With the rise of thick clients and reusable web component frameworks the need for frontend developers and UX specialists to get along is at an all time high.

There are many reasons why this partnership is fraught with peril.

A lot can be done to help improve things.

This is not just a question of ability and professionalism. This is an issue of team structure, agreement, alignment, forming social contracts and handling feedback well.

Why does it suck so bad?

The thirst for conflict comes from many angles and they cut deep.

Culture, training, tooling, language, goals, growth, ownership, accountability, knowledge, velocity, deliverables, artifacts, version control, form, functionality, quality metrics, scheduling, pain points, bottlenecks and workflow are key strategies that are often diverging across these two arenas.

Quite simply, it’s not an easy problem to solve.

Horizontal separation along skillset layers leads to a long term conflict of interests.

After trying a kaleidoscope of different team structures and workflow strategies I’ve found the following helps and scales well (even with large numbers of teams).

Team cross functionality

When it comes to forming a social contract there aren’t many better tools than “bread and butter” Scrum.

A talented cross functional scrum team with a PO, a UX specialist, a front end developer and a tester will naturally find a way to work improvements.

The beautiful moments that make up a regular scrum cadence lead to greater learning, trust and collaboration.

Finding new ways to help a cross functional team take ownership of UX consistency, artistic impression, customer desire, architecture, infrastructure, delivery, quality, encapsulation and reusability makes a difference.

Break down those skillset silos. Embrace autonomy. Allow for failure and learning. Trust your delivery teams. Make the most of regular horizontal skillset sessions.

Unite the family.