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A case for design


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Leveling up design from little "d" to big "D"

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A case for design

  1. 1. *Inspiration largely derived from Org Design for Design Orgs, Merholz/Skinner, 2016 A CASE FOR DESIGN* A PROPOSAL From Little “d” to Big “D” SEPTEMBER 24, 2018
 A SHIFT THAT HAS BEEN UNDERWAY AS RECENT AS 2012 GE established UX Center for Excellence. IBM committed to hiring 1,000 designers over 5 years. Capital One acquired Adaptive Path, Accenture acquired Fjord and McKinsey acquired Lunar. Not to mention, IDEO and Design Thinking is referenced everywhere. WHY DESIGN? Bottom line efficiency gains from streamlining has it limits. Top line innovation is where growth lives. Empathetic, inventive and iterative aspects of design thinking practices are key to discover the insights that lead to 10x opportunities. A formalized design practice can be just as strategic as technology, ensuring that the focus remains on solving the right problems. POWER OF DESIGN: MORE THAN JUST PROBLEM SOLVING Problem solving is only the tip of the iceberg. Analytical approaches typical in science and engineering are reductive and insufficient for solving problems in complex systems. A leveling up of problem seeking and framing skills are necessary to establish focus on problems worth solving. A greater focus and investment in design can ● enhance the ability to discover and realize new business value, ● improve the understanding of the overall value proposition to disparate audiences, and ● ensure a consistent and coherent experience across all touch-points.
  3. 3. POTENTIAL OF DESIGN: MORE THAN JUST MAKING THINGS PRETTY Design is happening everywhere, all of the time. It is often treated as an event or a step in the process (Figure A). There are benefits to be gained by incorporating design throughout the entire lifecycle of all activities (Figure B). Reframe design to be broader than just artifact generator in service of marketing, communication, sales and development to include the understanding of relationships between people (customers, partners, employees, leadership). RMG 2018 A CASE FOR DESIGN Management Marketing / Sales Design Development / Implementation Support Management Marketing Design Development Support Implementation Sales Figure A Figure B
  4. 4. Artifacts should not be considered on their own, but as tools in a larger “Service Design” ecosystem. The ask then changes from “I need a 1-Pager to leave behind at a meeting” to “How best can I make a lasting impression on person X in situation Y at stage Z in their journey that will spread and inspire them to act in _____ way” At the heart of Service Design is the Customer Journey. Mapping a customer’s interactions across different departments provides a deeper perspective on service delivery and exposes impediments along their traditionally fragmented or siloed journey. Project based teams can address this discontinuity but they need standardized tools, techniques rules of engagement to be most efficient and effective. This is where design and design thinking can play a pivotal role. EXPANDED ROLE OF DESIGN Continuous delivery of products and services requires that designers be brought into the process early on and not just handed briefs and requirements downstream from product management/marketing. To make sure a empathetic perspective is embraced, Design should have equal representation along with Business, Product, Sales and Marketing. Typically, design would compensate for the lack of early inclusion through the discipline of UX by developing a set of methods (research, testing, personas, workflows, wireframes) and fostering user-centered mindset to manage complexity. However, it has become clear that these practices are useful in the definition as well as the execution of a product / service and drive greater business value. Design is part of the conversation of what should be built, not just what can be built. It should play a role from idea through to final offering and be woven into every aspect of service experience, from marketing to support.
