tl;dr: I’m publishing a refined Design Team Levels Framework, based on what we’ve developed for Snagajob. Use it in good health.
As a design executive, one of the things I’m obsessed with is career development for my team members. We devoted a chapter to it in our book, including a levels framework which I shared in a post last September.
That framework was purposefully slightly vague, so leaders could adapt it to their org. This year, I became one of those leaders, joining Snagajob as the VP of Design. A few weeks ago, I presented to my team a new levels framework, which was a hybrid of what we had in our book, plus work that my Snagajob colleagues Rob Huddleston and Bridget Walsh had already done.
In the few weeks since sharing this new framework, my team leaders told me how it’s encouraged better conversations around professional development with their reports, how individuals on our team are using this to understand where they are and chart a path forward. I’ve been pleasantly surprised in the ways it has been embraced.
I’ve also realized that there’s nothing really proprietary about it. So I’m sharing it with the world. Here is the link to a public Google sheet:
A key change from what’s in the book to this framework is the addition of an explicit Management Track. Our original framework was meant to be agnostic with regards to individual contributor (IC) or management, but through workshops and other sharing, we’ve found that it proved more confusing than helpful. Calling out a management track actually makes the IC track more robust, by showing how it parallels with management.
Also, the book focused on skills specific to software design. My team has communication design, copywriting, and video production practitioners, so this framework acknowledges those skills as well.
If you end up using this framework to guide your own efforts, we’d love to hear about it!