Conference Program

We live—and work—in difficult, punishing times, and designers need more support than ever before. That’s why resilience is our theme for DesignOps 2020; we’ll explore design operations’ role in helping individual designers, design teams, and entire organizations adapt, survive, and thrive.

Session Type:
Time Zone:
Sponsor Session

Design Ops teams take their shape based on the needs of the organization that they support. Listen to this open discussion between Design Ops leaders who have established and grown their teams from scratch. Hear about how they decide what to do first, second, third… and how do they decide on what to not do, even though it may be needed and how do they still manage to champion the things that they value most along the way.

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Opening Remarks

We can’t talk about DesignOps without talking about workplace loneliness. This L word doesn’t just affect those who are working as a team of one. Thousands of designers and DesignOps pros in full teams around the nation are silently suffering from loneliness. This chronic workplace loneliness has a negative impact on individuals, teams, productivity, and company success.

Lonely workers are twice as likely to quit their jobs and around 60 percent of Americans report feeling lonely on a regular basis. When people suffer, so does the bottom line. At the average national voluntary turnover rate of 25 percent, a company of 100 people with an average salary of $50,000 will spend between $625,000 and $2.5 million dollars on staff replacement costs in one year.

Well-connected teams that have a high amount of belonging and inclusion experience greater productivity, improved decision-making, lower expenses and a more efficient and happy workforce. In this talk, Sr. UX Designer and Connection Coach Kat Vellos will share insights from her book We Should Get Together and highlights why its lessons matter for DesignOps more than ever before.

Theme 1: The Resilient DesignOps Team of One

As DesignOps is new, many solo DesignOps practitioners and operations-minded designers are functioning as DesignOps Teams of One. How might these lone operators sustain and scale DesignOps practices, deepen relationships with design teams and organizations, and change culture… all without burning out?

As DesignOps is new, many solo DesignOps practitioners and operations-minded designers are functioning as DesignOps Teams of One. How might these lone operators sustain and scale DesignOps practices, deepen relationships with design teams and organizations, and change culture… all without burning out?

What’s today’s theme all about, and what does it mean for DesignOps professionals? Theme leader Alana Washington will provide you the background you’ll need for how today’s sessions came to be and what they’ll cover. She’ll also gently provoke you with questions to consider throughout the day.

Design operations is not for the faint of heart. In many ways, design operations for the team-of-one is a choose-your-own-adventure game; it’s essential to choose your own path in this new discipline. In this session, you will learn about the challenges encountered, and lessons learned from the perspective of a single-player design operations manager at EA, one of the largest gaming companies in the world. You’ll walk away from this talk with a strategy guide on how to navigate design operations in your organization, and the methods and best practices you can use to be a resilient team-of-one.

Culture is the glue that holds everything together. When our work lives are disrupted and norms shift, your culture can be at risk. Let’s discuss the role that Design Ops plays in designing and upholding company culture. We’ll look at ways to turn your beliefs into behaviors that reinforce healthy creative culture, even in uncertain times.

Break

Sponsor Session

Join our interactive session to learn how to:

  • Create simple wireframes even if you don’t have any design experience to get quick feedback from your team
  • Share your initial proposals with stakeholders without getting caught up in details
  • Organize workshops to wireframe together and get the best ideas from your team in real-time

We will go over best practices of collaborative wireframing and wireframe together in real-time.

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Sponsor Session

Wireframes are not merely design artifacts, they are also effective communication tools. Learn how wireframes can be used in multiple ways throughout the product design process, to ensure that user goals are clear, the design phase is thorough, yet efficient, and developer handoff is predictable and collaborative.

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Sponsor Session

Join us for an overview of how our platform helps enterprise research, design, and product teams succeed with research at scale.

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Of South Africa’s total population, 92% are people of color. In Design however, it’s less than 9%. As a Cape Colored Designer, this made having an identity that my fellow designers could relate to extremely difficult as I am neither Black nor White. In order to navigate a post-apartheid country, I had to realize that belonging nowhere could mean that I, in fact, could belong everywhere. This talk is about the “Cultural Edge Effect” of my heritage and how that has helped me build Enterprise Design teams and attract and build the diverse design skills of South Africa’s future.