 SENSITIVE MANAGEMENT, VISIONARY LEADERSHIP AND WELL-RUN OPERATIONS Most people have never worked with a truly effective design team. Most designers have never been part of a fully actualized team and don’t know how to realize their own potential. Effective Design Teams Qualities needed for design to take on an expanded role are I. Foundation: Set of well defined core tenets that drive behavior and establish purpose II. Output: Quality deliverables across a set of capabilities III. Management: Inspiring and empowering aspects of running a team RMG 2018 A CASE FOR DESIGN
  6. 6. Foundation 1. Team Charter Shared sense of purpose to establish their identity and the impact they wish to have in order to 1. Attract and excite talent and 2. Signal what to expect to the rest of the organization. 2. Focused, Empowered Leadership Clear ownership for how the team should work, make decisions that benefit the team and ensure respect for team members. It should be 1. focused on mentoring, building and operating the team and the figurative and literal environment where design can thrive, 2. have autonomy to ensure team is most effective and efficient by prioritizing work and establishing best practices and 3. have the support of and access to executive leadership that demonstrates the importance of design for the organizations success. 3. Authentic User Empathy Clear practices for how to gain true understanding of the people you wish to serve that goes beyond basic research and standard testing practices to produce designs with the greatest impact. 4. Understand, Articulate and Create Measurable Value Must understand and speak to how design contributes to business success and is not just for design sake. Must be able to measure the return on the investment of design. (Possible examples here).
  7. 7. Output 5. Breadth: Support Entire Journey Must have access to and be involved in end-to-end customer journey thus requiring wide range of design expertise to management complexity from Graphics, DataViz, Brand Identity & Storytelling to UX, IxD and IA. Single design teams ensures cohesive experience throughout journey. 6. Depth: Deliver at All Scale Levels From Portrait to Pixels: ○ Stratosphere (10k ft): Integrated view of company’s value proposition, brand characteristics (5%) ○ Strategy (1k ft): Planing, vision, objectives, concepts, stories, requirements (15%) ○ Structure ( 100 ft): workflows, renderings, wireframes, brand guides, language/tone (40%) ○ Surface (10 ft): type, color, layout, interface, animation (40%) 7. Quality Standards Most subjective and hardest to quantify but needs to be communicated through well reasoned and defined principles to move beyond compromising due to someone’s personal preference or desire to please. 8. Value Delivery over Perfection Striking the proper balance between quality and delivery. Continuous delivery is not an excuse to deliver bad stuff.
  8. 8. Management 9. Teams are People, Not Resources We are not our job titles. Labels are only guidelines. Reporting structures are for communication and mentorship, not to limit ideas. Instill the value of working smart and hard and then long if/when necessary. Encourage and find ways to support growth, both individually and collectively. 10. Diversity of Perspective and Background Avoid groupthink, repeatedly solving problems the same way, limiting exploration by converging on solutions too soon. Encourage divergent thinking to open problem space and approach challenges from various angles. 11. Foster Collaborative Environment Create safe spaces for sharing work to deliver best results. Teach authentic, thoughtful, constructive, honest, empathetic (not polite) feedback. Encourage everyone to speak up for themselves - leaders speak last if at all. 12. Manage Operations Effectively Remain focused, purposeful and appreciated by ensuring internal coordination, cross-functional collaboration, appropriate staffing & on-boarding, transparency, measurements and communicate a clear strategy, vision, & roadmap. RMG 2018 A CASE FOR DESIGN
 A “CENTRALIZED PARTNERSHIP” APPROACH Traditional models are either Centralized or Decentralized/Embedded. Each has associated benefits and drawbacks. A Centralized approach can be slow and disempowering. Designers in a decentralized environment can grow restless, feel lost and produce designs that lack cohesion. A Centralized Partnership is a hybrid approach that attempts to blend the best of both approaches. Centralized Team Similar to dealing with external or in-house agency. Lead by a director and typically placed in marketing organization. Seen and treated as a pool of talent. Benefits Drawbacks • Supports design community and culture, engaged mentorship, growth opportunities • Disempowerment, lack of ownership due to impermanence and late inclusion on projects • Clear design direction, vision, authority, control, approval • Us vs them attitude, disenchanted, acquiesce to do bare minimum leading to devaluing of design • Designers work on array or projects, expanding their skills, increases engagement • Lack of visibility and clarity of priority and timing externally RMG 2018 A CASE FOR DESIGN
