You might be wondering, “What is Design Operations, or DesignOps?” According to Dave Malouf, founding member of the Interaction Design Association (IxDA), it’s “The connective tissue, lubrication,and rails that amplify the value of a design tea.” It’s definitely not DevOps for designers.
We were recently fortunate enough to catch up with Dave, who’s a pioneer in the field of DesignOps as well as a co-chair of the upcoming Enterprise UX Conference. In one hour, he shared with us everything he knows about DesignOps and why it’s essential for modern design teams to succeed.
As more and more innovative companies come to realize that good design is vital to their growth, they’re also confronted with the challenges of shifting existing methods of thinking and working. Making the transition to a design-centric mindset - for anyone, let alone an enterprise - is not an easy undertaking. In additional to shifting perspectives and mindsets, there are logistical and technical challenges.
Take it from Dave, who said, “The largest obstacle to design success is the misalignment of the value proposition that design itself provides an organization.” This is where DesignOps comes in. At its core, it’s a new field that looks at the tools and instrumentation needed for modern design teams to succeed. It’s purpose is to amplify the value of design investment, which we’ve already seen proven, and then increase the investment even further.
How? Here’s what we took away:
Collaboration is crucial. It’s possibly the one activity that needs to feel natural and fluid. If it requires noticeable effort, then there is room for improvement.
Similarly, your success in the organization, as well as that of the company, will depend directly upon your ability to partner effectively with other necessary functions.
Evolve with the design system. Once it’s needed to support multiple teams, your design system starts to become a product of its own.