Once you’re seen as the “accessibility cops” teams will actively seek to avoid you.
It’s better to let leadership be the enforcer, allowing your relationship with product teams to be of a helpful and resourceful nature.
Follow escalation procedures
Escalation is not about getting someone in trouble. It’s about formulating a plan to bring a product into compliance.
Escalation will take different forms depending on your enterprise’s structure and processes, but will generally involve the following steps.
1. Document the issue
If you can’t answer all three of these questions, you haven’t gathered enough information to escalate the issue.
- What’s wrong
- Why it’s a problem
- How to fix it
A team is failing to prioritize issues for remediation. It’s a problem because they are far below their compliance target with 12 high severity issues and many medium issues. To fix it, they need to remediate 3 issues per sprint to meet their target by the end of quarter.
A QA tester consistently creates false positives while at the same time missing legitimate issues. It’s a problem because they’re confusing developers and wasting time. To fix it, the tester needs additional training or reassignment.
A team of developers explain the product owner won’t give them time to test their code. It’s a problem because they consistently introduce severe issues. To fix it, the product owner needs to include capacity for proper QA processes.
2. Inform the accessibility team
Sync this documentation and plan with the rest of the accessibility team.
This is important because a product owner may reach out to another accessibility coach seeking a preferential response. Everyone must communicate a consistent message about the escalation.
3. Communicate to relevant leadership
It may take a while for leadership to respond and for action to ensue. Keep in mind, leadership is also trying to maintain a good relationship with product teams, so allow them the space to do their job.
- Deliver the documentation to the product team’s leadership
- Determine what the opportunities are for fixing issues
- Determine a timeframe to follow up
4. Follow up as promised
When you set a date to follow up on an issue, set reminders or even a backstop meeting at the agreed upon date.