2020_DO_banner

DesignOps

Project overview

DesignOps is about empowering designers to do their best work, to amplify the impact of design at scale. This case study details DesignOps initiatives that I've spearheaded within various product organizations.

Continuous improvement

It's every designer's responsibility to support their peers, and to optimize design processes for greater impact. As my product organization evolves, I'm constantly looking for ways to strengthen it.

DesignOps

2020_DO_banner

Project overview

DesignOps is about empowering designers to do their best work, to amplify the impact of design at scale. This case study details DesignOps initiatives that I've spearheaded within various product organizations.

Continuous improvement

It's every designer's responsibility to support their peers, and to optimize design processes for greater impact. As my product organization evolves, I'm constantly looking for ways to strengthen it.

HMH user testing process

Throughout 2017, I spearheaded an effort to overhaul the HMH Design Studio's in-person user testing processes. At the time, the studio was working on ~10 large-scale projects across multiple distributed teams. Working collaboratively with cross-functional peers, I led the effort to define and formally document in-person testing procedures for our global studio.

Design organization audit

The first step in improving upon any large-scale organizational process is to understand the current implementation. Working with design leadership, I conducted an audit to better understand how our studio was already doing in-person testing across each of our offices. This exercise revealed significant inconsistencies in testing techniques and methodologies. The need to standardize became clear.

Defining a new process

Speaking with designers throughout our organization helped clarify how our processes had become so disjointed. Over the course of several sprints, I worked with other design team leads to define new processes and build new resources for our studio, some of which are shown here. Thorough documentation and clear, studio-wide communication were critical in rolling out new testing procedures across 10 studio locations.

Building new partnerships

Strategic partnerships with technologically adept organizations are key to the new testing processes. I helped forge the initial testing partnership with Full Sail University in Orlando, allowing HMH to leverage their advanced technology (such as eye-tracking equipment and advanced testing facilities) to benefit students everywhere. This helped establish a framework for future testing partnerships.

CloudBees design principles

In 2019, I collaborated with a fellow designer to write operational principles for the growing design team at CloudBees. The team had experienced rapid growth throughout the past year, and it became clear that formal principles would be beneficial for our evolving team culture. Writing these was a fun challenge!

Design is for everyone  🙌🏽

Every person has the ability to solve design problems, make improvements, and contribute to CloudBees design processes and outcomes.

  Embrace cross-functional collaboration in solving design problems.
  Recognize that all viewpoints are relevant to the design process.
  Empathize with the needs of cross-functional counterparts.
  Practice conversational and workflow transparency to encourage collaboration.

Practice continuous everything  🔄

We employ a continuous workflow methodology inspired by DevOps and enable users to do the same.

  Continuously iterate on our products, processes, documentation, and internal guidelines.
  Strive to consistently transition new projects from ideation to execution and delivery.

Foster flexibility  💪

We demonstrate a willingness to evolve based on feedback.

  Approach things with an unbiased and neutral perspective.
  Seek customer feedback.
  When making decisions, consider customer experience.
  Show a willingness to explore, experiment, provide options, and change course.

Set expectations  🗣

It should be clear what success looks like for each project and where the resources and steps are to achieve it.

  Provide easy-to-understand resources and steps to gently guide Bees, stakeholders, and users and minimize confusion.

Respect the data  📊

Our decisions are informed by data we gather and elevate for greater visibility.

  Consistently seek out user-provided feedback and factual evidence.
  Utilize data to identify and back up solutions.
  When data is inaccessible or insufficient, take the necessary steps to unblock that data.

Embrace efficiency  ⏱

We show respect for people’s time.

  Automate common and repetitive processes to free time for higher-level work.
  Be clear and concise, handle errors respectfully.
  When pointing out issues, always offer potential solutions.

Hold each other accountable  🤝

We expect each other to own their role and trust each other to be accountable in the responsibilities and tasks that are undertaken.

  We all answer to one another.
  We all hold each other accountable to delivering results, solutions, and guidance.
  All staff, no matter the position are empowered to remind others of their responsibility to the organization.

We employ a continuous workflow methodology inspired by DevOps and enable users to do the same.

Wider organizational impact

Within CloudBees, the new design principles inspired some cross-functional peers to develop similar guidelines for their teams. I've received regular feedback that team principles have proven especially useful in communicating company culture to new Bees. Executive leadership was also inspired, elevating the principles to become The CloudBees Way, and formalizing them as operational guidelines for the entire company.

© Joseph Brueggen 2020