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FORGING ROCK SOLID Design Disciplines Laura Van Doore

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Looking at design cultures through the lens of: SaaS & Startups Large Enterprise Agency Government @lauravandoore

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Managing Designers is hard. @lauravandoore

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A quick look at design team models DESIGN HISTORY LESSON @lauravandoore

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Centralised Teams • The ‘Agency’ model • Designers work in one team in shared space. • Other teams approach the central design team with projects • Great for creating a strong design disciplines, but other parts of the product delivery cycle can suffer. @lauravandoore

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Decentralised Teams • The ‘Agile’ approach • Each designer is assigned to a cross-functional team • Designers have great autonomy, but it can be challenging to develop their skills further • Designers can feel isolated and disconnected from their peers @lauravandoore

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Hybrid Teams • The ‘Blended’ model • Designers are embedded in agile teams, but regularly return to a central ‘design guild’ • Benefits from cross-functional collaboration, but retains a strong sense of design culture @lauravandoore

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• Aligned with agile delivery methods
 Designers working within delivery teams to shape outcomes • Better communication, faster product development
 Less chance of communication breakdowns, and bottlenecking • No ‘us vs them’
 Fosters a collaborative culture across disciplines to build great products The Benefits of cross-functional teams @lauravandoore

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Cross-functional teams EXPECTATIONS REALITY @lauravandoore

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Challenges of managing designers in cross-functional teams @lauravandoore

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Isolating Designers @lauravandoore

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Isolating designers
 Designers have more autonomy, but less support & guidance to turn to when they need it, and less development/progression opportunities.
 The Challenges @lauravandoore

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Generalist Fever @lauravandoore

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Generalist Fever
 In cross-functional teams, all designers tend to be treated as if they have perfectly matching skill sets
 • How can we utilise design specialisations?
 Designers will have different strengths & weaknesses, but how can you benefit from these if no one works together? 
 The Challenges @lauravandoore

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Inconsistent Outputs @lauravandoore

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Inconsistent Deliverables
 Since output from designers can vary radically from one designer to the next, no one really knows what to expect from a designer in their cross-functional team. 
 The Challenges @lauravandoore

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Designers feel outnumbered @lauravandoore

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Designers feel outnumbered
 It can be exhausting for designers to be the solo design & user advocate in their delivery team. Engineering priorities can easily overtake UX priorities 
 The Challenges @lauravandoore

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Drawing inspiration from Ancient Greek Military strategy ACTUAL HISTORY LESSON @lauravandoore

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The Spartan Phalanx @lauravandoore

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The Spartan Phalanx • Forms a ‘wall of shields’ • Fought in formation in a highly organised and disciplined manner • Each Spartan uses his shield to protect the man to his left • Codified, streamlined battle training @lauravandoore

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GETTING STARTED WITH A Design Guild @lauravandoore

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The things you’ll need • Your design team • A dedicated time slot each week to meet together

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Codify Together #1 @lauravandoore

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The Idea: Set aside one day every 6 months for designing the way you work together. Codify Together @lauravandoore

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Codify Together • Uniformity vs fluidity
 Decide as a team what should be locked in & where there’s some flexibility. 
 E.g. At Fathom, we require Sketch for high fidelity UI, but wireframes & prototypes can be designed in your tool of choice. @lauravandoore

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Codify Together • Templates and guides for common UX deliverables
 As a team, design the best possible templates for Personas, Empathy Maps, Journey Maps, and other common design deliverables your team produces. This saves time from everyone creating their own versions, standardises the outputs, and helps newly onboard designers get productive as fast as possible. @lauravandoore

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Design Pairing #2 @lauravandoore

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The Idea: Instead of having one designer on 100% of one project, split two designers 50% across two projects. Design Pairing @lauravandoore

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Design Pairing The Reality: • More design iteration, happening at a faster cadence • Two designers will continually challenge each others concepts until they are solid • Work doesn’t grind to a halt if someone gets ill • Benefits from cross-pollination @lauravandoore

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A Book Apart club #3 @lauravandoore

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The Idea: Reading the same short book, and discussing it as a group a month later. A Book Apart club @lauravandoore

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The Reality: Realising way too late that everyone in our team had different tolerances for reading. A Book Apart club @lauravandoore

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A Book Apart club Failure @lauravandoore

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Pitch & Enrich #4 @lauravandoore

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The Idea: Each member pitches their latest design concepts to the group. 
 The group offers constructive criticism & tries to ‘enrich’ the design further. Pitch & Enrich @lauravandoore

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The Reality: • More robust design choices • Better presentation skills • Support, guidance and validation for designers throughout their design process • Identify early when experiences are feeling inconsistent Pitch & Enrich @lauravandoore

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Universal Design
 Presentations #5 @lauravandoore

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The Idea: Read & research a principle outlined in the book 
 ‘Universal Principles of Design’ 1 week later, give a 10 minute interactive presentation to the rest of the design guild. Universal Design Presentations @lauravandoore

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Universal Design Presentations The Reality: A complete success. @lauravandoore

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BENEFITS: • Improved team presentation and public speaking skills. • Challenged designers to present concepts creatively & persuasively. • All designers became fluent across a standard set of principles and terminology. Universal Design Presentations @lauravandoore

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Codify Together 1 Design Pairing A Book(club) Apart Pitch & Enrich Universal Design Presentations 2 3 4 5 @lauravandoore

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Don’t forget to take stock @lauravandoore

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Don’t forget to take stock Regularly ask your designers what they need out of their guild time. @lauravandoore

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Crafting a ‘Design Phalanx’ ? ? ? ? @lauravandoore

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Crafting a ‘Design Phalanx’ Core Design Principles Codified Deliverables Discipline Strengthening Design Pairing (No lone wolves) @lauravandoore

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Thanks Laura Van Doore @lauravandoore