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How can Design Ops help you in your organization?

The role of Design Ops is to reduce the complexity of the design process, while optimizing the synergy of the teams involved and the management of the resources and tools allocated to the project.

Design Ops is a recent discipline that was born in response to the need to solve product-related problems affecting the design process and the constraints faced by designers.   

Design Operations uses an agile approach to improve the skills of collaborators and optimize collaboration, activities and deliverables, with the objective of developing a user-centered product that offers a better experience. 

How does Design Ops work? 

The Design Operations approach consists in operationalizing the design process. It brings together all the methods, processes, tools, infrastructure, workflow and human resources needed to rid the designers' work of operational inefficiencies and help them focus on their core business.

It's all about creating a favorable climate to unleash the creative potential of designers. This will boost the overall performance of all teams involved in the project. To achieve this, Design Ops can be embodied by a person or a team, depending on the size and needs of the company, to ensure the proper management of the resources involved in the project.

Therefore, the scope of the Design Ops intervention is quite large and includes several tasks. In particular :

  • Studying the designers' profiles and evaluating their skills, soft skills and know-how. 
  • Ensuring that the right tools are available and that they are properly assigned.
  • Identify the design team's internal and external interactions with other teams.
  • Identify good design practices and methodologies.
  • Support ambitions, innovations and evolutions.
  • Optimize design techniques and deliverables. 

The role of Design Ops is very broad and requires specific skills. Indeed, it requires : 

  • A deep knowledge of the product design and development process.
  • A solid ability to manage the project's budget, time and resources appropriately.
  • an ability to adapt to changes that may arise and disrupt the design or development process of the 
  • product design or development process.

Who does Design Ops work with?

In order to strengthen communication between team members and improve product development processes, Design Ops is responsible for standardizing the work process and strengthening team cohesion. 

The discipline of Design Ops is based on the union between the two concepts : 

  • "Design": includes all specialties related to this discipline, such as: UX/UI designer, UX researcher, UI Architect, UX writer, content strategist, product designer, etc.
  • "Ops": concerns the operational aspect of the project. This includes :
  • the budget committed to the design, 
  • the operational flow corresponding to the optimization and standardization of the design, 
  • operations related to the management of the product life cycle, 
  • operations related to recruitment and human resources management (career development, motivation, etc.).

The Design Ops assists the design teams to optimize the implementation of the design processes and lead them to success. To this end, the Design Ops maintains several connections with all departments of the organization: UX/UI designers, user researchers, web developers, Product team (Copywriting, Marketing, SEO, Product Owner, etc.).

How does Capian fit into the workplace?

Capian is an online collaborative UX assessment tool. Its purpose is to facilitate the UX audit of web interfaces in order to capture the problems that negatively impact usability and prioritize optimization opportunities. It also allows you to quickly build a complete UX audit report that contains all the descriptive annotations of the study conducted.

The Capian tool embodies a centralized workspace, where all the reports developed are stored and shared. In a logic of Design Ops, this tool allows to : 

  • Ensure better collaboration between teams through data sharing. Through this tool, all collaborators can edit, organize and share their reports, in order to discuss issues raised, improvements to be made and proposals to be adopted, in real time.  
  • Ensure easier communication between multidisciplinary teams. Collaborators can communicate directly with each other and forget about long meetings, time wasted on preparing presentation reports and exchanging numerous emails.
  • Perform hyper iterative work, based on repetitive improvements in the short and long term. 
  • Simplify the user's work, thanks to an easy handling that does not require training to master the tool.
  • Deliver the service faster, thanks to more efficient collaboration.

See this list of short videos about the different features of Capian ;

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NlGTsE8EAPU&list=PLZX9-QrsaW1H-5pF6JBmpjj-LPrPr9PTb

Role and methodology of Design Ops 

What is the role of the Design Ops?

The tasks of Design Ops can be classified according to the 3 axes of this discipline: 

Project

This includes all aspects of project management, such as: planning, resources, financing, logistics and optimization practices. To this end, Design Ops is responsible for :

  • Monitor the proper use of resources.
  • Regularly monitor workflow.
  • Oversee the budget.
  • Identify critical gaps that may decrease the efficiency of the design process and propose optimization solutions.
  • Develop a long-term work plan.
  • Specify the performance indicators to be used to evaluate the work.