Without a culture of safety, people literally can’t think. We can’t collaborate, create, or innovate. That is because as human beings, we are biologically hardwired to belong to a tribe that can protect us from outside threats. Unfortunately, most of us don’t feel a sense of safety in our work tribes. When our work relationships don’t feel safe, we armor up and spend precious energy protecting ourselves from each other instead of learning, collaborating, and well just … working. In this workshop, DesignOps professionals will get practical tools to build and scale the safety of their teams.

Break

Sponsor Session

Learn how WebMD and Gett are using Zeplin to streamline design operations & build optimized design workflows.

Note: This session is first come, first serve for the first 100 participants to join the Zoom.

Sponsor Session

At MURAL, we are determined to help people continue making meaningful connections even when they cannot meet in person. We have teammates around the world who need to collaborate, so we know the frustration and challenges that can arise with remote work.

Join remote collaboration expert Emilia Åström for a session on:

• Tools you need to build a strong digital workspace
• Different ways to work together when you cannot be in the office
• Best practices for remote work teams
• Establishing and building trust with teammates and managers
• Methods to make remote collaboration productive

Everyone who registers will receive our comprehensive guide to building a Remote Work Resiliency Plan to use with their teams.

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Sponsor Session

The line between design and development is getting less clear every day. Despite that, at UXPin we think that there’s still room to improve the communication between both. A common challenge that we face is the drift created when designers hand over to engineers. The intent of DesignOps is to improve the process that many teams have in place to eliminate these kinds of issues. To us, DesignOps should accelerate the design to the deployment lifecycle and tackle this issue by improving the communication between designers and developers.

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For the past 20 years, Dr Karl K. Jeffries has been fascinated by the study of creativity. In this presentation, he shares some of what he has learnt about creativity and how it applies to DesignOps professionals. Whether you consider yourself creative or not, the science of creativity has much to offer professional design practice in all its many forms. As a critical 21st-century skill, having an informed understanding of creativity is crucial to navigating the next five years. In this presentation, Dr Jeffries begins to explore a few insights to ignite your interest in creativity for DesignOps.

A design process is only as good as the people who run it, no matter how “efficient” the process claims to be. This talk will cover the circumstances of a case study and the strategies that took place to establish and maintain momentum on a product that didn’t have a direction. With the collaboration of a team in “flow,” the work seemed (sometimes unbelievably) natural, enabling and empowering everybody not only to trust each other, but also to trust themselves in their own decision making and their own exploration of their craft and strengths with mutual trust and respect.

BBVA began 2019 with a full scale re-org based on agile principles, for the design team in Mexico that re-org included dismantling the 3 years old designOps team because it was considered redundant and a simple admin job that other teams could do. Regretfully it ended in a complete disaster and a steep decline in the quality of the design team with the following project problems and complaints of executives and stakeholders regarding the user experience. This was only stopped by rebuilding a more resilient and integral designOps team, revisiting shortcomings and failures of the Head of design and the team’s effort to rebuild itself.

Sponsor Session

Opening Reception Sponsored by Bloomberg LP and Rosenfeld Media

Get ready to party hearty with our Platinum Premier sponsor, Bloomberg LP, Rosenfeld Media, and DesignOps Summit 2020 attendees. Start by leaving your stress in the rear-view mirror (we’ll have a mindfulness expert on hand), watch a mentalist read attendees’ minds (if you believe), view a fantastic UX video based on the play, Hamilton (it’s election time after all), and prepare for plenty of speed-networking with your design operations peers. Lots of reasons to join the fun at our Opening Reception!

Get ready to party hearty with our Platinum Premier sponsor, Bloomberg LP, Rosenfeld Media, and DesignOps Summit 2020 attendees. Start by leaving your stress in the rear-view mirror (we’ll have a mindfulness expert on hand), watch a mentalist read attendees’ minds (if you believe), view a fantastic UX video based on the play, Hamilton (it’s election time after all), and prepare for plenty of speed-networking with your design operations peers. Lots of reasons to join the fun at our Opening Reception!

Sponsor Session

Our 30-minute live demo gives you basic, hands-on guidance to using MURAL effectively. We cover a range of topics from the basics of adding content onto the canvas to common use cases, depending on the audience.

View the session recording

Sponsor Session

Most Design Ops practitioners are skilled at dealing with ambiguity at the project level, but doing this within a newly established org takes dealing with ambiguity to the next level. This panel discussion will feature members of the Verizon Design Ops team where they will discuss being a part of a team in the early stages of forming, and how COVID-19 has helped and hindered their work.

