Introduction to Design Operations

November 9, 2018 8:30 am - 5:30 pm

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Dave Malouf


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Introduction to Design Operations

Historically, design practices have focused on process, methods, and craft. But this limits design’s potential—design leaders can provide more value to their organizations by implementing robust DesignOps. In Introduction to Design Operations, Dave Malouf will introduce participants to the three lenses of DesignOps, and how each one helps an organization increase the value it gets from its design practice. Participants will learn frameworks from strategic thinking and service design so they can start developing their own operational models for their design practices.

Who this is for

This workshop is for people who are in the early stages of thinking about or already starting a design operations practice in their organizations. They will learn a broad and flexible definition of design operations as well as tangible activities for how to start.

Problem statement

No matter how well a design practice is executing their craft within their processes, they often face operational challenges as they scale in size, complexity, and scope. Design leaders experience issues like poor design team engagement and poorer outcomes, especially in the overlap between design intent and design execution. Design teams don’t have the right tools to meet and scale their needs, nor do they have internal and cross-functional systems in place to allow for better communication, asset management, and workflow management.

How this workshop will help

This workshop helps design leaders and managers apply service design mindsets and methods to their own design organization so they can increase the value their design organization contributes to their larger organization. We will review the makeup of an operational model for a design organization, a canvas for insight discovery of breakdowns in your current operational model, and finally, use service blueprinting to imagine a new holistic design operations model.


  • Create a plan and execute DesignOps for managing teams—from recruitment through promotion and even off-boarding
  • Develop assessment criteria to evaluate and select current software for supporting design operations
  • Develop methods for optimizing workflows
  • Integrate DesignOps roles and responsibilities into the wider design organization.

How the day will go

Section 1: What is Design Operations and Why Now?

  • Framing Design Operations as a support structure for Design Practice
  • Forces that are pushing DesignOps to gain attention now
  • The Three Lenses of Design Operations

Section 2: Getting to Your Design Value Proposition

  • How Design adds value to an organization
  • How you want to be valued by the rest of your organization
  • Understanding how your organization currently values your design contributions

Section 3: Finding Your Design Operations Breakdowns

  • Introduction to the DesignOps Canvas
  • Using the DesignOps Canvas to evaluate your current operations

Section 4: Building a New Vision for Your Design Operations

  • Using the DesignOps Canvas to imagine a new Design Operations practice
  • Using a Service Blueprint to push the details of that practice forward