Conference Program

Design Leadership, Management, and Craft for the Enterprise

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Theme 1: Ensuring Craft on a Massive Scale

Making, building, shaping, refining—it’s the fundamental aspects of design craft that matter. And they become even more critical when dealing with millions of users, hundreds of thousands of objects in a database, or dozens of geographies with their own peculiar needs. It takes a combination of skill and perspective to retain your focus while designing at scale. And to get there, it helps to hear first-hand accounts from the people who have lived it, and learn how they solved enterprise-class problems with human-scale craft.

Making, building, shaping, refining—it’s the fundamental aspects of design craft that matter. And they become even more critical when dealing with millions of users, hundreds of thousands of objects in a database, or dozens of geographies with their own peculiar needs. It takes a combination of skill and perspective to retain your focus while designing at scale. And to get there, it helps to hear first-hand accounts from the people who have lived it, and learn how they solved enterprise-class problems with human-scale craft.

You’ll learn how to:

  • Modernize without degrading the product
  • Craft a cohesive UX while navigating mergers and acquisitions
  • Avoid the biggest pitfalls of a re-platforming effort
  • Ensure full accessibility for a diverse audience

Register now for all this, and much more.

Theme 1: Introduction

You’ll learn how to:

  • Modernize without degrading the product
  • Craft a cohesive UX while navigating mergers and acquisitions
  • Avoid the biggest pitfalls of a re-platforming effort
  • Ensure full accessibility for a diverse audience

Designing “at scale” assumes conceptual consensus on what the particular levels of that ‘scale’ actually are. In the last few years, UX professionals have specialized into UX researchers, product designers, service designers design strategists, etc. Nowadays, we’re also witnessing the debut of a new term: “system designers”. But do we really understand how these job titles and subthemes of UX fit within that scale of complexity in design?

In this presentation, we’ll introduce the basic levels of a scale of design, articulate how common UX job titles fit on the scale, and map how the work we commonly tackle in both research and design should also be informed by the scale of the problem we’re addressing. We’re also going to critique the (somewhat misguided) ways the current world of UX is handling the widespread growth in the complexity of our work.

Scaling an organization or even just a product, inevitably means dealing with your legacy. Through both they and their colleagues’ extensive experience with legacy modernization work, Meaghan and Fotina found one consistent theme.

View legacy modernization as purely an engineering effort and the outcome won’t be what you want. Legacy modernization needs to be designed. It needs to fit into an overall product strategy and examined through the same lenses of customer, business, and tech impact as anything else. Otherwise you’re just immediately building a new legacy, not something that can scale with you.

Break

Mergers & Acquisitions are a norm in today’s business environment. In majority of the cases, the acquired company has to align with the parent company in all aspects of business including Product Design. I have worked in companies where growing revenue and customer base via M&A is a company strategy and have worked in all the facets to align product user experiences of parent & acquired companies to ensure all that products look like they are coming from one company. The key design principle I have used to solve this is UX Consistency. Consistency is a key principle in life and in design. We identified what are the UX elements and interactions that need to be consistent across all products and worked with all the 10-15 design teams to democratically get consensus and agree on a common design. Its equally important to understand what need not be consistent so that all the product teams have freedom to design the best user experiences for their use-cases and for their users and customers. Product design leaders often try to align all on more consistency (80%) than needed and are unable to achieve their goal. My approach is identifying that 25-30% of UX elements that need to be consistent. Also, the approach how to communicate and align all the different product design teams is also important, especially in a decentralized design environment. Lastly, having design alignment or a common design system is not enough, but ensuring that all the products implement the agreed design consistency across product is the main goal.

Having working in Central UX and de-centralized UX leading Product Design within Product Organization. I understand the needs and priorities from both sides and try to solve it in the best possible way so that everybody wins.
This presentation is very relevant for Design at SCALE conference, as it shows how you can influence and scale to achieve balanced user experience across all products.

Lots of legacy enterprise product suites are being re-platformed to become updated SaaS offerings and offer richer, responsive, device agnostic experiences. While the benefits of such initiatives are many for the business and their customers, it also comes wrought with many major challenges in strategy, technology, time to market and managing change and disruption for the existing customer base. This talk will present a case study and 10 learnings from a 4-year long re-platforming journey of UKG Ready, a HCM product suite. As we follow the journey, we will also learn from UX strategy and contributions at each stage.

