At Redgate we place a significant emphasis on the growth and development of our employees. This investment in folks’ progression is, I believe, one of the main reasons why we continue to attract and retain some amazing people. Alongside a compelling mission, strong culture and ethics, individual’s are highly motivated where there is a genuine sense that the company cares about and is committed to their growth.

Over the past couple of years, we’ve followed through on that commitment by supporting and better enabling folks in our Engineering Division to understand where, how and what they need to do (and…

Image by wirestock courtesy of

In this article, I’m revisiting my earlier leadership series to cover the topic of belonging and loneliness in design leadership. It’s something we’ve likely all experienced at one time or another and is born out of a disconnect between you, as a leader, and those we work with.

As Ryan Rumsey talks about in this Twitter thread:

“We need to talk more openly about the loss involved in moving into management and the loneliness that loss generates.”

Illustration of man and women piecing together an idea.

For those working in highly agile development organisations, there remains to be pockets of misalignment or certainly a misperception that designing ahead of the team is idealistic or worse still anti-Agile. The idea that prefacing delivery with some work upfront to explore and architect the desired experience will somehow fly in the face of agility. Why is that?

I believe this misperception represents the remnants of the days of waterfall and the hangover of the era of Agile that is yet to embrace the idea that a plan is not a specification and the absence of a plan — or…

Illustration of democratic voting process.

This is a short article expressing my views on design collaboration and why collaborative approaches shouldn’t necessarily be democratic ones. I’m writing this with a bias towards design and design decisions, but I believe the same is true of every other aspect of product development.

Firstly, don’t get me wrong, I 100% subscribe to a view that design that is collaborative, cross-functional, and is best practiced as a “team sport”. Whilst I don’t subscribe to the rhetoric that everyone is a designer, I do firmly believe everyone can be a design thinker!

So why then am I anti a more…

Just over two years ago we introduced Product Trios, as a collaboration, decision-making leadership model for Redgate. This was our equivalent of what other organisations refer to as an EPD model (Engineering-Product-Design) for cross-functional leadership. Two years on, this model is now fully adopted as part of our divisional playbook and has been rebranded as “Product Leadership Teams” (or PLTs for short).

As a reminder, PLTs are leadership teams typically consisting of a Product Manager, Product Designer and Technical Lead, who collectively form the core of leadership for a cross-functional product team.

Illustration of Product Leadership Team (designer, product manager and technical lead) as part of wider cross-functional team.
Product Leadership Team (PLT) model.

We believed then and still believe now that…

Design Leadership Series

Productivity illustration
Productivity illustration courtesy of upklay.

Productivity ≠ Speed

There is a lot of rhetoric around productivity, particularly during the current climate. Whether we lead designers, engineers or product people, we’re all likely governed by the same overriding drive to nurture and maintain a “productive” workforce. This matra compels those in leadership roles to look beyond short-term hacks and quick fixes, in the search for more radical approaches to increasing our teams’ productivity.

Generally speaking, who wouldn’t want their teams to be more productive? The benefits are fairly obvious. …

Courtesy of

Over recent years I’ve become fascinated by the topic of organisational design. Once, I would have considered this a product of some fairly arbitrary decisions, driven either by abstract concepts of organisational structure or as a necessary consequence of managerial logistics. Now, I see this (organisational design) as a series of conscious and intentional design decisions that actively shape a team’s behaviours and interactions; forming part of a wider system of value creation.

Experiments with org design

Embedded Model

Over the past year or so we’ve experimented how we organise the Design function here at Redgate. We’ve successfully operated an embedded model for many years that…

Illustration of folks assembling a jigsaw puzzzle.

Understanding the domain in which we operate is a big part of how we succeed as designers. To relate to and understand the worlds of our users, we have to have a good appreciation of the wider context in which they operate.

How do our products and services fit into their personal or professional lives?

But what happens when the domain in which we find ourselves is complex, hard to navigate, and harder still to relate to? Can we empathise with and understand the needs and motivations of our users without ourselves becoming true domain experts? …

As designers, we talk a lot about the impact our work has on the customers we serve and the businesses we are part of. Not only do we want our work to have purpose and meaning, but we also want it to have a strong, tangible effect on the things we’re trying to change. We want to see tractable results from our efforts and to be able to describe, and better still measure, the contributions of Design in a system of value creation.

So, how can you as a designer have more impact through your work?

Reflecting on my own…

Illustration of a group of folks asking lots of questons.

Developing a shared understanding

Starting a new initiative can be hard. Even with a well-structured kickoff (assuming all projects/initiatives start out that way) it is very likely that many important questions, that would otherwise help frame and scope any effort, will often go unanswered. The team, including your designers, may walk away with very different interpretations of the whos, whys and whats; where the likelihood is that what is unsaid is otherwise implicit and assumed.

As a result, once the project is underway and the team is delivering what seems like sensible and reasonable things, it’s easy to think that everyone is well-aligned and…

Matthew Godfrey

Head of Product Design

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store