Watch the session recording

Opening Remarks

The 2019 design census states that 3% of the design industry are African American/Black designers while 71% are White/Caucasian. Anthropologists Audrey and Brian Smedley wrote “Race in the American mind was and is a statement about profound and unbridgeable differences…It conveys the meaning of social distance that cannot be transcended.” Racism is divisive and destructive. DesignOps practitioners often find themselves facilitating difficult conversations, pointing out disparities, and creating safe environments for teams to do their best work. So, how do we as practitioners remain resilient when faced with the complexities of racism within our organizations? The goal of this talk is to provide a protocol in which design leaders can engage uncomfortable conversations to help teams become more inclusive. We will explore an often overlooked yet valuable source to ensure the future effectiveness of our design practice, black youth.

Listen to Vincent on the Rosenfeld Review podcast.

Theme 2: The Resilient DesignOps Team

As organizations shift, grow, and react to outside influences, DesignOps teams need to adapt and pivot too. How might your team maintain its resilience in the face of constant change? And what metrics will help keep your team’s work consistent and sustainable?

As organizations shift, grow, and react to outside influences, DesignOps teams need to adapt and pivot too. How might your team maintain its resilience in the face of constant change? And what metrics will help keep your team’s work consistent and sustainable?

What’s today’s theme all about, and what does it mean for DesignOps professionals? Theme leader Kristin Skinner will provide you the background you’ll need for how today’s sessions came to be and what they’ll cover. She’ll also gently provoke you with questions to consider throughout the day.

The hustle of “Uber 1.0” (moving fast and breaking things) is still remnant in parts of Uber’s culture today. As a DesignOps team of two to start, Maggie had to break through many barriers to help quickly and effectively implement a new practice. Within one year, the team grew to 14 Design Program Managers working across 6 global, distributed design studios. How does a team scale and find their voice amidst many cultural challenges, negative news cycles, and multiple rounds of layoffs? This talk will explore how DesignOps can remain a constant pillar of reliability when the structures around a Design team are constantly evolving.

The IBM CIO portfolio is comprised of thousands of tools and services. Given the organization’s obsession with the IBMer experience and their desire to positively impact IBMer productivity, it is extremely important that they allocate their scarce Design & Research talent to the projects that have the greatest impact on IBMers’ work experience. To this end, they have refined their staffing processes and developed a new metric, The Design Staffing Score, that allows them to measure the degree to which their staffing approach aligns with project priority. Patrick will describe their refined approach to staffing, how progress is measured, and the tangible benefits they’ve realized.

Break

Sponsor Session

COVID-19 forced nearly the entire global financial community to work remotely. Screen real estate was dramatically reduced, as traders transitioned from multiple 4K monitors on a trading floor to a single laptop screen in their home office. The design solution—adapt the Bloomberg Terminal experience to fewer smaller screens—was straightforward. Executing that solution required UX-led collaboration, organization, and cross-functional commitment from product, engineering, and sales, all in a very short period of time.

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Sponsor Session

Join us to learn about the invisible work of getting to know your stakeholders, building advocates of your work and maximizing your influence within and outside your organization.

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Sponsor Session

Wireframes are not merely design artifacts, they are also effective communication tools. Learn how wireframes can be used in multiple ways throughout the product design process, to ensure that user goals are clear, the design phase is thorough, yet efficient, and developer handoff is predictable and collaborative.

View the session recording 

DesignOps is all about scaling up design teams while creating organizational efficiencies yet it is not always evident how impact and gained efficiencies can be quantified and measured. There’s a certain confusion around what are the inefficiencies and there is no established process to determine those metrics. This session is not about providing a list of metrics to be replicated. It’s about providing a tested approach on how to identify, quantify, and measure inefficiencies and how to define measurable and realistic targets. This approach can be applied and replicated in any context to support the DesignOps community to gain additional credibility and to ensure DesignOps professionals are able to demonstrate the value of their work to the business with objective data points and quantifiable gains.

Most content design leaders stretch their teams to cover many products at once, or sometimes 5-10 or more. This unintentionally causes the team to constantly switch context, drive less product impact, lag in their career development, earn less pay, and ultimately burn out and leave, only to repeat the cycle elsewhere. This as normal… but it shouldn’t be. I’ll show you how we redesigned content design to increase people’s focus and depth of work, multiply their product and business impact, and even accelerate their growth and compensation… all by working on just one product at a time.

