Design Ops

What Is Design Ops?

Design Operations or Design Ops – describes an alignment of the design process across products and disciplines. The Nielsen Norman Group defines it as “the orchestration and optimization of people, processes, and craft in order to amplify design’s value and impact at scale.”

The practice, which seems to have been inspired by DevOps, aims to address a range of design-related risks that can hinder an effective development process. It aims to help designers focus on their core work, which is research and design.

DesignOps is relevant, in particular, to any professional that plays a part in a user-centered, design-thinking process. It applies not only to UX designers, visual designers, and user researchers but also to everyone that adds to the user experience.

Why does it Matter?

There are several reasons Design Ops is increasingly being advocated for organizations, especially those with large teams. Here are some of them:

Communication or connection – There is a risk of silos being created as teams get bigger or products become more intricate. The level of interaction between teams can drop, complicating the development process and possibly causing delays.

Product managers can benefit from Design Ops in promoting communication between designers and the rest of the cross-functional team. The practice can also help to create a link between designers working in different teams across an organization.

Coordination – DesignOps makes it easier to organize the work of designers and developers. It helps to ensure that bottlenecks or delays are guarded against by ensuring work is done at their right time.

Prioritization – Design Ops is also useful for establishing the right order of projects. What should be worked on and when should it? The exercise helps with resource allocation by guiding a more precise estimation of the number of designers needed for projects.

Measurement – With the aid of Design Ops, you can be more effective at assessing the work of designers. It helps to figure how to define and measure the quality of design. It guides the definitions of both “done” and “good,” as Nielsen Norman Group notes.

How Does Design Ops Work?

DesignOps can be approached in a couple of ways:

As a role – You could designate an individual, a group, or a department to oversee the work of design within the cross-functional product team. These help designers to be more effective in designing and/or researching. This approach to Design Ops is especially beneficial to organizations with very large teams and many moving parts.

As a mindset or culture – This approach to incorporating DesOps is suitable for any type of team, but may be more so to those not so large. It entails promoting an environment where everyone sees the importance of aiding design to scale properly. Rather than create a role, you make the entire cross-functional team view design as an integral part in the overall development planning. It means seeing the design team working together with the product development team and not separately.

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