Meta Refresh 2018

The web in your pocket

Scaling the biggest design system--your design team

Submitted by Rahul Gonsalves (@gonsalves-r) on Wednesday, 17 October 2018

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Section

Full talk

Status

Confirmed & Scheduled

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Abstract

How do you do your best work? A lot of this conference is devoted to the matter of “craft” - of becoming a better designer, a better developer and so on. However, how do you do your best work when part of a larger team? Throwing more people at the problem is not always the solution; and design management has historically been worse than other types of management. Most business leaders aren’t designers, and many design leaders have risen due to their proficiency in the practice of their craft - not because of their managerial, emotional or operational skills.

This talk is an attempt to provide an answer to that question. What structures do you need? What new processes does one put in? How do you ensure that designers (designers are often hyper-sensitive to the imposition of structure and restraint) do not chafe against these? What organisational structures are right at different points in a company’s growth?

Outline

How do you do your best work? A lot of this conference is devoted to the matter of “craft” - of becoming a better designer, a better developer and so on. However, how do you do your best work when part of a larger team? Throwing more people at the problem is not always the solution; and design management has historically been worse than other types of management. Most business leaders aren’t designers, and many design leaders have risen due to their proficiency in the practice of their craft - not because of their managerial, emotional or operational skills.

This talk is an attempt to provide an answer to that question. What structures do you need? What new processes does one put in? How do you ensure that designers (designers are often hyper-sensitive to the imposition of structure and restraint) do not chafe against these? What organisational structures are right at different points in a company’s growth?

To start with, I’ll outline 12 qualities of effective design organisations - broken into three areas:

The Foundations

  • Shared Purpose
  • Empowered Leadership
  • User Empathy
  • Articulating and creating value

Outputs

  • Supporting the entire journey
  • Delivering at all levels of scale
  • Establish and uphold quality
  • Value delivery over perfection

Management

  • Treating people as…people
  • Diversity of perspectives
  • A collaborative environment
  • Effective operations managemnt

Organisation Structures

We’ll then delve into a variety of organisational structures that make sense at different times in a company’s lifecycle:

  • <5: Just do what feels right
  • Outsourced design (:waves hi)
  • Centralised internal service organisation
  • Decentralised and embedded (The Pack)
  • Centralised Partnerships

Effective Design Team

  • Team Size (how large is too large (>7))
  • Team composition (include a writer!)
  • Team management (up, down and across)
  • Design Operations
  • Reporting Structures

Design Organisation Evolution

  • Stage 1: The Initial Pair
  • Stage 2: A Full Team
  • Stage 3: From Deisgn Team to Design Organisation
  • Stage 4: Coordiation to Manage Complexity
  • Stage 5: Distributed Leadership

Depending on time/interest, I can also extend the talk to cover the following topics:

  • Recruiting and Hiring
  • Professional Growth and People Management
  • Creating a Design Culture

Requirements

Be interested in scaling design teams within an organisation or in building a design culture.

Speaker bio

Rahul has been designing websites and mobile applications since 2005. Graduating with a degree in Economics, he decided that that life was not for him, and after a number of years of freelance practice, brought together some of the most talented designers across the country to form uncommon.

Called “one of the faces of New India” by Forbes, he regularly speaks on design, user experience, design processes and typography. An increasingly large portion of his time is now spent helping uncommon’s household-name clients hire design leadership, build and scale design capabilities and insource business-critical design functions.

Uncommon has grown from a tiny design consultancy to a 20+ strong team, working with almost every Indian unicorn, with its work touching nearly every Indian with a smartphone. Uncommon continues to build products that address the Next Billion Users, first-time smartphone users, local-language audiences as well as new forms of non-screen interaction.

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