Conference Program

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Making Meaningful Connections at DesignOps Summit: with Cozy Juicy Real!


Join us the evening of Wednesday, September 7th to play Cozy Juicy Real – an engaging online board game where the purpose is anything but trivial: creating authentic and truly meaningful connections with your peers. 

This is an interactive session and spaces are limited. RSVP is required!

RSVP now


Come and connect with your DesignOps community members and play Cozy Juicy Real – the online board game with a very un-game-like purpose: to kindle fun, authentic and connecting interactions.

If you think traditional community building is missing something, this is your ticket to a deeply meaningful and fun time…

During this 75-minute session, we will laugh, share and get to know one another in a deeper and more authentic way. Our time together will help build empathy in a way that will impact our ability to continue building a strong community and enhance our working relationships.


After a short intro, we’ll dive into a breakout to play and connect with others in the DesignOps community.

Cozy Juicy Real is NOT like other team building activities:

–> Doesn’t feel like a stuffy team building event
–> Requires zero preparation on your side
–> Takes 5 mins to get the rules and start having fun
–> A safe space for the shy and introverted
–> Can be as high-energy or chill as you want it to be
–> 100% online — perfect for a remote conference like ours!

Meet the Facilitators!

Jed and Sophia are group facilitators, coaches, board game designers and the creators of Cozy Juicy Real. More importantly, they’re two people who believe in the power of great conversations to bring us all a little closer. Cozy Juicy Real has been played by thousands of people in 61 countries – from students to Volvo, Zoom and Nike.

“Cozy Juicy Real” – The CEST Time Zone Edition!


Cozy Juicy Real is so much fun, we want to make sure ALL of our attendees get a chance to play – and at a time of day when they don’t have to choose between sleep and socializing!

For our Central European Summer Time zone friends, please join us Thursday, September 8, 3:30 pm CEST – 4:45 pm CEST for a special edition of Cozy Juicy Real – an engaging online board game where the purpose is anything but trivial: creating authentic and truly meaningful connections with your peers.

This is an interactive session and spaces are limited. RSVP is required.

RSVP now!


Come and connect with your DesignOps community members and play Cozy Juicy Real – the online board game with a very un-game-like purpose: to kindle fun, authentic and connecting interactions.

If you think traditional community building is missing something, this is your ticket to a deeply meaningful and fun time…

During this 75-minute session, we will laugh, share and get to know one another in a deeper and more authentic way. Our time together will help build empathy in a way that will impact our ability to continue building a strong community and enhance our working relationships.


After a short intro, we’ll dive into a breakout to play and connect with others in the DesignOps community.

Cozy Juicy Real is NOT like other team building activities:

–> Doesn’t feel like a stuffy team building event
–> Requires zero preparation on your side
–> Takes 5 mins to get the rules and start having fun
–> A safe space for the shy and introverted
–> Can be as high-energy or chill as you want it to be
–> 100% online — perfect for a remote conference like ours!

Meet the Facilitators!

Jed and Sophia are group facilitators, coaches, board game designers and the creators of Cozy Juicy Real. More importantly, they’re two people who believe in the power of great conversations to bring us all a little closer. Cozy Juicy Real has been played by thousands of people in 61 countries – from students to Volvo, Zoom and Nike.

Sponsor Sessions

Join us for bonus sessions hosted by our sponsors. Details to come.

Join us for bonus sessions hosted by our sponsors. Details to come.

Theme One: Growing Successful DesignOps Practices and Practitioners

Whether your goal is to become an effective DesignOps practitioner, or to build a DesignOps practice that can scale, you’ll be facing critical decisions every step of the way. Should you focus on strategy or tactics? Does your practice need you to be a visionary leader, a down-and-dirty doer, or a bit of both? And where do you draw the lines between what your practice should and shouldn’t tackle? These sessions from DesignOps peers at such organizations as Salesforce and JP Morgan will help you scope the skills and mindset you’ll need for you, your team, and your org to thrive.

