Design Ops

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What is Design Ops?

Design Ops is about optimizing processes, work culture, and design craft to improve the value and impact of design.

At its core, it addresses the following topics:
• Growing and developing design teams.
•  Hiring people with the right skills and attitudes
• Establish efficient ways of working
• Improve the quality and impact of design work

When Design Ops is working well, designers are concerned with designing because the processes are optimized to the point where they no longer need to be concerned with the processes.

The Design Ops Menu

Nielsen Norman Group defined the Design Ops Menu and I think it explains very well, which topics are included in Design Ops:

How We Work Together

DesignOps helps us plan for how we:

  • Organize: How do we structure our teams, and build the right team?
  • Collaborate: How do we create environments and gatherings that enable effective communication?
  • Humanize: How do we ensure that hiring, onboarding, and professional-development practices treat employees like humans first?
How We Get Our Work Done

DesignOps helps us plan for how we:

  • Standardize: How do we facilitate design quality through consistent toolsets and processes?
  • Harmonize: How do we share and expand design intelligence so that we all work from the same shared understanding and build common ground?
  • Prioritize: How do we make decisions about what projects to work on, and when to work on them?
How Our Work Creates Impact

Finally, DesignOps can help us think about how to:

  • Measure: How do we make design accountable by defining and measuring design quality?
  • Socialize: How we educate others on the role and value of design?
  • Enable: How do we cultivate the understanding and use of design activities, even by those outside of the design team.

Do I need Design Ops in my company?

Starting at a size of ten designers working together, I would recommend establishing Design Ops processes. Nothing is more ineffective than a team that is not well orchestrated. It's actually good to compare to a band. When two or maybe five musicians play together, everything is manageable and everything can still be handled well by yourself, but when ten musicians play together, you need someone to stand on the outside and keep an overview (conductor).

If, all the designers are busy working productively themselves - who takes care of the processes? Who takes care of the tooling? Who takes care of optimizing the meeting structures? All this and much more (see above) is done by someone who deals with Design Ops.

I enjoyed working successfully at ImmoScout24 as Design Ops Lead and we increased the effectiveness and motivation of the design team in a short time, measurably increasing the quality of the work and the satisfaction of the users.

If you need support or advice on Design Ops, please feel free to contact me.

Let’s create something cool together.

Get in touch today and let's make an impact together.
+49 151 65196328
Berlin / Brandenburg
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