I love empowering people to continue growing

Design Leadership

Keys to success

Building Teams

Should teams be formed of specialists that work together? Or should they all be generalists? How should tasks be split? Different organisations require different team setups, and that requires a solid hiring strategy.

Scaling Design

Some people say design doesn't scale. However, it is, and it just needs the balance of 3 areas: processes for consistency, Design Systems for efficiency, and creative freedom to ensure there's still room for growth.

Coaching & Performance

After hiring and setting up a team for scaling success, it's essential to track performance, provide good feedback, mentor designers to expand their abilities, and also prepare career paths and roles designers can grow into.

Partnerships

All efforts within the team won't be enough if there are no solid partnerships with other teams around the company. Including others in the process, and building relationships is an important and overlooked part of the process.

Diving deeper

Building Teams

What is the right team structure?
Every organization and team is different. The needs of an agency are not the same as those of a startup, and they are very different from those of a corporation. The way teams interact with others, the company culture, and the type of design determines how a team should be, and how it should work.

How do we hire the best talent?
There are many design wannabes out there: those who can talk really well about design, but not really able to walk the talk. A solid, thorough, and clear hiring process is absolutely necessary to bring the right talent onboard.

Managing Performance

Metrics for designers? Is there such a thing?
There is! Metrics for designers are not as straight-forward as they are for other roles that are more number-driven. They should be tied to your product or services goals, to scalability efforts, and to personal goals.

What can we do to keep designers motivated?
The first step is to not treat designers as production artists. Are you giving them space to create? Or are you just asking them to get something done? Do they have time to research and test? On top of all that: do your designers know how a career path looks like? Do they know what lateral skills they could acquire to be of best benefit to the company? Without a clear direction, designers - and any creative employee - tend to lose motivation quickly.

Scaling Design

I don't think design is scalable, is it?Most people think that design is as scalable as the designer. This is simply not true. Non-scalable design happens when there's no clear direction or principles to guide the design. It happens when we focus in deliverables only.

A Design System is a great start, but it needs to be complemented with strong processes and tools that can help multiple designers stay in sync and deliver creative, yet consistent, solutions.

Isn't a Design System just a style guide?
Nooo! A Design System is much more than your usual style guide. A Design System defines principles, not just pieces of UI. It's as much about direction and consistency as it is about design execution. It's about keeping the team aligned, but ensuring creative freedom too. Not easy, but oh, so worth it.

What is the right team structure?
Every organization and team is different. The needs of an agency are not the same as those of a startup, and they are very different from those of a corporation. The way teams interact with others, the company culture, and the type of design determines how a team should be, and how it should work.

How do we hire the best talent?
There are any design specializations and also many design wannabes out there: those who can talk really well about design, but not really able to walk the talk. A solid, thorough, and clear hiring process is absolutely necessary to bring the right talent onboard.

How does design scale?
Most people still think that design is as scalable as the designer. This is simply not true. Non-scalable design happens when there's no clear direction or principles to guide the design. It happens when we focus on deliverables only. To scale design, we need to find common principles, create common processes, agree on common tools, and create shared assets.

Is a Design System enough?
No. A Design System is a great start and it's definitely a big step towards consistency and scalability. However, it needs to be complemented with strong processes and tools that can help multiple designers stay in sync and deliver creative, yet consistent, solutions.

How is design going to be measured?
Metrics for designers are not as straight-forward as they are for other roles that are more number-driven. They should be tied to your product or services goals, to scalability efforts, and to your team's personal goals.

What can we do to keep designers motivated?
The first step is to not treat designers as production artists. Are we giving them space to solve problems? Or are we just asking them to get something done? Do they have time to research and test the solutions?

Besides the actual execution - do designers know what a career path looks like in the organization? Do they know what lateral skills they could acquire to be of best benefit to the company?

Without a clear direction, designers - like any creative employee - tend to lose motivation quickly.

How do designers and developers work together?
Most organizations show a friction between the design and development teams. This is as common as it is avoidable. The best solutions come from teams that respect, understand, and support each other. It all starts with showing and expecting empathy, building relationships, and including each other in the process.

How does business fit in the picture?
In most places business comes up with a solution that asks designers to execute upon. On the best places, however, the business provides a problem and works together with designers coming up with the best solution possible.

Business has the domain knowledge, and the overview on budgets and urgencies. Design provides creativity to come up with the best ideas that fit all constraints, and get them done.

Thinking about something I could help you with?