DesignOps

At its core, DesignOps is about people — making processes and complexities easier for the people working within the system.

DesignOps

At its core, DesignOps is about people — making processes and complexities easier for the people working within the system.
 

As with a lot of things in my career, I realize that I have been practicing and executing DesignOps since before the term was popularized. I'm grateful for all the fumbling and rapid learning I had to do while trying to figure things out. 

Here are some opportunities and processes in place that I either owned or had partial ownership and influence in. I've categorized them into three broad sections that make sense for my brain, but of course, everything is modular and contextual to the people and team.

👥 Collaboration

Or: Ways we work together

Organization

  • Developed a skill matrix to establish a clear framework for individual and team growth, enabling team members to advance in their careers and improve their skills
  • Established aligned measurements (OKRs) for the team, guiding their focus and priorities, and supported team members in setting their own OKRs to drive personal development
  • Led the hiring process by creating a scoring rubric for interviews to ensure consistency and fairness, while also advocating against take-home assignments
  • Streamlined the interview process by developing a structured flow of questions to reduce bias and enhance the candidate experience
  • Organized full-day off-sites for strategic planning, fostering collaboration and innovation, and enabling the team to align on long-term goals and priorities

Ways of Working

  • Established weekly and monthly meet-ups for a distributed team to foster culture
  • Adjusting rituals and meetings based on team feedback to ensure that everybody's voice is heard
  • Bridging gaps between project teams and the design team, and keeping everyone updated to recognize information flow

Processes

  • Established a better onboarding process by facilitating customer journey workshops with the acquisition, people operations, and staffing teams, by identifying gaps and opportunities, and co-creating solutions (hey, exactly like we do for our clients!)

  • Introduced a feedback process in projects for iterative learning and continuous improvements, ensuring that growth and development are at the forefront

  • Infused pre-mortem and post-mortem rituals to allow the team to anticipate and reflect on what's working and what's not

  • Created a framework and templates to allow managers to ask for probation-related feedback for direct reports, overcoming bias and saving time

✏️ Contribution + Craft

Or: Ways we get the work done

Principles & Frameworks

  • Expanding and upskilling team members in a heuristic evalution framework, by introducing quantitative and qualititative scoring, measures, and analysis guidelines, ensuring that the team's methods are robust
  • Introducing the concept and framework of inclusive design, and upskilling the team in making that a consideration and priority when we design
  • Established a framework for getting a pulse-check on the team's well-being while on a project

Tools

  • Evaluating and assessing design and research tools, including running surveys on team's usage and preferences, helping the team to familiarity and mastery of the tools
  • Led a team to the creation of a product design accelerator (design system + frameworks + out-of-the-box journeys and flows), with outcomes of speedier response times to proposals and project work
  • Developing a future roadmap of accelerators for other capabilities, to look forward to impact over time saved
  • Championed the use of Notion to house team documentation, like a shared 'second brain' and having a space where culture is documented

Resourcing

  • Aligning and estimating resources from the team to projects and work streams, ensuring that delivery targets are reached 100% with stretch goals
  • Heavy involvement in sprint planning to allow each team member to grow in strengths and development areas based on their interest and growth areas
  • Rolling out pair design by identifying pairs based on strengths and interests, leveraging on shared outcomes and accountability

 

🎉 Culture

Or: Ways we build a sense of safety and belonging

Community

  • Introduced a Team Directory where everybody gets to know each other a little deeper than the skills we have, ensuring we build a culture that isn't purely about the work we do
  • Celebrating recognitions in unique ways that each team member would enjoy, whether it's curated coffee delivered, or a nice team meal out

Training & Learning

  • Organizing group training around essential topics like design thinking and accessibility 
  • Facilitating playbacks of learnings for the wider team, to ensure that the team learns together
  • Identifying relevant courses and classes for teammates and direct reports, based on their areas of improvements and interests
  • Organizing books in a shared library (hosted on Notion), ensuring that these self-paced learnings are accessible to everyone in the team

Communications

  • Establishing a regular cadence of 1:1s with direct reports and teammates
  • Created a framework to focus 1:1s around authenticity, honesty and openness