Break

Sponsor Session

Learn how WebMD and Gett are using Zeplin to streamline design operations & build optimized design workflows.

 

Sponsor Session

In this workshop, Linda Quarles, Director, Strategy and Organization Design from frog Design will walk you through the four principles of remote workshop facilitation: asynchronous participation; breaking the ice; choice and spontaneity; and honesty and feelings. Learn how to set up a Miro board, navigate through creating breakout groups, and align on decisions.

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Sponsor Session

Join us for a look at how the Handrail research management platform helps enterprise teams collaborate efficiently and effectively – even when you’re remote or working across time zones.

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Leading a team during the pandemic may seem impossible given it’s likely the most stressful time of your team’s lives. Recently, I lead our team through a design sprint where we explored improving unemployment benefit access in the middle of the pandemic, which required us to shift how we work. In this talk, I’ll share how we reimagined collaboration, communication, and processes to reduce the stress load while maintaining forward momentum. Together as leaders, we’ll explore how to ethically lead our teams while keeping their resiliency in mind and bring these learnings into the post COVID work life.

You’ll come away knowing

  1. How to collaborate without borders — workflows and tools to successfully execute high quality designs (Dropbox, Sketch, Figma, etc)
  2. Management techniques for remote leaders and how to establish trust and goals.
  3. Best practices for team alignment, particularly when you’re not in the same office or time zone.
  4. What work-life balance means to Ana, particularly now that WFH is the global norm.

Our teams are living through unprecedented times. With the weight of everything unfolding around us, it’s easy to feel that our work is inconsequential. However, DesignOps teams have more power to influence change than we realize. In this session, we’ll discuss how the small decisions we make every day impact our teams, our companies and our communities. We’ll take a look at how our operations can empower teams to operate with a greater sense of purpose.

Wrap Up

Itching to meet your DesignOps fellow travelers? We’ve got you covered with an hour of speed-networking and other social activities. And we can’t think of better people to get us socializing than Alison Rand, Rosenfeld Media’s DesignOps Community curator, and Meredith Black, co-founder of the DesignOps Assembly.

Sponsor Session

Our 30-minute live demo gives you basic, hands-on guidance to using MURAL effectively. We cover a range of topics from the basics of adding content onto the canvas to common use cases, depending on the audience.

 

Sponsor Session

New York State recently released COVID Alert NY, a mobile contact tracing app that will alert the user if they come into close contact with someone else who later tests positive for the virus. Hear the designers of the app talk about their experience collaborating remotely across three time zones on this high stakes project. What processes and tools were helpful when designing an app that needed to explain a complex concept to the state’s 19.4 million residents in a way that would be universally understood, accessible, and available in 13 languages?

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Opening Remarks

“There’s something about the title or the idea of the chief of staff that seems to be in the zeitgeist.” — Chris Whipple, “The Gatekeepers”

The role of Chief of Staff is trending across all industries, but for some the journey is unorthodox and may require good timing and a strong pitch to create the role. Add to the adventure that no two Chief of Staff roles are likely to be the same.

Lisa will share her journey from UX to Design Ops to Chief of Staff, including some of the methods that she uses to make her way: be the beacon, spread the light, and support your team, even in times of high anxiety.

Theme 3: The Resilient DesignOps Organization

When your design organization has scaled up to hundreds of people, it’s no longer a design practice. It’s a design business. And it needs to address big, messy issues—like accessibility, governance, and creating and proving business value—at scale. How might your DesignOps organization navigate these thorny issues while continuing to grow and operate sustainably?

When your design organization has scaled up to hundreds of people, it’s no longer a design practice. It’s a design business. And it needs to address big, messy issues—like accessibility, governance, and creating and proving business value—at scale. How might your DesignOps organization navigate these thorny issues while continuing to grow and operate sustainably?

What’s today’s theme all about, and what does it mean for DesignOps professionals? Theme leader Dave Malouf will provide you the background you’ll need for how today’s sessions came to be and what they’ll cover. He’ll also gently provoke you with questions to consider throughout the day.

