Business Context

The ability to look for, understand and use the needs and constraints of the business in your work

Business Context

Level 1

Knows how the business operates on a high level as well as their core team metrics, and can use that knowledge in daily decisions, with help.

  • Curiosity and acumen: You make an effort to understand why the business exists, how it makes money and the history to date. You know some top-line numbers pertinent to your team.

  • Balancing needs: You balance the needs of your user with the constraints of the business in several small projects. You're pragmatic in the face of having to find a middle ground.

Level 2

Understands how the business works and the goals of their team. Is able to relate that to their own work.

  • Curiosity and acumen: You have a strong level of knowledge in domains in which you're working within the company (business economics, customers, constraints and processes), and a good understanding outside those areas.

  • Balancing needs: You push for user-focused solutions, with an eye on business needs across several larger projects, possibly taking a lead position. Product and business stakeholders agree you're able to make good tradeoffs based on your knowledge.

Level 3

Is actively finding business insights that they need for their work, using people from outside their team. Helping team-mates to understand the business.

  • Curiosity and acumen: You can explain how the business works, what the strategy is and how that relates to your work, in conversations with stakeholders internally and externally. You seek extra understanding from beyond your team about areas of the business you don't understand.

  • Balancing needs: You use your understanding of both product and business needs, to lead at least one major project with significant stakeholder interest. You're driven to solutions that meet all the required needs.

Level 4

Actively works to understand all aspects of the business. Autonomously looks for data wherever they need to aid their own and their team's understanding. Coaching others in using business needs.

  • Curiosity and acumen: You take significant effort learning about how and why the business functions the way it does. You bring this knowledge into your work, meaning your presentations always account for stakeholder concerns in advance and engender trust. You help your team uncover business insights to use in their work.

  • Balancing needs: You are strategically involved in product and feature definition, using the context that your product or client has to significantly change how the work evolves. You're driven to solutions around difficult project constraints that no-one else has seen.

Level 5

Deeply involved in business strategy. Regularly advocates with business partners for a design process which caters for users, and ensures their team understands the business context in which they're working.

  • Curiosity and acumen: Your knowledge of the business is second to none - a superpower you use to bring greater influence and strategic power to design and your product team. You spot opportunities for product experiences which take advantage of untapped market segments and emergent trends.

  • Balancing needs: You use your understanding to empower and advocate for both business and user needs with demonstrable effects. You help teams move closer to their stakeholders through mutual empathy, encouraging stronger collaboration and better outcomes for all.

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