  10. 10. Decentralized / Embedded Team Happens when centralized approach leads to delays, subpar work, unsatisfying outcomes. Designers work within product/ marketing teams. Head of design is only consultative and strategic but no authority over hiring or creative direction. • Encourages consistent user experience, clear end user expectations across org • Create efficiencies, no redundant roles, lower headcount/costs Benefits Drawbacks • Speedier, iterative output • Focus on one problem for long time, design becomes stale, repetitious • Empowered designers, participate throughout lifecycle • Designers become lonely, lack community, struggle to be understood • Greater ownership of outcomes • Little if any cohesive design culture, experience, isolated decisions don’t always broadly translate • Higher quality output, iterate and refine to end, no handoff • Duplicate efforts, inefficiencies, each group creating own experiences • Marginalize user research, tougher to justify beyond quick efforts RMG 2018 A CASE FOR DESIGN
  11. 11. Centralized Partnership Designers report up through single point but not treated as a pool of talent. ● Team Makeup 1. Organized as skills-complete teams dedicated to specific aspects of the business 2. Work at every Scale Level (Strategy, Structure, Surface), regardless of overall size. 3. 2-7 Members, split when larger than 7 4. Don’t need to be as deep as overall design org ● Team Leadership Can scale up and down to oversee entire end-to-end experience. Understand clear business objectives to produce high quality, appropriate solutions. Coach, diplomat, salesperson 1. Manage down: coach, guide, mentor 2. Manage across: coordinate cross-functionally, work is integrated with larger whole, push back on unclear/ unreasonable requirements 3. Manage up: explain rationale behind design decisions, present point of view, articulate vision … 4. No people management ● Team Organization 1. Clear Mandate. Partnership with what part of business, product team? 2. Organized from perspective of user-experience/customer journey, not mirrored from partner structure 3. Committed to the partnership and not shuffled around until significant outcome or time (9-12 mo) 4. Clearly communicate design operation and ‘rules of engagement” with partnership RMG 2018 A CASE FOR DESIGN
  12. 12. Reporting Structure Where does the design org belong in the larger organization? It started in IT (website was domain or IT) and then to Marketing (when website moved under purview of Marketing). ● Ultimately, the Design Organization could operate on par with Product & Marketing Organization ● When Design lacks critical mass, presence and level of maturity, operating as a team within Product & Marketing Organization is most appropriate. ● However, to whom it reports is secondary to ensuring that it operates ○ As a single operating entity, ○ Has a mandate to infuse their work throughout the entire customer experience ○ Has empowered leadership to direct the team and activities to deliver the mandate Roles & Team Composition Roles are not arbitrary but are written to respond to the needs of the organization and comprised of the following expertise: ● Product: UX, UI, IxD, Visual, IA, … ● MarCom: Graphic, Communication, Brand Experience, … ● Leadership: Head of Design, Design Director, Creative Director, … RMG 2018 A CASE FOR DESIGN
  13. 13. Proposed taxonomy addresses the expanded role of design. Abstract job titles make operations easier and allows for career growth but no two people with the same title are 100% interchangeable. I. Individual Contributors • Product Designer (UX/UI) a. Interpret software complexity into form that is accessible and understandable. b. Must have baseline understanding of how technical issues affect design c. Structure Level (UX): workflows, wireframes d. Surface Level (UI): layout, colors, type, icon e. Rare people excel at both, look for one type or another • Communication Designer (Information / Graphic Design) a. Distill essence of company’s personality into visual representations b. Works with all media, grounded in color, composition, type, imagery c. More analytical minded lean toward information design d. Strategy Level: Brand characteristics, vision for whole company e. Structure Level: Brand standards, guides, communicate complex concepts f. Surface: Type, imagery, layout: words and images RMG 2018 A CASE FOR DESIGN
