EightShapes
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EightShapes

Measuring Design System Success

Use OKRs to Set Goals & Track Progress

  • Objective: Where do we want to go?
  • Key Result: How will we pace ourselves to see if we are getting there?

Product Adoption

A system’s value is realized when products ship features that use a system’s parts.

Sample Objective

Sample Key Results

  • Initiated Adoption: 100% flagship and secondary products installed the system as an npm dependency and implemented ≥1 core concern — color, icons, buttons, forms, or typography — in ≥1 high-priority product features.
  • Graded Adoption: 100% of flagship products and 50% of secondary products achieve level 3 system adoption (where progression across levels use criteria like what system parts are implemented, coverage across product features and sections, and/or quality/precision of implementation).
  • Commitment to Adopt: Published roadmaps remaining secondary products and ≥5 other products to achieve level 2 adoption.
  • Adoption as Migration/Upgrade: All flagship & secondary products have upgraded to {new system} and no products depend on {old system}.
  • Adoption Age: System version dependencies are no more than 6 months old for flagship products and 12 months old for secondary products

Operating a Systems Team

Sample Objective

  • Effectively operate a stable systems team as a funded concern with regular sponsor participation.

Sample Key Results

  • Capacity: Leadership funds 5 head count (some capacity part-time) as a system team for four consecutive quarterly release cycles.
  • Participation: Team members miss ≤5% of scrums, critiques, planning and review sessions due to conflicting priorities.
  • Productivity: The systems team improves average velocity from 45% to ≥75% with no sprint velocity below 50%.
  • Predictability: The system publishes every minor release on a quarterly basis (or other regular interval) within 48 hours of announced date & time.
  • Sponsor Engagement: Primary sponsors — VP, Design and Director, Platform Front End Engineering — attend ≥ 100% of release planning sessions, ≥ 66% sprint reviews, and ≥ 20% sprint planning sessions.

Cultivating a Community

Sample Objective

Sample Key Results

  • Critiques/Shares: Conduct regular design (10+) and engineering (10+) demos and critique of system topics: ≥ 160 non-system team attendees, in aggregate.
  • Process Development: Document and publish 5 processes for soliciting outside contributions, such as coding style, contribution reviews, & accessibility requirements
  • Authored Doc, Utilized Workflow: Publish documentation composed by 7+ contributors that leverage the system’s editorial workflow.
  • Code: Merge PRs from ≥6 non-systems team contributors.
  • Voluntary Attendance: Community contributors attend regular system team sprint planning and/or critiques: 30 non-system team attendees, in aggregate.
  • Feedback: System investment mentioned positively in ≥10% of employee satisfaction surveys.
  • Collaboration: Active participation in #system-design and #system-engineering Slack channel by ≥ 30 non-system team members.

Monitoring Product Improvement

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A collection of stories, studies, and deep thinking from EightShapes

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Nathan Curtis

Founded UX firm @eightshapes, contributing to the design systems field through consulting and workshops. VT & @uchicago grad.