Whether your goal is to become an effective DesignOps practitioner, or to build a DesignOps practice that can scale, you’ll be facing critical decisions every step of the way. Should you focus on strategy or tactics? Does your practice need you to be a visionary leader, a down-and-dirty doer, or a bit of both? And where do you draw the lines between what your practice should and shouldn’t tackle? These sessions from DesignOps peers at such organizations as Salesforce and JP Morgan will help you scope the skills and mindset you’ll need for you, your team, and your org to thrive.

In less than a decade, the field of DesignOps has experienced exponential growth and a dizzying acceleration of maturity. And yet, we haven’t even scratched the surface. Design and technology are evolving rapidly and becoming increasingly complex, and DesignOps practitioners are in the thick of that evolution. The unpredictable nature of change at scale can cause systems to break, pains to become more acute, and teams to burn out… sometimes our own.

As DesignOps practitioners, we’re called upon to help our organizations navigate through change and uncertainty — to remain the anchor point in a sea of change. It’s easy to hold fast to our ideas of what DesignOps is and who does it. And because of this, we’re often left feeling swept up in a sea of chaos that we have to somehow get under control.

The thing is… this is what we do. We recognize challenges, improvise solutions, and anticipate the next waves of organizational change. Why not our own? Why not shift from a reactive/responsive mindset to a generative approach? This generative lens becomes our invitation to experiment, boast, remix, fail, learn, iterate, and adapt. And through this lens, we can appreciate that “now” is the most exciting time to be in DesignOps.

When Rachel pivoted from content design to design operations, it turned out that she had a different understanding of what this meant than her VP, who envisioned a conventional program manager. Rachel brought a very different perspective and set of skills to the role — which was a learning experience for both of them.

In becoming involved with the various design ops communities, and later, when she was interviewing to hire three new team members, Rachel was fascinated by the variety of backgrounds of people both already practicing and looking to enter the field. Some are more like what her VP expected, focused on milestone planning and tracking, resource allocation and budgeting. Others design and implement processes and manage shared toolsets. Some serve as chiefs of staff (which can also mean many different things). Some plan and host team meetings, ceremonies, and retreats. Others focus on research ops. And many — especially teams of one — do a little bit of everything.

More and more leaders are beginning to understand the value of design operations — but some think the function should look or behave a certain way. DesignOps pros, though, know that every team and organization is different, and the only way they and their teams can succeed is by tailoring their approach to address those specific needs. This facilitated conversation will explore what brings people to DesignOps, how their backgrounds inform their practice, and how design ops practitioners can give themselves the permission and fuel they need to make this argument and structure things the way they believe will have the most impact.

Break

Sponsor Sessions

Join us for bonus sessions hosted by our sponsors. Details to come.

Join us for bonus sessions hosted by our sponsors. Details to come.

Building a DesignOps practice from the ground up is not an easy feat especially for a large bank. Everyone looks at DesignOps as the silver bullet. Expectations, right sizing commitments, hiring diverse skills and setting goals and priorities. We started from 2 to 4 then 8 and now 16. Our growth has not been easy. I will share stories and anecdotes how the team has evolved and created visible impact in the organization. The audience will take away key lessons learned and strategies they can apply in their own organizations. We all can become heroes of our own DesignOps story. 

Takeaways:

  • How to create a visible impact in your organization.
  • How to hire for diverse skills
  • How to set reasonable expectations and priorities

Today’s design organizations continuously face increased scope, complex deliverables, challenging people dynamics, and pressure to hit business goals. For this reason, it’s important to reevaluate how DesignOps leadership is supported so that they can be as efficient and effective as possible. An emerging solution to this challenge is the Chief of Staff role — DesignOps practitioners skilled in values-driven leadership at scale, ruthless prioritization, and building trusted partnerships, who can serve as an advisor, proxy, and operational leader to the heads of large design teams. Here’s what Isaac has learned while defining this new leadership path in DesignOps at Salesforce.

Takeaways:

  • How to lead your team as the scope of your responsibility widens
  • How to build trusted operational partnerships
  • How to navigate complex situations on your team as you scale up

Break

Sponsor Sessions

Join us for bonus sessions hosted by our sponsors. Details to come.