  14. 14. • User Experience Researcher a. Product design can rely on some intuition / institutional knowledge, but end-to-end Service Design requires deep empathetic perspective b. Usually dedicated role when team hits 5-6 members, strong organizational skills with keen attention to detail c. Understand totality of user experience where insights inform marketing, sales, product, as well as design d. Generative Research: out in field to frame problems in context and in new ways to stimulate innovative solutions e. Evaluative Research: test the efficacy of designed solutions f. They get everyone involved and spearhead the process -- not done in a silo • Design Program Manager a. Traditional role but specific to design when group hits around 10 members, peers of Design Leads b. Identify priorities, define cross-functional milestones, scheduling, tools, processes c. Make sure design activities run smoothly, d. Manage interactions between design and other functions e. Communicate planning, briefing, meetings, … f. Excellent communication skills, understanding of design methods and thinking, managerial and influencing skills RMG 2018 A CASE FOR DESIGN
  15. 15. • Content Strategist a. Ad firms have long understood importance of having art directors work closely with writers -- Progressive design orgs integrate content strategists b. Content, not design, is focus so design shouldn’t dictate form and structure and ask others to fill in boxes c. Strategy: Define content strategy (voice, tone, …) and ongoing content development to align with brand strategy d. Structure: content models, navigation design e. Surface: write the actual copy -- UI labels and copy to help users accomplish task f. Generic title/label allows for expanded role across levels and departments g. End-to-end content experience, as important as product features • Service Designer (dedicated role not necessary at small scale or at all but skills are important) a. Experience Maps, Customer Journeys, Service Blueprints b. Coordinate effort across product teams to ensure coherent solutions that work across roles and contexts c. Operate at Strategy and Structure levels • Creative Technologist (dedicated role not necessary at small scale or at all but skills are important)’ a. Vet product designs for feasibility during design process b. Product designers with software backgrounds have this skill set c. Consider dedicated role at around 15-20 team members RMG 2018 A CASE FOR DESIGN
  16. 16. d. More concerned with possibility than delivery (role is not frontend developer for this reason) e. Align with mission of design org, using engineering disciplines to uncover opportunities for clear, coherent user experience. II. Design Leadership Create literal and figurative space for great design and evangelize benefits of design-driven orgs to deliver great experiences • Head of Design a. Creative: Provide creative vision and establish processes and practices, set the bar for quality, brand definition and experience principles b. Managerial: Set the teams tone, work environment, growth opportunities, feedback, hiring c. Operational: Optimize effectiveness, Set means and modes of communication, tools, schedules, meeting cadence/format, integration and communication across organization, headcount, compensation, physical spaces d. Balance Creative, Managerial and Operational to be most effective • Design Manager/Director (dedicated role when team 10 or more members) a. Creative leadership and people management b. Help team members reach potential c. Previously skilled practitioners and can roll up sleeves and do the work d. Operate at Strategy, Structure, Surface RMG 2018 A CASE FOR DESIGN
  17. 17. • Creative Director a. Creative vision and setting creative standards b. Brand standards, style guides, experience principles, own entirety of end-to-end experience • Directive of Design Program Management a. Make things go b. Strive for efficiency and effectiveness c. Remove logistical and procedural obstacles Design Organizational Stages Stage 1 (2 FTE) 1. Head of Design / Creative Director (HD) 2. Product (PD) / Visual Designer (VD) 3. Leadership experience and output velocity 4. Structural competence and Surface savvy 5. Head of Design establish strategy, vision and definition 6. Product (PD) / Visual (VD) focused on execution 7. Together create strong starting foundation RMG 2018 HD PD / VD A CASE FOR DESIGN
