As the Head of UX, I was expected to improve the overall design and responsible for improving the team's skills. I also needed to foster more collaboration between all of UX, improve presentation skills, improve collaboration skills, improve leadership skills, and increase confidence of a few other team members. I opportunities to support these improvements with a UX Book Club.
Approach to Book Club
The team read books together, but no one was required to read the entire book.
Everyone on the team signed up to read a chapter of the assigned book, do a 15-minute presentation about the chapter, and then facilitate a 15-minute conversation with the team about how this chapter relates to our work, our products, and/or organization. If someone was not available for book club or had a heavy workload, they were responsible for finding someone to switch weeks.
I let the team pick the first book which I found a bit esoteric without the needed design and Human Factors practical. So I selected the next two books and explained my decision to the team.
Information Dashboard Design: The Effective Visual Communication of Data
Dashboards were a feature that I was engaged in from a product management level, and many of them would be engaged within sprints. I wanted to ensure they had the basics of dashboard design and data visualizations. I also like this book because it covers design principles and some high-level usability principles. The researchers eagerly signed up for the chapters that focused on design, and the designers jumped to the other chapters.
Human Factors for Technical Communicators
The second book I selected was an introduction to Human Factors. I needed to revive and inspire the researchers who had background in cognitive psychology, experimental psychology, and human factors (offline, defense products). I needed to expand the usability knowledge of the designers who had come to UX via Visual Design.
Of course the skills expanded and their work improved, but more importantly their morale improved and relationships blossomed between offices with collaboration happening organically between teams during sprints.
I coached everyone in leading and presenting during their 1:1's. Everyone was exposed to presenting their ideas, hearing other people's ideas, learning to manage our stronger personalities and our "chatty" UXers, and ensuring participation within the conversation.
Although it meant doing some work on their own time, the activity was supported and received well.