Implementing a Design Engine P2.
BUILDING SCAR TISSUE
The first challenge In Part 1 of Implementing a Design Engine, we took a brief look at why it’s important to build a design engine in your organization and how to deal with the cost to people, time and processes.
Challenge #2: Implementing a design engine will tear through all layers of your organization
People can reject new processes, and anyone that don’t embrace establishing a design engine throughout all the organization in a self-less way will veto the success of everyone else on your team championing to make it work.
I’ve had to quarterback a lot of these scenarios at small 5 person startups, 20 people companies, 100+ people orgs, and executive teams at fortune 500 companies.
Solution: create organizational scar tissue by embracing the challenges of growth as part of the work. Disruption at our organizations happens often:
- with a new hire on-boarding
- new client relationships
- when the tools we use change
- when our current projects and company goals suddenly shift
- or when we fail at something in an epic way
These disruptions temporarily slow down our processes, re-work them, and leave better, more efficient ones in their place. I’d like to think that our awareness and investment into these disruptions is what creates high-performing organizations that operate with a balanced cadence.
Some examples of disruption:
- recognizing the need for extended on-boarding and support for new team members.
- creating written standard operations for all internal processes, created and owned by members of our own team.
- the creation of project templates to standardize all projects types: from business development, sales, marketing, workshops, to design, to development.
- recognizing overall project health as an issue, and creating a process for mid-project check-ins and pauses initiated by our internal team in a standardized way.
This results in an increase of our cadence
- Faster time to performance: we decrease the time employees start to create full impact from 6 months to 90 days.
- Distributed management of projects and processes.
- Consistent project schedules and processes, and the ability stand up projects very quickly without impacting ramp-up time, strategy to design to development to client hand offs. We de-risk the impact on margins.
- a healthier team: less anxiety about looming deadlines and changing requirements. Instead there’s a shift in ownership of requirements from product management and clients to the production teams who are responsible for self-identifying and taking control of their workflows, increasing communication, and stamping deadlines for change.
The next article will wrap up our introduction to building a design organization by outlining Challenge #3, Teams and Goals.
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