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Liftoff! Practical Design Leadership to Elevate Your Team, Your Organization, and You

Top designers are often thrust into leadership roles, and it’s easy to forget that these two roles do not require the same skillset. In this episode, design managers and Liftoff! co-authors Chris Avore and Russ Unger discuss the mistakes and lessons they—and MANY others—have made in their new book, four years in the works. Liftoff! is a guide for new leaders looking for guidance about managing design teams effectively, and established managers who want to level up their expertise.

Videoconference: Talent Acquisition and Our Responsibility

So much of the work around DE&I is intentionality. Recruiting should be happening at all levels at all times, at times latent and at times active. This is the work of an entire organization but as design leaders we can mandate this in our code of ethics. In the conversation we will talk about the ways to be and remain persistent and committed to building diverse internal communities.

Videoconference: Culture Design with Michelle Morrison

Michelle Morrison is a seasoned design operator who loves people-centered problems. She started her Design Ops career at Square.

Figure It Out: Getting from Information to Understanding

Many years in the works, Figure It Out is coming out in May 2020! In this episode, authors Stephen P. Anderson and Karl Fast discuss the complex world of information (think incomprehensible tax policies to confusing medical explanations) we are faced with, and the ways in which information can be transformed into better presentations, better meetings, better software, and better decisions. Stephen also shares a personal anecdote about part of the inspiration for the book.

Take the 2020 DesignOps Survey

We’re all still figuring out DesignOps and ResearchOps; let’s do it together! Please help us learn more about what you need to develop and improve your organization’s DesignOps and ResearchOps efforts by filling out our survey. Your responses will shape the program for the 2020 DesignOps Summit conference. And we’ll share what we’ve learned with you via the DesignOps community newsletter and site. As added incentive, you’ll be entered to win one of three $100 gift certificates for Rosenfeld Media books.

Videoconference: “8 Types of Measures in Design Operations” with Kristin Skinner and Kamdyn Moore

In this webinar, we’ll identify techniques, tactics, and tools for proving (and even measuring) value, and describing the outcomes that matter most.

Videoconference recording: Scale is Social Work

Ask any design leader and the word scale is most definitely a part of their job description. In this session, Jacqui Frey, Senior Director of Design Operations at Mailchimp, will share her successes and failures with scaling design through DesignOps.

Engaged: Designing for Behavior Change with author Amy Bucher

In this episode, Amy and Lou Rosenfeld discuss the ethics of data collection, self-determination theory, fitness apps, her new book, and more.

Videoconference recording: Gatekeepers and Servant Leadership with Kevin Bethune

Kevin Bethune is the Founder and Chief Creative Officer of dreams • design + life, a “think tank” that delivers design & innovation services using a human-centered approach. 

The Lens of Language: authors Andy Welfle and Michael J. Metts on why Writing Is Designing

Michael Metts and Andy Welfle, authors of the new Rosenfeld Media book Writing Is Designing, get meta and discuss writing about UX writing with Lou Rosenfeld. They also stress the importance of looking through the “lens of language,” when solving problems – reworking your existing language to make things clear from the outset, rather than fixing problems by adding more copy later.

Dear Alison: “I’m creating job titles for DesignOps roles and need some other models for reference.” 

Good question! As these are early days, there is still some ambiguity in general around what role to hire for, never mind what titles should be. We have been having this conversation in one way or another for years. In the past we spoke of project management, program management, producer, etc. and debated nomenclature vs. semantics. And in this nascent discipline, I think the roles (and ambiguity) are analogous.

Dear Kate: “How do I protect our fledgling ResearchOps practice from scope creep?”

Theo Bridge, Senior Manager, Design Research at ANZ: “Our business understands the value of establishing a ResearchOps practice. But how do I help our business align on where we should start, prioritize our efforts and protect it from scope creep?”

Videoconference recording: “Leading with Design Operations past and present” with Bob Baxley, December 19, 4pm ET

In this conversation, Bob and Alison will discuss why it’s so hard to hire designers and the criticality of advocacy for the profession in order to attract emerging talent, the myth of the unicorn designer, and in light of all of this why companies are wrong to fight back against the idea of remote design teams.

4 new episodes of the Rosenfeld Review podcast: DesignOps leaders at UberEats, Shopify, J.P. Morgan Chase, Docusign, and more

Many of our most recent episodes have covered Design Operations and Research Operations—topics on many people’s minds of late.

XPLANE’s DesignOps Canvas

Set the stage for conversations in your organization, think through your needs, plans, and goals, and ask the right questions. Then, use this canvas to capture your ideas and insights in one place.

How to select and develop individuals for successful agile teams: A practical guide

In order to enable “agile” design teams (and processes) there are ways you can screen the teams you are leading to develop a more effective way of managing the process and impact on the output.

Building a User Research Panel

“Even though we provide incentives to participate in our research studies, our desire is to recruit individuals for whom the incentive is a token of gratitude, not their primary reason for participating in the research.” Read more in LexisNexis’s Jeanette
Fuccella’s article.

