Creating A Design System: Building Design System Teams

You can build the inventory on your own, but you need a team to run the design system as an ongoing process.

The team not only plans the system, but also build it, implements it, and promotes it across the team. Start by planning who you need to efficiently correct inconsistencies listed in the inventory and then consider what skillset will help manage this process long term. Initially, you might not have a team of full-time contributors, so be ready to manage the team with partial time allocation.

Learn more about building design systems teams here.

List all the skills needed to successfully fix inconsistencies listed in the inventory

List all the skills needed for a long term success of the systems (maintenance + governance)

Find people with the necessary skills

You’ll probably need well-rounded designers and front-end engineers, but some teams also need help of DevOps to implement certain tools in the build process, or PMs to run a sprint. There’s no one correct structure, so you’ll have to think about your team, product, and external constraints.

Check the realistic time allocation you can get from your team

Many organizations, right at the beginning, do not commit employees full time to the team running the design system process. You need a realistic time allocation that you can expect from every member of the team.

Clarify the roles on the team and the decision making process

Make sure that the team understands who’s leading the team, who’s making the key decisions about different aspects of the system and how the overall decision making process will look like.

Decide the length of the sprint

Decide when the team will meet for planning and post-sprint meetings

Finalize by bringing clarity to the agile process needed for a design system. Are you going to work in weekly or two-week long sprints? When is the planning meeting going to happen? How are you going to summarize the sprint? When are the planned retrospectives?