Design can be a competitive advantage. To deliver great experiences, product teams need to get the design right. Therefore, teams constantly search for ways to streamline the design process to achieve a common goal, like reducing bounce rate or increasing conversions.
DesignOps is the umbrella term for creating effective workflows that help teams build digital products. It’s the operational management of designers and the optimization of design processes to maximize the value of design. Meredith Black, a DesignOps pioneer, has a more basic definition: “I like to say that DesignOps is everything but actual design,” she quips. DesignOps is a dedicated person or team in an organization that focuses solely on enabling the design team to work as well as it possibly can. It is made possible by closely analyzing the tools, processes, and working relationships the team has at its disposal and making sure these things are set up in a way that
a) enables excellent design work and
b) minimizes friction at any place it may occur — the discovery, collaboration, revision, or handoff stage.
“DesignOps function helps amplify design and enable cross-functional product teams. They take care of the tools and systems so that Product Designers can achieve greater efficiency and collaboration.”
“Keep designers focused on the work, and let DesignOps help with the rest,” says Black, who is a former DesignOps lead at Pinterest and currently serves as a consultant in the space. “Whether that’s strategy, taking notes, coordinating with cross-functional teams, helping ensure a successful launch of a project, building a learning and development program, or just being there to listen to a designer’s needs.”
Design Process pays careful attention to how things are organized and processed. From discovery to review to handoff, the entire design process is evaluated, optimized, and tweaked to remove as much friction as possible. DesignOps teams have a goal to streamline workflows. When a DesignOps department starts to re-work the process, they usually do the following things:
DesignOps empower designers and engineers to build solutions as parts of a greater whole while accelerating design and development.
A systematic design workflow informs the team about the way design needs to be done within the organization. This helps in bringing a system and discipline, thereby enabling faster and more transparent execution.
Having a “DesignOps mindset” in your team is important, no matter how big your company is. It creates efficiencies in the long run, and generates more consistent work.
Managing the tools to ensure we have what’s required to get the job done. DesignOps also keep new devices entering the market and ensures that new designers are seamlessly onboarded using these tools.
Design Tools are the systems and services that enhance speed and quality of execution, and the mission is to remove doubt in design.
DesignOps also determine what tools design teams need to work efficiently. They standardize the tooling and systems used and introduce new tools and make sure designers adopt them. It focuses on communication tools, collaboration, reviews, and feedback mechanisms to facilitate learning, inform decision-making, and drive better team efficiencies. Many dynamic and evolving cloud-based collaboration tools amplify a designer’s impact by removing friction points between design and collaborators in engineering.
Tools that could be useful:
Simply put, companies that invest in great design get great financial results. They also develop a deeper understanding of their customers and make better decisions for the business due to the continuous feedback loop that the design process enables.
But great design doesn’t come easily, especially when it needs to be delivered at scale. Many of the world’s most recognizable brands — from Facebook to Airbnb and Wells Fargo to Pinterest — have instituted in-house design operations teams to manage the creative process effectively and efficiently.
DesignOps ensures the design is executed to the highest quality across all products consistently. Design Ops Is Quickly Becoming a Must-Have Mindset for Any Product Team
DesignOps is a role that focuses on scaling and amplifying design processes. Introducing a DesignOps role is not only a structural change, but it’s also a cultural shift. Understanding the design process matures, and there is no longer want to segregate different teams. Instead, designers, developers, researchers, and other team members work together during the design process, and the DesignOps team is the one who makes this happen. They create highly integrated and effective design organizations.