The Partnership Lens

Charles Eames understood that Ray was an equal partner in their creations, and he was always eager to acknowledge her integral role. “Anything I can do, Ray can do better,” he said

Videoconference: “Design Maturity and the opportunity space for Design Ops ” with Leah Buley, December 12, 4pm ET

Videoconference recordings are available for free to all members of our DesignOps Community. Not a member? Sign up here. You’ll receive

Videoconference recording: “People, not Petri Dishes: Stories from a Research Recruiter” with Sarit Geertjes

Less than a year ago, we opened an in-house participant recruitment service at Atlassian, a 3,000+ employees tech company, for anyone who wanted to do research. During that year, the team grew to two people, we learned a lot, and then we scaled it back. In this talk, I will share what our main learnings were, the pitfalls of opening a free-for-all recruitment service, and some of my top participant recruitment tips.

Need Research Operations Advice?

What’s your burning question about Research Operations? Our advice columnist Kate Towsey (Research Operations Manager, Atlassian) can answer—or find someone

What are your burning Design Operations questions?

What’s your burning question about DesignOperations? Our advice columnist Alison Rand (Senior Director, Head of Design Operations at InVision) can answer—or find someone who can!

What you missed in our last Insider Newsletter

One of the benefits of joining our community is our carefully curated Insider Newsletter—here’s a taste of what we shared most recently. Join to receive the next one.

Videoconference recording available: September 12, 4pm ET, “Multipurpose Communication & UX Research Marketing” with Molly Fargotstein

Despite our clear value in informing product and advocating for our customers, UX Research (UXR) tends to have a lot to prove within most companies. Collecting lessons and dodging roadblocks along the way, we tested and evolved different methods set out to evangelize UX Research insights, share findings between teams, define and demystify UX Research and prove value for UXR throughout the company. What does that even look like? Molly will tell you.

Recording available, “The State of ResearchOps: More Than Just Theory” with Kate Towsey, 4pm ET June 20

In this talk, Kate will share insight into the state of ResearchOps today, talk about current and potential ResearchOps opportunities and challenges, and share what she thinks the future holds for this emerging practice.

Videoconference: August 8, 4pm ET, Global Research Panels with Wyatt Hayman

In this talk, Wyatt will conduct a deep dive into the Airbnb Global Research Panels, the program he has been developing at Airbnb over the past 2-years.

Videoconference recording available: “Start Small for Big Impact” with Saskia Liebenberg

Organizations often start thinking about implementing operations support when they get to a certain size – when things start breaking or something goes massively wrong, when it becomes an imperative for existence. But there is massive benefit from building a research ops function much earlier on in your team growth. Saskia Liebenberg will explain how she’s implemented research ops at Deliveroo in a team of 10 researchers, and how she’s used the ResearchOps framework to build a strategy that supports the team in their specific context.

Videoconference recording now available: “About Design___ Organizations” with John Maeda

In this session, John Maeda and community co-curator Alison Rand will dive into section 2 of the report and discuss Design Org maturity and how that relates to culture, talent, leaders, systems, and operations.

DesignOps Summit 2019 — Call for Presentations

The submission deadline is EOD Monday, May 27. Please note: required fields are marked by an asterisk—and the more information you provide, the better.

Videoconference recording available: Results of our program survey

We received 125 responses to our survey on the state of Design and Research Operations, and what you want to see covered at DesignOps Summit 2019 (October 23-25 in Brooklyn, NY). During our next community videoconference, Abby Covert and her conference co-curators will present initial results and lead a discussion on the zeitgeist of DesignOps and how you can participate in this year’s conference program.

Videoconference recording, deck, and chat transcript now available – Distributed DesignOps Management with Jilanna Wilson

Struggling to manage Design Operations in a distributed environment? ZenDesk’s Jilanna Wilson knows your pain; join her for a discussion that’ll cover a variety of topics that are challenging Design and Research Operations managers.

Videoconference recording now available – Research Repositories Reconsidered – February 14th, 11am EST, Michele Marut

An archive of past videoconferences is available to all members of our DesignOps Community.

#WhatIsResearchOps #any #way?

One of the most exciting developments over the past year has been the emergence of the ResearchOps community—especially its organic and distributed effort to define the practice of research operations.

Videoconference recording now available – January 17, Nathan Curtis

Missed the call? Past recordings are available to all members of our DesignOps Community. Not a member? Sign up at the top of this page. (You’ll also receive invitations to future calls.)

Maria Skaaden – Continuous Design – One eye on the horizon and the other on the next wave

How do you create the conditions for delivering a great customer experience on a rapidly changing platform? In 2016, Norway’s national railway company began building a new technology platform. As designers, we yearned to address the customer’s actual needs and desires, not just a fresh look and technical upgrade. But with no process, principles, tools, or internal design resources, where do you start?

DesignOps as Service: Talking Adaptive Mapping with Michael Polivka

To most designers, DesignOps sounds like a necessary evil. But not to Michael Polivka, Chief of Staff for Experience Design at Autodesk. Michael talks with Lou about how DesignOps actually serves product teams.