Process

This component covers all the systems, methodologies and strategies needed to define :

  • How to proceed to implement a Design Ops strategy. 
  • Why choose this or that procedure.

This component also includes all the tools needed to optimize the workflow, such as : 

People involved 

This element is a fundamental factor in a Design Operations approach. To this end, the Design Ops is in charge of these missions: 

  • Remove silos in order to optimize the quality of the work flow.
  • Ensure all the right conditions to foster the team's creativity.
  • Avoid tasks that are not within the designer's scope of expertise, in order to help the designer focus on his core business. 
  • Prepare the team well for upcoming projects.
  • Involve the design team upstream of the project to participate in the definition of the problem to be addressed.
  • Allocate the necessary budget to manage the tools and human resources required.
  • Recruit the required skills (external and internal) and ensure a smooth integration of new recruits.
  • Organize the team's meeting agendas. 
  • Continuously train team members.
  • Establish a culture of sharing to encourage exchange between all collaborators.
  • Define the responsibilities of each designer.
  • Streamline designer assignments. Design Ops must know how to assign the right skill to the right place at the right time.
  • Create a unified nomenclature to identify files and folders shared by team members. This helps define a common language that facilitates communication between them.

The Design Ops methodology

Define the scope of the problem 

Implementing a design operations approach requires first going through the problem definition stage. An action plan must be established to define how to orchestrate the workflow and how to ensure harmonious coordination between all the teams involved.

To this end, Nngroup proposes the following to build a Design Ops methodology around 3 components: 

  • How do we work together? In this step, the Design Ops focuses on the composition and organization of his team. He also deals with the management of human resources.
  • How to ensure that the work is done? In this stage, the Design Ops is in charge of standardizing, harmonizing and prioritizing the work processes. 
  • How to create an impact? The purpose of this stage is to evaluate the effectiveness of the design, through dedicated tools and indices, such as these phrases: good, completed, etc. It also aims to reinforce the involvement of the collaborators in the project, through a socialization process to increase their enthusiasm and motivation. The Design Ops is also invited to organize professional training to boost the skills of his team.

The following are the actions required to implement the problem definition step: 

  • Conduct a Discovery Survey : The objective of this survey is to identify operational challenges and analyze their level of criticality and impact on the design. This step provides useful data for benchmarking, based on metrics that provide information on employee satisfaction and productivity. These metrics should be monitored on an ongoing basis to control their impact on the design.
  • Establish interviews with the design team and associated partners: these interviews are useful to better understand the issues that are blocking the members interviewed in the previous phase. 
  • Document the design process to identify the various resources, tools and methods to be used throughout the design process. This step greatly helps to optimize the management and operation of these elements.

Defining the value of Design Ops 

At this stage, the Design Ops must define the added value it must bring to the design process and to the entire organization. The Design Ops person needs to understand the issues identified during the problem definition process in order to prepare the initiatives and solutions required to address them. In particular, he/she must specify: 

  • Major obstacles that impede the progress of the design process.
  • Opportunities to optimize design execution.
  • Prioritization of the problems to be managed.
  • His role within the organization. To avoid any ambiguity, the Design Ops must explain his responsibilities perfectly to his collaborators.

Create a roadmap 

After having explained his field of intervention to the whole organization, the Design Ops must make sure that all his collaborators have understood his mission. After that, he can put the first stones to build a roadmap and start his work. Thus, he must proceed to : 

  • Specify the main tasks to be performed beforehand.
  • Specify a precise objective for each blocking point raised during the identification of the problem.
  • Establish a roadmap that maps the actions to be taken, the objectives to be achieved and the time required for completion. It is recommended to use a tool that is familiar to all the teams involved to create the roadmap. This is to facilitate the understanding of this action plan by all collaborators.
  • Measure the effectiveness of the initiatives carried out and their impact on the design process and on the performance of the design team. 

Conclusion

The form of collaboration between designers and other teams is rapidly evolving as the techniques adopted for product development evolve. On the other hand, the complexity of design solutions is increasing in parallel with the rise of new technologies.

In this respect, Design Ops is an effective managerial solution for strengthening the workflow, increasing the efficiency of the overall project execution, avoiding time wastage and ensuring product integrity.

These benefits have a positive impact on product delivery times. In fact, ensuring a smooth and consistent design process accelerates delivery times, resulting in higher customer satisfaction.

Please feel free to contact us for any further information.

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