I've spent 15 years researching and designing products and services for academic, commercial and government clients. I've worked with small research teams on demonstration projects that were never meant to be shipped (but were sometimes shipped anyway), and with large distributed teams of hundreds of developers building production systems to tight requirements and deadlines. No matter the size of the team or the scope of its mission, and despite everyone's best intentions, I've seen the same pattern emerge, time after time: software that delivers the UX equivalent of a Rolls Royce in the driveway of a shack with a leaking roof and no heat or running water. Software that serves steak to two-percent of its users and leaves everybody else with sawdust and larvae. I hate it when that happens, and my practice as a designer has evolved into doing everything I can to make sure it doesn't happen on my watch. I'm not the innovative designer with the glamorous new idea*. I'm the bread-and-butter, roof-over-your-head, shoes-on-your feet designer who is constantly harping on the five- to ten-percent of the system that people rely on to get their work done. I'm all about an incremental, expedient, pragmatic trek along our UX roadmap, with many stops along the way to bargain and trade for anything that can get us a little closer to a great experience where it counts for our users.
* If you need one of those -- and I think every design team should have at least one wild-eyed impractical dreamer -- I can put you in touch with some great ones.