Break

The outcome of designing at scale won’t be accessible products unless accessibility practices scale in parallel with design. There are six primary challenges to scaling accessibility:
1) Reliance on human testing which is especially complicated for large/dynamic products.
2) SaaS/Native app “”release whenever you want”” timelines.
3) Third party code/content managers.
4) Achieving “”substantive WCAG conformance””
5) Closing the feedback loop by getting defects/feature requests from people with disabilities into the backlog.
6) Shifting the focus to an accessible experience, not just an accessible product.

Break

Technology teams have finally recognized their social and ethical impacts matter deeply. Tech giants are now pledging to turn over new leaves, to prioritize responsible innovation, and to act in more sustainable and equitable ways. But turning aspirations and promises into operational reality is hard work. Cennydd Bowles, head of responsible design and futures studio NowNext, will report on his findings from years in the ethical technology space. What approaches actually work in growing teams? Is there such a thing as an ethical design process? Should you hire specialists? And who gets to decide what’s ethical, anyway?

Opening Remarks

Theme 2: The Tools for Success in Enterprise Design

Rapid growth is the singular goal for many businesses. It can also be a nightmare for design teams. Growing pains complicate every facet of a design practice: from projects, to teams, and up to the organization as whole. Fortunately, there are clear cut tips and processes for scaling, without compromising the quality of the work. The right design team, armed with a toolkit of these methods, can successfully navigate the minefields of growth and produce inspired enterprise design at any size.

Rapid growth is the singular goal for many businesses. It can also be a nightmare for design teams. Growing pains complicate every facet of a design practice: from projects, to teams, and up to the organization as whole. Fortunately, there are clear cut tips and processes for scaling, without compromising the quality of the work. The right design team, armed with a toolkit of these methods, can successfully navigate the minefields of growth and produce inspired enterprise design at any size.

You’ll learn how to:

  • Refresh and and simplify enterprise design without adding obstacles
  • Drive a company-wide project—without a design team
  • Use a self-service model to scale design capabilities
  • Solve enterprise challenges with swarm creativity
  • Leverage critiques for quality scaling

Register now for all this, and much more.

Theme 2: Introduction

You’ll learn how to:

  • Refresh and and simplify enterprise design without adding obstacles
  • Drive a company-wide project—without a design team
  • Use a self-service model to scale design capabilities
  • Solve enterprise challenges with swarm creativity
  • Leverage critiques for quality scaling

In enterprise organizations, product development work, and therefore, design work, typically happens within a specific business unit or organization. Dedicated and embedded squads means there is a close and tight feedback loop between team members.

But what happens when your company kicks off an initiative that spans across business units? How do you resource and run a design project with no dedicated designers? This case study will cover how we set out a vision, structured communications, built up an ad-hoc design team, shipped our first cross-organization product and all the lessons we learned along the way.

The design team at BBVA Mexico, with more than 170 designers, has the challenge of bringing design to the 600+ projects the organization works on at any given time for them to better achieve the goals of each project in a user-centered way. Because of the limited capacity of the design team, this meant that many projects with design needs were left unattended, managing to solve their needs with whatever resources they had at hand.

To address this, Design at Scale was born, an initiative that aims to develop design capabilities in BBVA, through tools, processes and coaching that helps teams that meet certain criteria to work under a self-management model.

Through their talk Nora and Giovanna will share their journey in implementing Design at Scale at BBVA.

Break

Making design simple in siloed and dated governmental organization with a baggage of tradition and slumped public reception is not an easy task. This talk presents a case study transforming a large government-regulated gambling monopoly from the product-driven world of the past into the emergent and rapidly shifting markets where the customer is placed front and center. How to refresh an organization without causing more obstacles? Organizing for continuous learning and allowing natural competence development can be achieved with reviewing the foundations of the business model and design organization. This talk presents solutions from the presented case study.

Enterprises, even those with mature design practices, find is difficult to tap into the creativity of all of its workforce. Yet unleashing that broad creativity is more needed more than ever as success of teams depends on having the nimbleness of an ant farm to adapt and find their way around obstacles. Enterprise design processes, systems and ops are often tied to old top-down command/control organizational models. Design Swarms is an approach that has been used and adopted by teams within companies like Amazon, Amgen, Autodesk, Callison, Deutsche Bank, Lilly, T-Mobile, Microsoft, and REI to unleash swarm creativity at scale.