The Cigna Digital Design Operations stood up a new Digital Accessibility and AccessbilityOps team. Digital accessibility as a general term is the inclusive practice of ensuring that digital products (websites, apps, PDFs, etc.) can be used by everyone — including those with a disability or physical impairment — while retaining functionality and usability. Our team ran into many roadblocks including establishing processes, team structure, organizational support, and human resource issues, including onboarding a new team member who was blind. This case study showcases the steps, challenges, and lessons learned standing up a Digital Accessibility Ops team at a Fortune 100 Health Insurance company.

Business leaders now recognize the Business Value of Design, but how about the importance of Design in driving our Business Values? DesignOps plays an essential role in defining how individuals, teams, and organizations think and operate. Now comes the next chapter – operationalizing our values. As system designers who establish new processes, scale best practices, connect teams, and facilitate alignment, how might we utilize our DesignOps superpowers to unlock greater business value for our stakeholders, customers, and communities? Together, we’ll examine how Design Ops is leading the way to put business values like collaboration, equity, and innovation into practice.

Break

Sponsor Session

Wireframes are not merely design artifacts, they are also effective communication tools. Learn how wireframes can be used in multiple ways throughout the product design process, to ensure that user goals are clear, the design phase is thorough, yet efficient, and developer handoff is predictable and collaborative.

View the session recording

Personal story of how we not only improved the way of how designers worked with the other team members and external stakeholders but also found the ways to automate the routine work.

The goal of the story is to motivate other people to build custom scripts, plugins, extensions, and products. Also, we’ll cover how open source projects can help to increase brand awareness to attract the best talents in the world. Actionable insights to boost up the automation process.

Farid will share some insights on how to analyze and find the weak spots in the design teams’ processes. Then he will provide an action plan on how to automate different aspects of the work as well as simplify the onboarding process for the newcomers.

A design system is a set of repeatable components and standards guiding the use of those components. Standards can come in the form of documentation, videos, blogs, discussion channels, meetups and office hours just to name a few. A design system may be built internally within an organization, or there are hundreds of open source design systems that can be downloaded and used. However, only a small percentage of those open source design systems are set up such that they can be successfully implemented in a manner that results in software that is accessible to people with disabilities who use assistive technology to interact with technology. This talk will discuss the importance of accessible design systems and a high level overview of the ten best known open source design systems.

Break

Sponsor Session

Nearly everyone has become a better virtual meeting facilitator in 2020, but not necessarily by choice or design. We have teammates around the world who need to collaborate, so we know the frustration and challenges that can arise.

Join this session to learn effective strategies and practical tactics for designing and facilitating any virtual meeting including:

  • Preparation rituals to establish
  • Designing for engagement
  • Effective warmups, even for short meetings
  • Reusable templates for notes capture

You’ll be guided by Lindsey Eatough, Associate Director of Enterprise Transformation at MURAL, who has spent 2020 working with teams to increase effective collaboration and Lee Duncan, Enterprise Design Sprint Leader at IBM and MURAL member.

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Sponsor Session

In mid-March, Bloomberg’s UX team went from a 100% in-office design group to a 100% at-home design group. Challenges quickly surfaced, but once the day-to-day was running and overall anxiety had diminished, teams started to see the silver linings in shifting a multi-office, multi-country design team accustomed to an open office plan to working remotely.

View the session recording

What happens to your DesignOps team when your Design organization hits scale? Juggling the growth of your product, your people, and your processes is a demanding challenge, and strains the jack-of-all-trades skillset of even the most seasoned DesignOps practitioner. Our solution? Evolve DesignOps into two discrete tracks: Team Ops and Product Ops. We’ll look at how these tracks emerged, how they operate in practice, where they intersect (and where they differ), and the lessons learned from our “conscious uncoupling” of design team ops and product design ops responsibilities.

While Design Operations (DesignOps) is only a few years old as a practice, it is evolving rapidly. As we finish our 4th year at The Summit, we’ve seen so much change in our community of practice in this short time. So, we want to end this year’s Summit with a look beyond. If we are to be resilient what are we being resilient towards. Jon Fukuda (Limina), Dominique Ward (Atlassian), and Adrienne Allnutt (LinkedIn) will share their perspectives on where DesignOps is going and why. Moderated by Dave Malouf (Northwestern Mutual). We will be fielding questions from attendees, too.

Wrap Up

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