My manager keeps pushing me to insert myself earlier in the projects to be more conceptual, & I try, but I’m still being brought in late, without basic context from CDs. He says he can talk to them but it’s better if I do. He says he’s always available for support, but when I reach out, he’s impossible to reach. I can’t grow & get promoted without space and support from my team & I don’t want be too aggressive & have that negatively impact how my teammates see me. I feel stuck, any advice?

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I think your boss is right, you have to do for yourself. I am old enough to remember when half of a UX Designer's job was convincing Product and Dev to give us a seat at the table. I also think that if you want to get promoted, you need to prove that you can make a place for yourself in the process.

If you aren't being included in decisions...

- Schedule your own meeting with the PM and Dev leads to go over the issues and discuss what was decided.

- Schedule 1-1s with the PM and Dev lead.

- Schedule a 'brain storming' with the whole team and lead them through writing requirements and UCs, and sketching ideas.

- Create the vision design and schedule meetings with the team to review it. Even if they tell you the design is wrong, you've learned something and the next design will be better.

- Make yourself invaluable. Become an expert on the product and the users. Become someone they WANT to invite to meeting because your insights are valued.


Regardless of experience, sounds like you're blaming everyone for your situation. You don't need anything but yourself and your motivation to get better. Everything else are just excuses. You need stuff, you go get it. No need to be aggressive. Everyone has a personality. The intelligence is finding the best approach for each.


Once a leader told me: don’t convince, but inspire… I think finding purposes of these requirements internally first and deeply understanding why you’re encouraged to do those actions would help you see things differently.


I’d say it’s also very dependent on agency culture, tons of places consider being idea (art directors) first and designers are to execute so it’s definitely easier said than done to come in and throw bunch of ideas for sake of it.
Incentive to do so Must come from cd otherwise you’d always late to the game and feel defeated all the time

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