to begin, I am assuring you this information will be useful for you.

Okay, let’s start with what is UX maturity model?

I’m sure you’ll find a variety of material and definitions on the internet, but I’d want to describe this phrase in simpler words based on my past work experience.

UX Maturity models are frameworks that help the organization by reducing its business risk.

High UX maturity = Lower business risk

Why is UX maturity important?

Because organizations with a greater level of UX maturity save time and money by reducing rework and increasing productivity.

I hope that this simple definition captures the essence of the UX Maturity model. In a nutshell, it’s a framework that helps businesses reduce risk by saving time and money.

You might be wondering what the correlation is between saving organizations time and money and their UX maturity?

Alright! I completely understand, but don’t worry, I’m here to explain further. :)

While company A saves 20% or more of its time and resources by following the right UX process, other had company B had to spend more time.

The absence of UX experts in projects causes more changes during development, which significantly increases the investment. It has been shown that “UX designers/researchers reduce the time developers need to re-work or ‘fix’ a product by up to 50%”. As you can see, implementing a change later in the life cycle of the software costs exponentially more. Adding the research phase at the beginning, as well as testing will help reduce the development time and maximize the product’s probability of success.

Image Source: Interaction design foundation.

The later changes are implemented in the development process, the more costly they are. One study has found that “once a system is in development, correcting a problem costs 10 times more than fixing the same problem in design. If the system has been released, it costs 100 times more relative to fixing in design

Now, I hope that this analogy has helped you see how UX mature companies can save time and money by minimizing rework and increasing productivity.

How to improve it?

Now, before I go into detail about how I improved my team's UX maturity level, I’d like to go over the various stages of the UX maturity model. There are numerous UX maturity models available; however, it is totally up to you to choose which one you prefer. One recommendation is to stay with one UX maturity model from beginning to end of the journey.

In June 2021, the Nng group unveiled their new UX-maturity model as shown in the below picture.

Image Source: Nielsen Norman Group

Then I collaborated with a few members of my team to create a modified form for our team, and I’ll go over each level of the UX maturity model in depth below.

These are all levels of UX maturity that we customize from Nng’s updated UX maturity model, therefore I must thank Nng for this fantastic UX maturity model. Later, we described each step in detail, including a few variables such as strategy, culture, process, and outcome, as well as where to focus in order to advance to the next level of UX maturity. Please keep in mind that the focus area option is quite generic, and it may vary based on your team and organization.

Now I’d want to focus on the most important part, what is the strategy for improving our UX maturity level?


So before improving I had to understand three things for my team:

  1. Where do we (our team) belong in the UX maturity model?
  2. When what plan will require to move to the next stage?
  3. What strategic action will be needed?


I had a few challenges which I am pretty sure you would have seen and might have faced,

  1. How do get buy-in from stakeholders so that the strategic action can be implemented in the team and current process?
  2. How to collaborate effectively with other team members and evangelize the UX culture?
  3. How to establish a perfect balance between the UX work I was doing for my team and the UX maturity improvement action plan in terms of time, workload, effort, and so on.

Now I’d want to go over the steps for answering all of the questions from the above section.

To build a strategic plan for UX maturity, I call these three steps IPA (I-Identify, P-Plan, A-Action).
  1. Identify: Determine the level of UX maturity in your team.
  2. Plan: Plan what you will need to do and get to the next level of UX maturity.
  3. Action: Then, one by one, apply each thing to your current UX level.


Here, I needed to know what my team’s current UX maturity level is.

So, in order to evaluate our team’s overall UX maturity, I conducted a survey with all of the major stakeholders, including Business, Engineering, and UX, to learn about our UX culture, strategy, method, practice, and outcome.

I used the NNg group’s assessment, which helps us comprehend an estimate of my team’s UX maturity.

Assessment link:


Based on the assessment we found out our team is belonging between 2–3 levels of UX maturity


My goal prior to planning anything was to understand/empathize with the people who assist me in completing the assessment and to obtain a few answers such as,

Why do you think we belong here?

What is their personal opinion?

Where do we fall short?

What else can we do?

Where do we need to concentrate our efforts?

How will these approaches benefit you and your team?

So, after the 1:1 conversation with 15 people, I found a few patterns that help me to connect with my action strategy.

For example,

My Plan: “How to get buy-in for the User Persona creation process?”

[Empathising with Business Stakeholders and creating a connection between UX maturity strategic plan with business goal]

Me: “Hello, Business Stakeholders 1, Could you kindly tell me what our business priorities are for the coming quarter?”

Business Stakeholders 1: “Udit, I’m totally not sure what features we should add in the following quarter?”

Me: “That is unquestionably a crucial decision! Do we have clear documentation of who our target customers are for our product strategy?”

Business Stakeholders 1: “No I have in my mind, but I think we need to create.”