Join us for bonus sessions hosted by our sponsors. Details to come.

Theme Two: Scaling Design Organizations

The recent roller-coaster ride of hirings and firings underscores how difficult managing DesignOps can be: one day, you’re trying to attract talented people in the face of intense competition and The Great Resignation. The next day, you’re struggling to maintain morale amid news of layoffs. In between, you’re trying to onboard, train, and retain your people, equip them with the tools and knowledge they need for success, and justify the growing investment in your design organization. We’ll explore how DesignOps people at Adobe, IBM, and Santander are growing their design orgs while navigating uncharted waters.

The recent roller-coaster ride of hirings and firings underscores how difficult managing DesignOps can be: one day, you’re trying to attract talented people in the face of intense competition and The Great Resignation. The next day, you’re struggling to maintain morale amid news of layoffs. In between, you’re trying to onboard, train, and retain your people, equip them with the tools and knowledge they need for success, and justify the growing investment in your design organization. We’ll explore how DesignOps people at Adobe, IBM, and Santander are growing their design orgs while navigating uncharted waters.

In recent years, hundreds of articles have been published on the best way to measure, demonstrate and argue quantitatively “what is the Return on Investment of UX & Design?” In this talk, Gonzalo will explain how to make small measurements but with great impact – rather than trying to cover a huge universe of variables to measure design’s ROI, which only makes us lose ourselves in theory. It will be based on a “fictional” environment but one similar to his (hundreds of designers and hundreds of digital products across 10 countries.)

Takeaways

  • How to demonstrate your value to management by translating your work into numbers and milestones
  • How to implement a Global DesignOps that permeates your whole company

 

 

In an ideal world, Design Operations is one part of a larger team working toward a common goal. However, working with other program management teams – Product Operations, Technical Program Management and Content or Marketing Operations – can be a challenge due to overlap and other common pitfalls.  Alnie will discuss these challenges, and present strategies to better define expertise and charter for each program management team, resulting in more effective collaboration.

Break

Scaling a design organization can introduce changes that may increase feelings of instability if not done thoughtfully. And when attrition and burnout levels are at a high, it is especially important to focus those changes on processes and structures that provide stability and growth for designers.

Based on her experiences building teams at Amplitude and Adobe, Courtney’s talk will give you tools to scale your team while investing in individual designer’s career growth. Even if DesignOps is not your full-time job, this talk will show how small changes can make a big difference in the designer experience.

Hear Courtney interviewed on the Rosenfeld Review Podcast:

Quite bluntly, all of you are fierce competitors — for design talent. From start-up to established companies, we’re all feeling the effects of the Great Resignation. But what happens when it’s discovered that internal processes sandbag efforts to acquire designers, onboard, promote, and retain them? Join us as we uncover some cringe-worthy problems and share practical takeaways for outsized success.  Dante won’t be offering cookie-cutter solutions since, as he puts it, “many eggs were cracked in this messy process. This is not for the faint of heart — dirty laundry could be aired!”

Takeaways

  • How to hire, onboard, and retain designers
  • How to tackle dysfunction in your org as a decentralized practitioner

 

 

Wrap-up

Sponsor Sessions

Join us for bonus sessions hosted by our sponsors. Details to come.

Join us for bonus sessions hosted by our sponsors. Details to come.

Opening Remarks

Theme Three: Building an Inclusive DesignOps Practice

The design fields have an immense opportunity to ensure that products and services are designed from the ground up with accessibility and equity in mind. And DesignOps people have a critical responsibility to enable that work. Learn from your peers at such orgs as Loblaw Digital and the government of New South Wales how DesignOps can help develop and support diverse, inclusive design teams that thoughtfully create experiences with everyone in mind.

The design fields have an immense opportunity to ensure that products and services are designed from the ground up with accessibility and equity in mind. And DesignOps people have a critical responsibility to enable that work. Learn from your peers at such orgs as Loblaw Digital and the government of New South Wales how DesignOps can help develop and support diverse, inclusive design teams that thoughtfully create experiences with everyone in mind.

