Where should designers sit?

One of the most common questions we get when teaching our workshop, and which friend-of-the-blog Todd Dominey submitted through our contact form, is “Where should designers sit?” It’s an interesting question, because it feeds a debate where there are two positions: Designers should sit with other designers in a studio-like setting, to benefit from peer critique, and learn andContinue reading “Where should designers sit?”

Design Your Organization as Thoughtfully as Your Products & Services (From 2017 CX Outlook)

I contributed to Kerry Bodine and Doberman’s “The 2017 Customer Experience Outlook”, a collection of 14 smart pieces about design and user experience in the coming year, with the following short essay. Design Your Organization as Thoughtfully as Your Products & Services In the six years since Forrester Research first wrote about customer journey mapsContinue reading “Design Your Organization as Thoughtfully as Your Products & Services (From 2017 CX Outlook)”

Design recruiting, portfolios, and showing work

Jared Spool tweeted about hiring designers and requiring portfolios a couple days ago: If you’re trying to hire designers & require a portfolio, you’re not gonna get top talent. The best designers don’t have them. Too busy. — Jared Spool (@jmspool) November 2, 2016 As a design hiring manager. I require a portfolio. In Org DesignContinue reading “Design recruiting, portfolios, and showing work”

Customer-centered is the optimal org model in a world of services

In Org Design for Design Orgs, we argue that design teams should be organized by customer journey. Let’s say your service is a simple marketplace. Instead of having designers embedded in the different product teams that make up the marketplace (a fully decentralized and embedded model), or instead of having a single monolithic team (a fully centralized model), to insteadContinue reading “Customer-centered is the optimal org model in a world of services”

Centralized vs Decentralized UX orgs… over 20 years ago

In Org Design for Design Orgs, an entire chapter (Ch. 4, The Centralized Partnership) addresses organization models for design teams, specifically centralized, decentralized and embedded, and the Centralized Partnership, our preferred hybrid approach. After I spoke at the Big Design Conference in Dallas last week, an attendee, Randolph Bias, pointed me to a paper he co-wroteContinue reading “Centralized vs Decentralized UX orgs… over 20 years ago”

Glowing unsolicited feedback about “Org Design for Design Orgs”

In writing Org Design for Design Orgs, Kristin and I had a sense of the kind of impact it could have, in that it addresses a gap in the current conversation around design, specifically on organizational, operational, and managerial issues. And while we consider this topic vital, we weren’t sure how readers would respond. So,Continue reading “Glowing unsolicited feedback about “Org Design for Design Orgs””

Levels framework: like Lebowski’s rug for your design org

From Chapter 7 of Org Design for Design Orgs: Many companies use a framework of levels to chart the seniority of employees. Typically, human resources (HR) teams use levels to calibrate employees across different functions, to make things easier in matters such as compensation. The risk of working with levels is adopting a bureaucratic stance,Continue reading “Levels framework: like Lebowski’s rug for your design org”

Design orgs get fucked over by relative team size

Typically, design orgs are significantly smaller than the engineering orgs they support. Designer:developer ratios are usually between 1:4 and 1:10. In the diagram here, we’re looking at 1:6. In the book, we discuss the benefit of this ratio—design is a highly leveraged function, where a relatively small number of designers can have an outsized impact. There’s a dark side toContinue reading “Design orgs get fucked over by relative team size”