Enhance your design leadership: select videos from the 2019 Design Leadership Summit

Last October, I had the privilege of speaking at the Design Leadership Summit in Toronto. It was an excellent event crammed with great material. While every session is worth viewing, here are my top picks: Though seemingly about user research, Jen Cardello’s presentation is gold for *any* design leader looking at how to establish andContinue reading “Enhance your design leadership: select videos from the 2019 Design Leadership Summit”

“Leaders vs Managers” is pernicious and probably gendered

It’s not uncommon to see the following kinds of thoughts expressed on Twitter: These are indicative of a broader sentiment that somehow “management” and “leadership” are mutually exclusive, with the former being top-down, controlling, and bad, and “leadership” is bottom-up, inspiring, and good. This is pernicious, particularly in its crass appeal. Leadership is necessary, butContinue reading ““Leaders vs Managers” is pernicious and probably gendered”

Your weekend reading: RUINED BY DESIGN

Mike Monteiro’s Ruined by Design is the perfect weekend book for any practicing designer and design leader. At a couple hundred pages of breezy, punchy, caustic, and funny prose, it goes by quickly (maybe 3 hours of reading time?), and that includes the time you will pause to reflect. Because you will occasionally put theContinue reading “Your weekend reading: RUINED BY DESIGN”

Design orgs, and the design profession, needs to get its shit together before expecting others to do so.

“He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.” – John 8:7 How you run your design org is doing more to inhibit its potential than anything else within your company An impetus for writing Org Design for Design Orgs was a realization I had when taking over designContinue reading “Design orgs, and the design profession, needs to get its shit together before expecting others to do so.”

Thoughts on Hiring a Design Leader (director-level and above)

April 2018, I suddenly found myself out of a job—included in a round of layoffs that shut down the office I worked in. As there was no long drawn out descent preceding my being let go, I wasn’t burned out, and, in fact, found myself energized. I dove into the job market, looking for opportunitiesContinue reading “Thoughts on Hiring a Design Leader (director-level and above)”

Unpopular Opinion? Consider ResearchOps before Researchers

Many years ago, Jared Spool wrote about the importance of “exposure hours” for project team members: The number of hours each team member is exposed directly to real users interacting with the team’s designs or the team’s competitor’s designs. There is a direct correlation between this exposure and the improvements we see in the designsContinue reading “Unpopular Opinion? Consider ResearchOps before Researchers”

The Most Important Role In Your Design Org: Team Lead

Discussions of design leadership tend to look upward, toward the executives and directors who sit atop the organization. And while those folks are indeed important, their efforts overshadow what I’ve realized is the most impactful role in a design organization: the “lower-middle management” of the Design Team Lead. Defining Team Lead To make sure weContinue reading “The Most Important Role In Your Design Org: Team Lead”

Design at Scale is People!

I believe the single most interesting challenge and opportunity for design as a practice and function is to figure out how to operate at scale. Upon reflection, our book was essentially about setting up your organization to deliver design at scale. Much of “design at scale” discussion is dominated by design systems (most of whichContinue reading “Design at Scale is People!”

Conduct better designer portfolio reviews with this tool

TL;DR: Here’s a Portfolio Review–Set-up and Assessment Tool for you to use. A couple years ago I contracted with Capital One to help bring some order to their rapidly expanding design organization. I focused on recruiting and hiring practices–when you’ve got ~40 open reqs, you want to make those processes as efficient and effective asContinue reading “Conduct better designer portfolio reviews with this tool”