Developing standards, especially at a large company, can be challenging and politically charged. Product management teams can resist changes for many reasons including:
- An installed base that is accustomed to the current UI.
- The time and cost to make updates.
- A focus on new features rather than revisiting what has already been developed.
Further, the need for consistency across products (users may own more than one product), as well as technology changes, platform requirements and user research results, can dictate a need for corporate standards.
At Cisco, I was asked to develop and evangelize UX standards for 40 business units. Our approach was to begin with 3 business units. We developed standards, tested them, got testimonials from users and then made the business case based on efficiency and time to market. As our standards started to show impressive gains, additional business units began adopting them. To better manage our standards in cross-functional teams, we established councils that provided oversight. After 2.5 years, 27 of 40 business units were active partners in our standards development.