Break

In the last 20 years as a Designer/Researcher, Joe Meersman has learned a thing or two about quality and scale. Join him for a presentation that outlines tactics for delivering quality outcomes, regardless of team size, by practicing critiques. One part Design Ops, one part Design School, Joe will provide actionable tips for facilitating critiques that will improve User Experiences.

Break

We’re always looking to create a high level of design literacy across our organizations, but how do this in a way that creates its own momentum? Wendy Johansson, global product experience leader at Amazon, will share her tried and true methods in scaling design education within orgs of all sizes as a means of scaling design.

Opening Remarks

Theme 3: Keeping People at the Center of an Expanding Enterprise

User Experience can only be as good as the people who drive it. And the world’s largest organizations are composed of individuals, each with their own skills and approach to design and research. Focusing on team culture is nice, but every employee has different needs and a different career trajectory. Simply put, the craft and process of enterprise design gets you nowhere without the right people working with the right values. To reliably and effectively scale at the enterprise level, you need to foster true communities of people with a shared vision and real purpose.

User Experience can only be as good as the people who drive it. And the world’s largest organizations are composed of individuals, each with their own skills and approach to design and research. Focusing on team culture is nice, but every employee has different needs and a different career trajectory. Simply put, the craft and process of enterprise design gets you nowhere without the right people working with the right values. To reliably and effectively scale at the enterprise level, you need to foster true communities of people with a shared vision and real purpose.

You’ll learn how to:

  • Lead organizational change with empathy
  • Foster true community over office culture
  • Scale at a truly human level
  • Push for large-scale innovation with limited resources
  • Gracefully transition from management to IC

Register now for all this, and much more.

Theme 3: Introduction

You’ll learn how to:

  • Lead organizational change with empathy
  • Foster true community over office culture
  • Scale at a truly human level
  • Push for large-scale innovation with limited resources
  • Gracefully transition from management to IC

Design at scale is perhaps the most interesting challenge facing the design industry right now. How do you maintain quality and not get bogged down as your team grows? Much of the discussion focuses on systems and processes, but that starting with systems runs exactly contrary to the true value that design brings to companies, which is a humanistic and creative problem-framing and problem-solving approach. In other words, this focus on systems could ironically undercut design’s potential within organizations. In this talk, I stress how “Design at Scale” is humanism at scale, and share what’s needed to keep people at the center of this work.

Organizations of all sizes often struggle to reap the full benefits of change, especially in times of transformation, despite huge investments in technology and process. This is often because employees don’t understand how their role is changing. It may seem simple to just clarify roles and responsibilities, but as with consumer facing products, people are unique, complex, and motivated by factors that aren’t always easy to discover. Additionally, designing for the employee can also mean designing for stakeholder buy-in.

This is a story about a real world approach to building practical application of empathy across multiple disciplines and reporting lines, overcoming reservations, navigating politics, with the goal of building a lasting partnership where employee UX design/execution is a team sport and never outsourced.

Break

People know a good company culture when they experience it, but the larger a company becomes, the harder it becomes to maintain and embody that culture. Culture is often about how people fit within a company and their work environment. Communities are the living, breathing manifestation of the people within it: they bring people together around a shared vision and purpose. By shifting focus from culture to community, you shift to a more scalable, human-centered experience that brings people together and makes a company-wide impact.

It’s always a tough balance between speed and scale for any project. But what happens when dropping either is not an option? When the current pandemic first hit US, Salesforce wanted to respond and bring solutions to market at a lightning speed to help governments and companies to combat the crisis. Following normal development cadence was not an option, and reducing scope to a couple features didn’t align with the vision and impact we wanted to bring to the table.

In the midst of ambiguity, uncertainty, and anxiety, design and research at Salesforce became the leading force to bring big picture and clarity to the project, aligning a dozen cross-functional teams and making sure we were creating the right solutions from early stage ideas all the way to pushing code to production.

In this talk, Sophie will share the journey of how design and research at Salesforce push for large-scale innovation with limited resources at hand, and the lessons learned along the way.

As UX teams scale how might we build the careers of veteran individual contributors who feel compelled to go into management to advance? Often UXers view management as the only option to lead others, be impactful, and grow their careers. There is an opportunity for talented ICs to embrace UX leadership outside of management, leveraging their intuition and leadership skills to build better products faster. Edward Cupps will leverage his experience over this past 18 months, having moved from director to principal, to highlight the possible challenges, opportunities, and rewards of such a role for scaling teams and individuals.