  18. 18. Stage 2 (5-7 FTE) 1. Grow to meet demand, full skills-complete team, ability to tackle any challenge 2. 2-3 more Product Designers (PD) to span Strategy, Structure, Surface scale levels 3. Cover capabilities to perform user research, interaction design, prototyping, visual design 4. 1 Communication Designer (CD) to cover non- product visual design for marketing, sales, comms as well as product design support 5. 1 Content Strategist working across marketing, sales, comms as well as product design 6. All report directly to Head of Design RMG 2018 A CASE FOR DESIGN HD / CD CDVD PD CS PD PD
  19. 19. Stage 3: From Design Team to Design Organization (11-12 FTE) 1. Team of more than 7 split in two skills-complete teams, committed to business function 2. Add UX Research (UXR) and Team Lead (TL) a. UX Researcher is resource for both teams b. Team Lead: a PD, CD or CS skillset and creative authority for their team 3. Team members still report directly to Head of Design 4. Additional PDs, CDs, and CSs as needed to ensure dedicated skills complete teams 5. Head of Design becomes more operational and managerial RMG 2018 A CASE FOR DESIGN CDVD PD PDPD CS CD TL PDUXR HD / CD
  20. 20. Stage 4: Coordination to Manage Complexity (20-21 FTE) 1. Add another skills-complete team, increasing coordination by order of magnitude 2. Greater risk of fracturing customer experience 3. Add Design Program Manager (DPM), Design Manager (DM) and Service Designer (SD) a. DPM: coordinate communication across direct, distinct teams b. DM: doubles as Team Lead (TL) with people management responsibilities c. SD: development of overall Journey Maps, Service Blueprints to provide systematic framework for entire design organization -- also interface with front line roles in sales, engagement, … Stage 5: Distributed Leadership (47-48 FTE) 1. Basically doubling of organization, requires additional leadership layer, 5-6 teams 2. Add Design Directors (DD), Creative Director (CrD), UX Researchers (UXR), Head of Research (HR), Creative Technologist (CT) a. DD: creative and managerial leadership to ensure coherence and coordination b. CD: peer of DD, bolsters creative leadership and sets quality bar for whole org c. UXR: expand to be their own team, individuals dedicated to each DD team d. CT: efficiencies can now be gained by having dedicated design-oriented eng RMG 2018 A CASE FOR DESIGN
 HOW IT OPERATES Team members are people, not resources. The return on the investment of thoughtful management and professional development are • Reputation: Engaged designers produce higher quality work which then makes the greater organization known as a place where good design happens and is valued • Retention: Inspired, challenged, and appreciated designers stay put, lowering churn, costs of recruiting and on- boarding. • Recruiting: Word of mouth is the most important attraction. Personally, passionately and authentically extol the experience of working with purpose. Levels of Perspective and Proficiency Levels are only used as a means for team members who wish to understand how to grow, evolve and advance in their professional pursuits. It is merely a design-driven scaffolding that is intended to support individual development. RMG 2018 A CASE FOR DESIGN
  22. 22. Perspective 1. Theme: Orientation and focus of individual development 2. Title: Suggested label for people working at this level 3. Achievements: Concrete accomplishments valued 1st, Years of experience valued 2nd 4. Scope: Depth and breadth of work responsibilities 5. Process: Relationship with broader design and development process 6. People: Relationships on and around team 7. Cross-functional Meetings: Organizational interactions that speak to influence and visibility 8. Core skills: Deepening and expansion of core design skills 9. Soft skills: Interpersonal, reliability, productivity, etc 10. Leadership: Effectiveness of advancing ideas and positions Proficiency 1. Level 1: Becoming a Design Pro 2. Level 2: Solid Contributor 3. Level 3: Doer to Leader 4. Level 4: Taking Charge 5. Level 5: Complete Design Leader RMG 2018 A CASE FOR DESIGN
  23. 23. Theme Level 1 Level 2 Level 3 Level 4 Level 5 Titles Junior Product Designer
 Junior Communications Designer
 Junior Content Strategist
 Junior UX Researcher P/C Designer Content Strategist
 UX Researcher Senior P/C Designer
 Senior Content Strategist
 Senior UX Researcher
 Design Manager Lead Designer
 Lead Content Strategist
 Lead UX Researcher Principal Designer
 Design Director
 Creative Director
 VP of Design Achievements Quality portfolio, Recent Graduate, Roughly 0–2 years’ experience;
