DesignOps: Study Guide


DesignOps: An Overview

Definition: DesignOps refers to the orchestration and optimization of people, processes, and craft in order to amplify design’s value and impact at scale.

Our DesignOps framework has 3 core areas:

  1. How we work together: How teams organize and align around shared responsibilities, establish effective measures for collaboration, and enable employee development
  2. How we get our work done: How teams use processes to achieve consistent design quality, establish repositories for knowledge sharing and efficiencies, and effectively prioritize projects
  3. How our work creates impact: How teams measure design work, share and reward team success, and enable others — even those outside of the team — to learn and use design and research activities
3 core designops areas
Our DesignOps framework is organized into 3 main areas: how we work together, how we get our work done, and how our work creates impact.

Understanding DesignOps

If you’re totally new to DesignOps, or still trying to understand what it is, we recommend that you explore the following resources in order, from top to bottom.

 

DesignOps is also closely related to UX maturity — an organization’s desire and ability to successfully deliver user-centered design. It’s almost impossible reach a high stage of UX maturity without consistent methods, effective approaches to collaboration, and otherwise operationalizing UX. To better understand UX maturity and how DesignOps is critical for increasing it, start here:

  • Overview of our 6-stage UX-maturity model: The 6 Levels of UX Maturity
  • Detailed description of stage 3 (when DesignOps is often critical for moving forward): UX-Maturity Stage 3: Emergent

How We Work Together

The first area of DesignOps is concerned with how teams work together: How teams organize and align around shared responsibilities, establish effective measures for collaboration, and enable employee development.

These resources cover:

  • UX-team reporting structures and team models
  • Hiring and onboarding processes for UX team members
  • UX meetings and collaboration

Number

 Link

Format

Description

1

Where Should UX Report? 3 Common Models for UX Teams and How to Choose Among Them

Article

Descriptions of benefits and challenges of 3 UX-team models: centralized, decentralized, and hybrid

2

Where Should UX Report: Centralized, Product, or Somewhere else?

Video

3

Typical Designer–to–Developer and Researcher–to–Designer Ratios

Article

Overview of the most commonly reported designer, researcher, and developer ratios

4

UX Team Staff Size Relative to Development Staff

Video

5

The State of Design Teams: Structure, Alignment, and Impact[RB4] 

Article

Overview of most commonly reported design-team structures, size, and reporting alignment

6

UX Team Structure and Reporting

Video

7

What a UX Career Looks Like Today

Article

Designer and researcher roles and responsibilities

8

Salary Trends for UX Professionals

Article

Historical data on the evolution of the UX-design salary

9

The State of UX Job Descriptions

Video

Guidance for writing better job postings for UX-design professionals

10

Applying UX-Workshop Techniques to the Hiring Process

Article

How to use UX-workshop methods to improve the hiring process

11

Skill Mapping: A Digital Template for Remote Teams

Article

A collaborative spreadsheet for evaluating UX skills across a team

12

UX Workshops vs. Meetings: What’s the Difference?

Article

Definition of a UX workshop and how it differs from a UX meeting

13

UX Workshops vs. Meetings: What’s the Difference?

Video

14

Kickoff Meetings for Team Alignment Before Starting UX Projects

Video

How and when to use kickoff meetings in the design process

15

UX Retrospectives 101

Article

How and when to use retrospectives in the design process

16

How to Run a Retrospective for a Design Team

Video

17

Design Critiques: Encourage a Positive Culture to Improve Products

Article

Definition of a design critique and guidance for facilitating productive design critiques

18

Derailed Design Critiques: Tactics for Getting Back on Track

Article

Tips for mitigating common challenging scenarios that arise in design critiques

19

Charrettes (Design Sketching): ½ Inspiration, ½ Buy-In

Article

How and when to use design charrettes in the design process

For more in-depth information on what a UX career looks like today, check out our free UX Careers report.

How We Get Work Done

The second area of DesignOps is concerned with how we get our work done: How teams use processes to achieve consistent design quality, establish repositories for knowledge sharing and efficiencies, and effectively prioritize projects

These resources cover:

  • Centralized UX resources such as design systems and research repositories
  • Methods for prioritizing projects, requests, and UX debt
  • The UX design process and supporting research methods used throughout

The following study guides offer more in-depth collections of guidance for specific types of UX research and design methods:

We also offer full-day trainings on the following methods-related courses:

How Our Work Creates Impact

The third area of DesignOps is concerned with how our work creates impact: How teams measure design work, share and reward team success, and enable others — even those outside of the team — to learn and use design and research activities.

These resources cover:

  • Tracking UX improvements over time
  • Calculating the ROI of UX
  • Communicating UX value to others

For more in-depth help on demonstrating UX value, check out our report and full-day course.

Report: UX Metrics and ROI

Course: Measuring UX and ROI

Related Study Guides

For a deeper dive into ResearchOps, a specialized sub-topic of DesignOps, see our ResearchOps Study Guide which will be published next month.



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