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In This article I am going to examine the „DesignOps“ and define it’s meaning.
The word DesignOps is shortened for DesignOperations.
To explain the meaning, let us first clarify what the word “operation” means. Operations include all processes and activities that are necessary to reach a certain outcome. When we connect it with the service of design, we simply define the type of operation or the aimed outcome of all activities and processes of that operation.
It is all about resources. In the marketplace, it is all about time and money. Therefore eliminating obstacles, optimizing communication and offering fast support is of major importance.
This clarified, DesignOps is not one clear concept with clear structures, it rather is a term that describes an integrated work structure of bigger teams, in which resources are constantly managed and optimized.
During the last few years, the internet has accelerated the necessity for digital products.
The marketplace started to realise how important design was and that it is not solely a service that produces a product, but is inextricable from the company’s strategy as a whole. Simultaneously design solutions are growing in complexity and size, as well as their design teams and the tools they are using. If the company needs to grow or to find new spin-offs, the complexity and the design project pipelines grow with it. To withstand these accumulating challenges companies needed to integrate design into their processes more closely.
In companies the agile management methodology is omnipresent. The first instinct was to just use this methodology in the design processes as well. Later in they realized that important steps such as vision, exploration, associative thinking and interruption, which are important for a good outcome in the design process, were falling behind. Designers found themselves isolated from each other or designers were hired based on careers that were mapped onto those of engineers, for which the agile methodology was originally built.
After the alteration of the agile management system, it got the buzzword of DesignOps, which relates to Systems such as DevOps (Development Operations).
“Operations are basically responsible for all of the overhead that makes design happen.” Josh Ulm — ORACLE
DesignOps are context-bound. A Framework can not be described without the context of the company, its size, if it is in-house or an agency, the type of deliverable and so on. Non either the less, some ideas can help build an individual DesignOperations system.
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DesignOps is categorised into three parts:
People Operations is all about the team and team member management. Business Operations can be about budgeting or about providing the team with the required equipment. Workflow operations are about managing communication and optimizing workflows, setting priorities or monitoring and adjusting when necessary.
This basic framework only focuses on the management of the operation. Managing such an operation sums up tasks such as Communications, Team development, Recruiting, Design tools and so on. The approach is not to manage the day-to-day business, as in the DesignOps Project support approach.
This approach builds onto the Operation Support model. All practices of Operation Support are adapted but the day-to-day business is also taken into account. Therefore not only the framework managed or the operations, but obstacles that designers or teams face daily.
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DesignOps here is defined into three parts.
How we work together is defined into three sub-categories.
How we get work done consists of there three sup-categories:
How our work creates Impact consists of:
The hierarchy in DesignOps looks as follows:
Executive Producer – Design Director
The processes and actions facilitated by DesignOps are:
Models such as the Project Support Model and Operation Support Model, are defined as mentioned in the Superside section.
The Models of Superside and InVision overlap in the sense that we have the same categories of Business Operations, Workflow Operations and People Operations. Also, the Models of the Project Support and the Operation Support Models are the same. The hierarchy that is described by InVision does not overlap with the definition of Superside. They speak of the tribe team management system from Spotify, which is drastically different from the hierarchy defined by InVision.
To sum up, DesignOperations is a word or a term that is used to describe the management of design operations. Most prominently the models of Project Support and Operation Support are used to further define the overall scope of DesignOps within an organization. How the hierarchy is structured and what people are included within that structure, to whom they report and the one who makes decisions, varies.