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From Design Systems to DesignOps: Establishing DesignOps at your org

From Design Systems to DesignOps: Establishing DesignOps at your org

This is a talk I gave at Into Design Systems (https://intodesignsystems.com/) in 2022.

Many design system designers and organizers take a natural path into DesignOps. If you're on the fence about going into DesignOps, I cover a few reasons why you might want to try DesignOps. If you start a DesignOps practice, my talk includes lessons learned and top tips for being a DesignOps team of one.

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Michelle Chin

May 24, 2022
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Transcript

  1. From Design Systems to Design Ops Establishing DesignOps at your

    org Michelle Chin Design Advocate @soysaucechin Into Design Systems 2022
  2. I’m at zeroheight now Before, I was at Citrix. Citrix

    allows people to work from anywhere securely Background
  3. Background VP of Design DesignOps Manager Design Management Product Designers

    Researchers Program Managers Head of Research Head of Program Mgmt 2021: Citrix’s Product Design Team
  4. Background My path at Citrix always included Design Ops Product

    designer Design manager DesignOps manager
  5. Should you start doing DesignOps? You might be a good

    fit if you: • Like operationalizing systems and helping build efficiencies • Like seeing your teammates succeed • Like the idea of your customers being your teammates • Want to try a different type of “design”
  6. Lessons learned Navigated a lot of uncharted territory! • 3

    things I wish I did differently - and how you can avoid these mistakes • 5 things I did well - why they worked and top tips
  7. 1. Have leadership level-set with the org Missed opportunity DesignOps

    wasn’t introduced as an official discipline in the org Impact People took this as my personal goal, not as a part of the org’s evolution. • Projects were seen as my personal projects, when they were org-wide initiatives
  8. 1. Have leadership level-set with the org Change Our VP

    explained what DesignOps is in our org. Takeaway • Have your leadership announce “DesignOps” - what it means for your org, you, teammates, etc. • One slide / 30 seconds at an org-wide meeting will make a difference!
  9. 2. Solicit projects based on obvious pain points Missed opportunity

    Projects leadership and I decided on were important, but maybe not the biggest pain points of the org. Impact People felt there were my personal projects, not something addressing their immediate needs.
  10. 2. Solicit projects based on obvious pain points Change Listened

    for the biggest pain points with the org and made them a priority with other initiatives Takeaway • Talk to teammates; collaboratively identify the biggest pain points • Working on these shows you’re working things that impact the team
  11. 3. Give DesignOps a definition Missed opportunity We defined DesignOps

    in terms of projects, but didn’t defined it at a high-level Impact • Teammates made up their own definition of DesignOps • Teammates didn’t always understand how DesignOps was helping them
  12. Change We created a definition of DesignOps to socialize Takeaways

    • Define what DesignOps means for the org in the short term. (It can change!) • Make it easy to remember, e.g., “DesignOps means housekeeping so designers don’t have to.” 3. Give DesignOps a definition
  13. Lessons learned along the way 1. Have leadership level-set with

    the org 2. Solicit projects based on obvious pain points 3. Give DesignOps a definition
  14. 1. Created open lines of communication • You’re working in

    somewhat uncharted territory - people will be just as excited as you! • People have different mental models of DesignOps • They might not fully understand what you’re working on or how you’d doing things • You’re kind of the DesignOps spokesperson - help build that trust and confidence
  15. 1. Created open lines of communication Top tips Communicate as

    much as possible and in different formats • Team meetings • Design reviews • Office hours • Slack
  16. 1. Created open lines of communication Top tips Things that

    seem uninteresting to you, might be very interesting to others!
  17. 1. Created open lines of communication Top tips • Provide

    opportunities for Q&A • Be approachable • Have 1-1s with stakeholders to provide that open line of communication
  18. 2. Experimented by starting small • Scaling something across the

    org can be daunting • It's rare to get things right the first time • Buys you some flexibility
  19. 2. Experimented by starting small Top tips • Create pilots

    where you can. Pilots can scale and people are more OK with pilots. • If you can’t pilot, then get as much feedback as you can (users, stakeholders, peers, etc.)
  20. 3. Created a backlog • People will be inspired and

    want more! • People understand DesignOps in their own special way. ◦ “Doesn’t DesignOps include [random task]?” ◦ “Isn’t [random task] Michelle’s responsibility?” • A backlog can help you and others pace and define the DesignOps practice.
  21. 3. Created a backlog Top tips • Create a shareable

    backlog • Periodically review it
  22. 3. Created a backlog Top tips • Lookout for yourself

    – focus on your goals for the year
  23. 4. Created templates on the fly • I spend a

    lot of time communicating and forging working relationships • Templates can help streamline your workflow • Reusable things include: diagrams, checklists, org charts, meeting note formats, playbooks, presentations, frameworks, etc.
  24. 4. Created templates on the fly Top tips Find anything

    you can reuse; make it reusable for you and others Guide to: Benchmarking Your Design System (InVision)
  25. 4. Created templates on the fly Top tips Find anything

    you can reuse; make it reusable for you and others Managing Chaos: Digital Governance by Design (Welchman) Policies Strategies Standards Company policies: Legal, accessibility, etc. Our 2021 goals, approach Governance processes; component usage guidelines
  26. 4. Created templates on the fly Top tips Iterate and

    evolve, then share templates so others can benefit, too
  27. 4. Created templates on the fly Top tips Have a

    collection of assets to quickly jump from.
  28. 4. Created templates on the fly Top tips They don’t

    have to be masterpieces - scrappy is fine!
  29. 5. Articulated DesignOps wins You’ll be DesignOps’s biggest advocate -

    don’t stay quiet Top tips • Mention the impact you’re making (quantitatively and qualitatively) • Think creatively on how you can showcase your work (road shows, status updates, org-wide meetings) • Celebrate DesignOps wins with the team
  30. 5. Articulated DesignOps wins VP of Design DesignOps Manager Design

    Management Product Designers Researchers Program Managers Head of Research Head of Program Mgmt 2021: Citrix’s Product Design Team Head of DesignOps
  31. 5. Articulated DesignOps wins Impact • Showed the value of

    DesignOps to establish it as a discipline • Able to tackle a lot more • Can specialize in various aspects of DesignOps
  32. Thanks The full DesignOps Starter Kit: bit.ly/design-ops-starter-kit LinkedIn: michelletchin Twitter:

    @soysaucechin Talk to me directly: bit.ly/zheroes-slack UX IRL - a podcast about UX in real life and at work