How to grow governance in small design teams

Challenges faced by small design teams

Small teams face a unique set of challenges when it comes to design governance. With limited resources and personnel, they often struggle to strike a balance between innovation and efficiency. One of the primary challenges faced by small businesses is the lack of specialized roles such as DesignOps managers or UX researchers who can help streamline processes.

Let’s understand some of the common challenges and a few trends that small teams face:

  • Upskilling &  retaining talent - 57% of employees leave their jobs because they feel undervalued or unappreciated.  whopping 87% of millennials say professional development is important in a job. But here's where things get tricky - only 40% of employers offer formalized training programs. So how do we tackle these challenges? It starts with creating meaningful connections between management and employees, offering clear paths for growth and development, investing in a positive company culture, and prioritizing work/life balance. Trust us when we say: happy employees = retained talent!

  • Empowerment  - Studies say that 90% of company leaders cite data literacy as a driver for overall success. However, only 25% of employees say they feel confident working with it. Considering the self-service nature of ad hoc analysis, the lack of knowledge or confidence can present a big challenge. Paired with the lack of general data knowledge, it is also possible to face challenges with employees that are simply not tech-driven or process-driven. Teams need to start empowering employees by giving them the right tools & well-defined processes.

  • Challenges of remote working - Despite all the perks remote workers enjoy, a number of challenges arise from working out of the office. According to Buffer’s 2019 State of Remote Work report, the most common problem remote workers have is unplugging after work – an issue 22% of respondents said they experience.

Loneliness is the second most common problem (19%) while collaboration (17%), distractions at home (10%), time zones (8%), and staying motivated (8%) are all issues that affect remote workers and the companies they work for.

Meanwhile, a separate study conducted by Hubstaff finds the biggest challenges for businesses with remote teams include communication, scheduling, tracking performance, and language/cultural barriers. Another challenge it mentions is building and maintaining trust between remote team members – an issue cited in multiple other reports, including this piece published by Workana.

  • Centralized knowledge repository - A 2020 report from Deloitte found organizational silos to be the top Knolwedge Management-related challenge teams face today.

From isolated tools and teammates to siloed workflows and info, it all serves to block the free flow of knowledge within your organization.Moreover, due to time constraints and workflow pressures, smaller businesses tend to prioritize short-term goals over long-term ones. As a result, there's little room for experimentation or exploring new ideas that could lead to more significant breakthroughs down the line.

Since small organizations depend heavily on their customers' satisfaction levels for survival - every effort needs to be made towards ensuring customer-centricity remains at the forefront while juggling all these other challenges simultaneously.


DesignOps role in small teams

In a small organization, having efficient processes and workflows are very critical. A well-defined DesignOps strategy can help ensure that all members of the team understand their roles and responsibilities while promoting collaboration among them.

DesignOps can assist in optimizing people, projects, tools, or budgets -  by identifying areas of reducing costs or risks without compromising on quality. They take into account factors such as project timelines, resource allocation, and potential roadblocks to create a streamlined process that ensures projects run smoothly from start to finish.

DesignOps plays an essential role for small businesses looking to stay ahead of the competition by implementing innovative design strategies within strict budgetary constraints. By giving every member of a team clear guidance around their roles & responsibilities along with providing comprehensive feedback throughout each project stage - they make sure everyone stays aligned towards success!

Here we have mapped how small teams are positioned on the design maturity & size of the organization. As you see as the companies mature and as the size grows, DesignOps starts playing a very critical role.



Growing design governance using DesignOps

Design governance in a small organization can be challenging because there are often limited resources and a smaller team to implement and enforce design standards. However, there are some steps you can take to help grow design governance in your small organization:

Establish a design system: Create a centralized system of guidelines, patterns, and components that can be used across all design projects. This will help ensure consistency and efficiency in design, while also making it easier for new team members to get up to speed.

Define design roles and responsibilities: Clarify the roles and responsibilities of designers and non-designers alike in the design process. This will help ensure that everyone understands their role in maintaining design quality.

Foster a culture of collaboration: Encourage collaboration between design and non-design teams to promote design awareness and a shared understanding of design principles.

Upskill employees: Provide training and resources for all employees on design best practices and how to use the design system. This will help ensure that everyone is using the system effectively and consistently.

Establish a review process: Create a process for reviewing and approving all design work to ensure it meets the established design standards. This will help catch any inconsistencies or errors before they are released.

Iterate and improve: Continually review and improve your design system and governance processes based on feedback from users and team members.

By taking these steps, you can help grow design governance in your small organization and ensure that design is an integral part of your organization's success.

Cubyts is built grounds-up to bring process orientation, a culture of collaboration, accountability, and transparency in order to ensure a culture of design governance from the very beginning.

As you work towards growing your team's governance with Cubyts or any other tool, remember to keep an open mind and stay flexible in your approach. What works for one team may not work for another. Stay focused on your goals but be willing to pivot as needed.

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