New DesignOps Kickoff Options

Dave Malouf
Feb 4 · 3 min read

I have taught the “Elements of DesignOps” workshop now 6 times in 5 countries in the last 3 months. I’ve taught it a total of 11 times in total in 3 more countries. Through this experience I have had the pleasure to listen to people who are passionately trying to figure out how they can solve a host of problems that genuinely keep their design organizations from maximizing, the potential value they could generate for their sponsor organizations.

For the last 7 or so workshops, I would start the workshop asking attendees, “Why are you here?” “What problem(s) are you trying to solve?”. We then affinitized them into categories that we then aggregated across all of the attendees. Almost invariably some major themes appeared again and again.

  • How do I convince my managers that this is worthwhile?
  • How do I measure my design operations practice?
  • How can I get dev & design collaborating better?
  • How do I scale my team quickly?

There were a few others, I could call out, but the one that occurred the most was …

So with this learning in mind I believe I have come up with 2 new packages to help design managers and their teams set up a design operations (designOps) practice. In other places on this publication I have described well what I believe is the scope and value of DesignOps. But for here, I will simply say the value of having a DesignOps practice is increasing the value of your design team through better recruitment and people management along with optimized tools and workflow. This all needs to be supported with empowering governance and business operations.

The Plans

Smaller effort: DOaaS (DesignOps as a Service)

Your design organization is smaller (< 20 designers) and so your DesignOps and Practice Mngt needs don’t require a full-time DesignOps leader (yet). You can hire me on a retainer basis to do the following.

Short term (1–3months)

  • Evaluate current operations and practice
  • Envision long term vision for your operations and practice
  • Create a roadmap and execution plan

Long term (4–8months)

Execute the plan thru coaching design team leadership & members

  • Design Recruitment > Onboarding protocols for better, more diverse, and higher quality hiring.
  • Create a career path matrix
  • Working with cross-functional partners to evaluate and revise product lifecycle management to help the organization better find insights and apply them through better more holistic and strategic design.
  • Create a job description for a future full-time hire.

Even longer term (6+ months)

  • If required, coach new DesignOps Leader(s)

Larger Effort: Contract DesignOps Leader

You have a larger organization and so full-time attention is most likely required ASAP as you have real pains that your design organization and most likely your partners are noticing. Solutions also need to happen faster and require deeper focus, and better relationship building.

To do this requires someone to be a full-time hire, to kick off a thorough discovery of your design operations and make a complex strategic plan.

What if I don’t know what I need?

Of course, you might not know what you need. You might need help just to figure out what is the right path for you. My existing discovery and planning sessions can be done in 1 week or 1 month depending on your time/resource availability as well as the size and context of your organization (e.g. is your team distributed/remote? Or is your team spread across business units?)

Feel free to contact me to learn more about how I can help you to get the most value out of your design practice.

Dave Malouf

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Dave Malouf is a design leader who helps teams provide the greatest value to their customers and host organizations.