Your vision is defined, your mandate is clear, and your team is energized. You’ve captured user needs and business considerations, your detailed design work is underway and focused on meeting these needs and the larger user experience vision. And then circumstances set in as the work continues… new technical constraints, scheduling functionality delivery to meet release cycles, necessary deviations from the vision to meet short-term requirements, scope adjustments, and so much more. As UX practitioners, we often face challenges “keeping the vision alive” as projects get caught up in constraints, details, and politics. But we can’t let those things derail us or take things too far from that solid, long-term vision.

In this talk, we discuss strategies and practical techniques to help teams stay focused on meeting long-term goals, while addressing short-term needs and facing the circumstances and challenges that arise through the design and implementation process. Some examples we show and discuss include: communicating project vision with executives, project leads, team members, and users; reflecting scope and progress; connecting specific features and user stories to larger design goals; and letting people know what to expect and when.

We also explore techniques we use as consultants to prepare the project team to hold the line on needed improvements, advocate for user needs, and build on the “big picture” over the long haul after the UX work is completed. Topics we will cover include: maintaining strategic perspective to support long-term, larger-scale objectives; planting seeds of understanding and ownership at various levels of the organization; and providing practical templates, guidelines, and decision trees to help support expansion and evolution in a way that maintains alignment with the larger intent.