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”

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”