 Contributed to a couple of shipped projects, Roughly 2–5 years’ experience Contributed to multiple of shipped projects, Roughly 5-10 years’ experience; Delivered successful work at product-area scope, Roughly 10-15 years’ experience Has led teams in framing and solving hard problems, and has driven innovative efforts that uncovered new value with new kinds of experiences, Roughly 15–20 years’ experience Scope Solve specific function-level problems (e.g., add item to shopping cart)
 Given specific product capabilities Lead solution of a product area Lead solution of a undefined problem spaces (How might someone do X?) Entire user experience (How might we provide a solution to X problem?) Process Work within process established by team lead Work within process established by team lead Develop the approach for tackling a problem Develop the approach for tackling a problem Establish a philosophy/mindset for how the team approaches its work (e.g., Double Diamond) People Part of a team that they’ve been assigned to Part of a team that they’ve been assigned to Lead a team that’s been assigned to you; collaborate with cross- functional peers Creating the team you need; defining the problem with cross-functional leads Establishing organizational structure, roles, headcount Cross-Functional Meetings Attendance Contributing to meeting Drive the meeting Drive the meeting Stakeholder for meeting Core Skills Strong in one, capable in two others Strong in two, capable in two others Expert in one, strong in two, capable in two others Expert in one, strong in two, capable in two others Expert in one, strong in two, capable in two others Soft Skills Professionalism Communication & Presentation Facilitation, listening Confidence, assertiveness … continuation of prior skills Leadership N/A N/A Strategy, empathy, compassion Planning, mentorship Vision RMG 2018 A CASE FOR DESIGN
  24. 24. Design Management The previous levels discussion was not concerned with management but, as the design organization grows, it will need an overall management philosophy that works to ensure highly effective and efficient operations. Here are some rough rules of thumb to consider. ● Set Clear Expectations: Set goals and appropriate measures ● Support, Don’t Manage: Assist team in developing their own plans to achieve goals ● Remove Obstacles: Foster communication, collaboration, alternative paths forward ● Go to the Mat: Consider team members’ best interest ● Frequent Feedback: Defined critique and review processes ● It’s not about Design: Deliver great product, not just great design ● Get to Know People: Encourage people to bring their whole selves to their work ● Personal Professional Mission: Motivations and choices that led to this place, time, role ... Design Community Participation & Leadership Encourage designers to look for opportunities to be seen as leaders within the organization and the broader design community. Conduct regular design related seminars and “Lunch & Learns”. Design Professional Development Create a guild like atmosphere of masters and apprentices where senior designers assume formal and informal mentorship roles. Create a budget for trainings, conferences, classes, books, materials, etc. RMG 2018 A CASE FOR DESIGN
  25. 25. Growth and Advancement Provide opportunities for experience with and exposure to all parts of the organization while maintaining the Central Partnership operating framework. Nurture and support an individual’s desire to improve their craft and advance in their careers. Treat levels as benchmarks to measure progress and not as constraints. Set everyone up to succeed but expect everyone to be responsible for their own success. Environment The work environment has a direct impact on the nature and quality of the work produced. The physical and virtual spaces where design happens must manifest the values of the organization. Physical: Dedicated Work & Exhibition Space Virtual: Communication & Facilitation ● Environment that supports the culture and commitment to quality ● Library for Information and Inspiration. ● Dedicated Project Spaces to expose work to others for ideas and feedback. ● Expand the space to expand the ideas ● Work becomes more physical and tactile by breaking out of semi-private, digital-only environments ● Slack for primary communication, email for secondary ● Asana for managing work activities and projects ● Cloud Drive and Apps for all templates and artifacts for internal collaboration and limited external use ● Adobe Creative Suite for more complex documents and artifacts intended for external consumption ● and/or Wake for design collaboration RMG 2018 A CASE FOR DESIGN
  26. 26. RMG 2018