What are the enabling factors in the DesignOps role?


DesignOps role is to maximize value generation for the business, the design teams, and the design leaders by creating efficiencies and optimizing end-to-end design processes. If its goals were important in the pre-pandemic world, the pandemic has hugely increased organizations’ need for flexibility and agility to effectively cope with the new WFH (Working From Home) situation.

The sudden disruption in teams’ operations and ways of working have been a significant challenge for most organizations, except for those companies which implemented a successful DesignOps role before the pandemic hit. The organizations with mature and ready DesignOps teams have adapted faster and better to the new ways of working, minimizing disruption and ensuring continuity even through the pandemic.

Yet the value of DesignOps is way more significant than supporting organizations’ productivity during exceptional times: DesignOps is a transformational discipline that can and has a substantial impact on organizations’ capacity to deliver innovation.

Let’s discuss a few enabling factors in the DesignOps role –

1. Buy-in from senior leadership
A design leader can only do so much on their own within an organization. At some point, getting executive buy-in becomes a necessity. Design leaders will then need to win over their executives by showing how their UX design ideas strengthen the organization.

In the DesignOps community, most of the members from large enterprises such as Salesforce, Airbnb, IBM have seen the growing support of senior executives for the DesignOps role. To know more about it, read here.

DesignOps uses data to tell compelling stories of Outcomes, Measurements & ROIs. This helps push the executives to see the value of design thinking across business units — not just on the design team.

Communicating early, using data, and incorporating techniques to weave stakeholder feedback early in the process will help ensure that every digital initiative can deliver a superior customer experience without compromising business goals.

Using data & insights, DesignOps can play a crucial role in communicating the value of design to get buy-in from executive leadership.

2. Building cross-collaboration relationships
As design becomes more embedded in every part of a business, the need for cross-functional collaboration becomes increasingly important. Tools can certainly help, but good communication, feedback loops, and strong leadership should be the foundation on which you build relationships. DesignOps plays a pivotal role in building a culture of cross-functional collaboration to keep up with the pace of change demanded by business and user needs.

Design is a shared responsibility, and an effective DesignOps team is critical for efficacious cross-functional collaboration because it unlocks potential learning opportunities which wouldn’t have been considered otherwise.

3. Ever-evolving DesignOps Community
While Design teams have been growing and scaling fast in the past few years, the designOps has also seen an increase in the number of design-related roles and development in the number of operational models applied to run the Design function. As this demand increases, a small community of DesignOps leaders evolves very rapidly.

As it turns out, one of the secrets to building healthy, people-centered teams is to leverage the power of DesignOps. From hosting gatherings and lectures to publishing educational and personal perspectives, efforts to contribute to this creative community in meaningful ways help people connect, learn, and grow together.

We’ve seen how the positive and lasting effects of strong DesignOps communities can help our team become more connected, creative, and inclusive.

Data & Insights → Leadership Buy-in

Shared Design Responsibility → Culture of Collaboration

Self-evolving designOps community → Connected, Creative & inclusive product teams.

Prioritizing DesignOps will radically improve the value of your entire design team’s output. Be sure to measure as you go, adjust as you learn, and be as inclusive as possible when increasing the scale and distribution of your operations.