Seeing Around Corners: Making Sense of DesignOps with Kristin Skinner

Kristin Skinner, Head of Design Management at Capital One, chats with Lou about the core values of DesignOps and how these ideas are shaking up the traditional corporate structure for the better.

DesignOps in a Post-Industrial World: Crash-Coursing Complex Systems with Jeff Sussna

Lou and Jeff Sussna discuss the challenge of synthesizing development and operations in a digital world. How do you scale design as part of a responsive digital business when everyone is digital?

Exploring the DesignOps Definition: A Chat with Dave Malouf

Lou sat down with Dave to talk about the emerging framework of DesignOps, and how it’s more than just design combined with operations.

Design is About Understanding People: A Chat with Irene Au

Lou talks with Irene Au, Design Partner at Khosla Ventures, about her work with setting up companies with robust design practices, and why user research is an investment every company should make.

From Design Thinking to Design Doing: A Chat with IBM’s Doug Powell

How do you build an enterprise design organization from the top down, and turn design thinking into design doing? Lou

DesignOps Summit Closing Keynote – Doug Powell – Design at Scale

Doug Powell, Distinguished Designer at IBM, will expose what it means to practice design at the global tech company, exploring the inner workings of the largest UX design operation in the world.

Hana Nagel – Turning Research Ripples into Waves

By building collaboration, connection and community, you can bring enough people together to turn research ripples into waves.

Courtney Kaplan – Taking it to the Next Level – Career Paths in DesignOps

Courtney Kaplan talks about how you can define opportunities for your team, find the right challenges for talent, and provide support in creating an impactful discipline.

Holly Cole – Understanding Experiences

How do you grow your understanding, internally, to improve your teams? First things first, you have to understand the processes and experiences that are going on right now. That takes research. So, let’s get meta.

Jason Mesut – Shaping Design, Designers and Teams

Jason shares the latest of his work over the past decade developing visual frameworks for design teams, leaders and designers to map their skills and define their future professional development.

Jacqui Frey – Flow and Superfluidity for Design Orgs

Jacqui Frey will show how MailChimp stepped outside of design and drew from patterns in nature and human behavior to envision DesignOps programs, frameworks, systems, and metrics to scale their design organization.

Dan Willis – Filling the Void

When we talk about DesignOps, the focus is frequently on scaling existing design systems and supporting established design teams. But the U.S. Digital Service’s Dan Willis tells a different kind of story about a federal agency that used DesignOps practices to address a multi-million-dollar business problem.

Panel Discussion – Methodologies and Work Environments

How might we implement DesignOps and ResearchOps in an agile environment or team? A distributed team? A small design organization? A massive organization?

Miles Orkin – Creativity and Culture

How do you keep teams inspired, engaged, and intrinsically motivated to deliver meaningful, resonant, innovative work? Miles Orkin, UX Vision and Culture lead for Google Cloud, will describe (and maybe even demonstrate) some key ingredients for cultivating culture.

Jennifer Kanyamibwa – Creating the Blueprint – Growing and Building Design Teams

Building a team is like building a tribe. Jennifer will focus on the complexities, celebrations and challenges of building a design team and what she has learned through the course of her career.

Panel Discussion – Integrating DesignOps

What does it take to integrate DesignOps into your organization? How about ResearchOps? How do you merge strategies, align goals, integrate processes, and connect people to ensure that design and research can be effective and truly scale?

Alëna Iouguina – Designing Systems at Scale

This talk covers the common threads of these failures, how they can be detected and ultimately prevented using various research disciplines – from market research to anthropology to data science. We need to get good at designing and building for systems to tackle multi-dimensional problems at the intersection of people and technology.

Neema Mahdavi – Operationalizing DesignOps

Today’s problems are often yesterday’s solutions—quick fix solutions often perpetuate the problem or circumvent them completely. How can we identify the right opportunities for DesignOps & ensure the processes or programs that emerge are successful?

Mark Boulton – Ops without Designers

Science orgs typically lack designers and for good reason; there is no product. The focus is on data. The currency is discovery. Why spend money on a designer when we need to buy a new microscope? So how do we create a better experience through design for science?

Chris Moses – Stretching the Definition of DesignOps with Product Development

When is DesignOps about more than building tools and systems that improve the effectiveness of R&D? For athenahealth, the DesignOps team has housed two cross-product teams—by organizational necessity at first—that have become critical early adopters of the instruments and programs their DesignOps colleagues have developed.

Panel Discussion – Communicating the Value of DesignOps

How might we define DesignOps for the purpose of selling the idea and communicating its value organization-wide? How might DesignOps and ResearchOps have a measurable impact?

Brennan Hartich – Communicating and Establishing DesignOps as a New Function

In this session, Brennan covers how DesignOps can partner with other functions, how to pick the right programs to tackle first, and how to measure a new team’s success.

Leisa Reichelt – Opening Keynote DesignOps 2018 – Operating in Context

In this talk, Leisa shares her experience of completely resetting her idea of best practice, implementing a strategy that is the opposite of what everyone expected, and why so few people do what they think is right.