Design Value Conference Recap – How Top Leaders Tackle DesignOps Challenges

DVC Scaling

At UXPin’s first annual Design Value Conference in March 2022, we hosted five design industry leaders to understand Design and DesignOps at some of the world’s biggest organizations.

This article summarizes everything we covered at the Design Value Conference 2022, with links to a synopsis of each talk and the 30-minute video.

Design Value Conference 2022 was sponsored by UXPin Merge–the world’s most advanced collaborative prototyping tool. Sign up for a free trial.

UXPin CEO Yuga Koda on Merge Component Manager

To kick off Design Value Conference 2022, UXPin CEO Yuga Koda announced UXPin’s latest offering, Merge Component Manager–a new way to sync your component library with less reliance on engineers.

Merge in its current form requires some help from engineers to prepare a component library and repo to sync with UXPin. Merge Component Manager is a code-free way to import your components.

Merge Component Manager allows you to configure your components without dev’s help. The codeless process allows designers to set up and manage component properties within UXPin, giving them the power of coded interactions when building prototypes.

Design Value Conference 2022 Talk: Maggie Dieringer, Uber Eats

Maggie Dieringer, Senior Design Program Manager (DPM) at Uber, shared some valuable insights about DesignOps at Uber. 

Having worked with various Uber products, Maggie provided examples of how she tackled DesignOps with multiple team sizes and all stages of maturity.

Here are the key takeaways from Maggie’s talk. 

Framing and Scaling

Maggie’s framing and scaling process to determine where DPMs should spend their time to have the most impact. Maggie uses three framing factors to get an accurate picture of the org and make informed decisions:

  • Size & State of the Design Org
  • Design Team Resourcing
  • Level of Partnership

Increase DPM Impact

With a clear understanding of the org and its problems, Maggie chooses a suitable “level of engagement.” DPMs are more hands-on when zoomed in, working with teams on day-to-day tasks. When zoomed out, DPMs focus more on advocating, strategy, and planning.

Support DPM Trajectory

Lastly, Maggie creates a DesignOps roadmap with long-term goals. Using the framing exercise, Maggie wants to answer three crucial trajectory questions:

  • Where are you today?
  • Where do you want to be?
  • Where does your team want to be?

Design Value Conference 2022 Talk: Salome Mortazavi, Sirius XM

Salomé Mortazavi, Director of DesignOps at SiriusXM, talks about using frameworks to create a DesignOps roadmap.

Salomé’s work with SiriusXM and many Fortune 500 organizations has given her valuable knowledge and experience, which she shares in her talk.

Here are the key takeaways from Salomé’s talk.

Advice for Beginners

One of the common mistakes beginner DesignOps practitioners make is being “yes” people. They take on too many day-to-day operations instead of focusing on the bigger picture.

When starting, Salomé has three recommendations to overcome this:

  • Find value: Look for areas where you can add the most value
  • Efficiency vs. Efficacy: Start by framing problems using the right metrics to identify a baseline
  • Listen and Take Notes: Rather than jumping in and making the changes you think the org needs, interview team members to understand their challenges

DesignOps Framework: Design Maturity Index

Salomé uses the Design Maturity Index to identify themes and problems, separating them into two “buckets:”

  1. DesignOps (Design Org Ops)
  2. Design Leadership/Design Team/Product (Design Practice Ops)

Salomé uses a menu tool to assign and categorize these themes and problems accordingly.

Creating a DesignOps Roadmap

With her problems defined and assigned, Salomé outlines a DesignOps roadmap with three time horizons and several categories. Salomé uses the Build, Measure, Learn methodology to implement and evolve her roadmap.

Read the full recap of Salomé’s talk on our blog.

Design Value Conference 2022 Talk: Erica Rider, PayPal

Erica Rider, UX Lead EPX @ PayPal, talks about how she revised the traditional DesignOps model to scale design and transferred UX responsibilities across the organization.

Traditional DesignOps vs. DesignOps 2.0

Erica’s DesignOps strategy had to scale design practices, not the Design Department. To do this, Erica created a hybrid DesignOps/DevOps framework. Instead of creating DesignOps, Erica and her team operationalized design within DevOps.

Evolution of Responsibilities

For this hybrid system to work, Erica had to empower product teams to design, prototype, and test while educating product managers and engineers about the importance of user experience.

Evolving PayPal’s DesignOps 2.0 Process

Having worked with DesignOps 2.0 since 2019, Erica and her team are working on evolving the process for product teams to deliver better products.

Erica is working on a system to operationalize user research. They’re also creating a balance of control/accountability so that Product, Design, and Engineering share UX responsibilities in PayPal’s hybrid operational model.

PayPal’s UX team uses a user experience wizard tool to measure and evolve this next iteration of DesignOps 2.0.

Erica Rider used UXPin Merge as the foundation for PayPal’s DesignOps 2.0. Sign up for a free trial to discover how Merge can help scale your design operations.

Design Value Conference 2022 Talk: Omkar Chandgadkar, Amazon

Omkar Chandgadkar, a Senior UX Designer at Amazon Alexa Smart Home, discusses overcoming common design challenges using his two frameworks. 

Omkar developed these frameworks from experience at tech giants IBM and Amazon to move from a tactical (or what Omkar calls “designing a plane while flying it”) to a strategic approach by being proactive.

Common Design Team Challenges

Omkar outlines three common challenges design teams experience at large organizations. In short, design teams often find themselves playing catch-up rather than working on long-term strategies.

Omkar uses two frameworks to overcome this catch-up conundrum.

Framework One: Omkar’s Connecting the Dots Map

Connecting the dots is about aligning Product, Design, and Engineering activities and frameworks to improve communication and collaboration throughout the software development process. 

The aim of connecting the dots map will help you identify how your orgs make decisions and how these decisions are interdependent. DesignOps can then implement strategies to align Design with the rest of the organization for more streamlined product delivery.

Framework Two: Omkar’s Design Offerings

Omkar’s proactive Design Offerings strategy is a process of creating products that DesignOps markets Product Managers for their projects.

These products streamline project intake and provide design teams with actionable first steps. DesignOps practitioners can use the Design Offerings framework for new projects or work through a product backlog.

How to Use Omkar’s Frameworks?

Connecting the Dots Map:

  • As a reference to navigate projects and create project plans
  • As a mechanism to identify gaps in previously made decisions

Design Offerings:

  • As a vehicle to educate partners about how they can benefit from design
  • As an intake mechanism to balance tactical and strategic projects

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