Me: “Excellent! we should create customer segmentation and need to understand each user segment by creating User Personas (not Marketing Personas) that will help us understand better while prioritizing features for users, what’s your opinion?”

Business Stakeholders 1: “Yes, of course! I see the importance in it; it would undoubtedly benefit us; could you kindly lead this project on your own, Udit?”

Me: “I would love to! :)”

(Did you note how I used the Business Stakeholders 1 goals/target to assist me navigate to my UX maturity strategy plan? Then Business Stakeholder 1 asked me to design a user segmentation and persona for our target user, which was exactly what I intended to do.)

Another example,

My Plan2: “How to get buy-in for a design systems development?”

[Empathising with Engineering Stakeholders and creating a connection between UX maturity strategic plan with their goal]

Me: “Hello! Could you kindly tell me what kind of challenges you or your team had in the past when you or your team worked closely with a designer? or, perhaps, what could be better?”

Engineering Stakeholder: “Yes! For our teams, these are extremely essential questions. They said several times that the designers provide us a design/components to develop, but that we run into difficulties when trying to develop and after a lot of arguments each and every week we mutually agree to some solutions”

Me: “Okay! How much time will they spend discussing on average?”

Engineering Stakeholder: “On average, 55–60 hours per week.”

Me: “That’s 220–240 hours per month, which is a lot of time! for arguments of this nature”

Engineering Stakeholder: Yes, it is”

Me: “What if I tell you that if your team helps me establish a sustainable design system, I promise that this value will reduce from 220–240 hours each month to 30–40 hours per month?”

Engineering Stakeholder: “Really? Is that possible?”

Me: “I will take the responsibility for it :)”

Engineering Stakeholder: “Our team would happily assist you in developing a design system.”

Me: “Then it’s a done deal!”

(Did you note how I used the Engineering Stakeholders goal to assist me navigate to my UX maturity strategy plan? Then Engineering Stakeholder happily agreed with me for the design system development)

My Plan 3: “Wanted to know the what is the current definition of UX (what team is doing and the awareness for UX knowledge)”

My Plan 4: “Empathise with our user”

My Plan 5: “Set up a standard UX design and Research process”

and so on.

And below I sharing one screenshot which will help you to understand what my plan looked like,

As you can see, I was identifying what should be in the target UX area and what should be in the current UX section.


My goal at this point was to turn all of the plans into strategic action.

So I broke down each big plan into micro-goals in order to take prioritize and take action which will help us in visualizing and align with others.

As may be seen, All of my objectives and strategies were broken down into goals, each with an estimated timeline and instructions on how to achieve them.

As I previously stated, you will convert your target UX into goals and then prioritize each goal with your stakeholders before taking action.


Then I constantly collaboratively worked with the teams and achieved the goals one by one and after a year I again evaluated our current UX maturity with the Stakeholders and I am happy to share the outcome below :)

There we a few challenges which I mentioned in the above section,

How do get buy-in from stakeholders so that the strategic action can be implemented in the team and current process?

My approach: “I didn’t work for them; rather, I worked closely with them, which allows me to empathize with them and understand their goals and priorities. Then the stakeholder’s goal/target is to help me navigate to my UX maturity strategy plan,”

How to collaborate effectively with other team members and evangelize the UX culture?

My approach: “Here I tried to understand their current issues in terms of collaboration with designers, and then I tried to show them how a proper UX process could help them to make not only designers’ life easy, but also how they could benefit from it, and I invited them to a few usability sessions to show them how users are actually struggling to do their task, and I showed them live through different workshops that if we don’t improve the current UX maturity level what problem we might face in future.

How to establish a perfect balance between the UX work I was doing for my team and the UX maturity improvement action plan in terms of time, workload, effort, and so on?

My approach: “As previously stated, I worked closely with various stakeholders to understand their priorities and objectives, and then I aligned with my UX stagey plan, which I found to be the best way to prioritize my work and make it easier for me, and as a result, all team members are aligned with my UX maturity improvement action plan.”

We found that we had gone to the Emergent level after the assessment.

When the same Developer (or my team) says,

Before: “Udit, I don’t think our stakeholders will enjoy this design/design approach,”

After: “Udit, our research data shows that users dislike this design/design approach.”

I know I’ve succeeded!!!

The Take-Away

  1. High UX maturity = Lower business risk.
  2. This knowledge could serve as a guide for you as you explore how to implement it in your organization.
  3. Because each company has its own culture, you may need to tweak some of the elements to fit your needs.
  4. The acronym IPA (I-Identify, P-Plan, and A-Action) stands for “I-Identify, P-Plan, and A-Action,” and it will help you keep on track.
  5. Regardless of the level, you are UX maturity is a never-ending process (either to improve or maintain the highest level)
  6. Start with your team, then share what you’ve learned and assist other teams in improving their UX maturity. This way, you’ll be able to have an impact at the organizational level afterward.