Accessibility and inclusion, two extremely important topics for every organization, and certainly of paramount concern to the design function. What role can DesignOps play in advancing these initiatives? As the new Director of Design Operations, Laura sees the numerous opportunities across the business – in research, communications, tooling and more. She is leading the way, forging a path, and allowing other teams to jump aboard.

Takeaways:
How Design Operations can directly and indirectly improve the experience of prospective employees, and also to our customers on the receiving end of our products by helping everyone design for (all) humans.

Alexandra has more than 8 years of experience leading digital, design and technology projects, with multidisciplinary teams, both local and remote. With background in digital project management, experience that gave her the foundation to start her path in design teams where she has been working as DesignOps in corporate companies for over 4 years and, currently, in HUGE Inc., Colombia.

In August 2021, she founded the DesignOps Latam community, motivated to increase the maturity of the practice in the region, developing a lot of content in Spanish, joining forces with professionals from many countries, and sharing knowledge and experiences around the practice. On the other hand, she has designed and co-facilitated the first DesignOps program in Spanish with a Peruvian design school, Repensar.

Alexandra was born in Peru and has had the opportunity to live and/or work in other Latin American countries such as Colombia, Venezuela and Mexico.

Break

Sponsor Sessions

Join us for bonus sessions hosted by our sponsors. Details to come.

Join us for bonus sessions hosted by our sponsors. Details to come.

DesignOps practitioners have helped advocate for inclusive design practices over the past several years. Still, key women-centric barriers persist such as safe access, time poverty, and female biological differences. To meet women’s needs, our design methodologies must ensure an inclusive lens from the start. In her talk, Mansi will share how DesignOps can engage their teams in embedding applicable insights, drawn from feminist practice, into their existing processes and toolkits.

Attendees will leave with tools to:

  • Learn from non-design disciplines
  • Identify how our current methodologies overlook women
  • Apply key design principles to create using a women-centric lens

After speaking with several colleagues in the DesignOps space, Jessica noticed a trend. Many of them, like herself, had ADHD. Another Observation: DesignOps is a field where those with ADHD can thrive. People with ADHD are often best suited to jobs that are purposeful, fast-paced, allow autonomy and involve lots of variety (as well as risk taking). The characteristics of empathy, energy, passion, and hyper focus under pressure which come with ADHD, make ADHD a DesignOps superpower. Don’t have ADHD? Come learn more about how to work well with some of your colleagues who do!

Takeaways

  • An understanding of the types of skills and personality traits that are beneficial in a DesignOps role. 
  • How to encourage neurodiverse hiring practices. 
  • How to inspire and empower individuals to consider a career in Design Operations.

Break

Sponsor Sessions

Join us for bonus sessions hosted by our sponsors. Details to come.

Join us for bonus sessions hosted by our sponsors. Details to come.

Theme Four: Visiting the Future of Design Operations

While DesignOps is just getting going in many settings, it’s been thriving long enough in others to have moved well beyond the basics of operational support to helping shape and drive organization-wide strategy for both design and product companies. We’ve selected a handful of amazing projects that represent cutting edge—inspired leadership, impactful management, and tooling wizardry—presented by DesignOps people who are truly “visitors from the future.”

While DesignOps is just getting going in many settings, it’s been thriving long enough in others to have moved well beyond the basics of operational support to helping shape and drive organization-wide strategy for both design and product companies. We’ve selected a handful of amazing projects that represent cutting edge—inspired leadership, impactful management, and tooling wizardry—presented by DesignOps people who are truly “visitors from the future.”

Whether your design team is 5 or 5,000, the goal should be the same: retain designers by providing them the resources they need to grow and develop in their career. What do these resources look like for someone new to the industry versus a 20 year veteran? Or when a new technology or platform emerges, like the metaverse? In this session, you will learn the importance of investing in learning, development and belonging programs and how DesignOps is uniquely positioned to prepare designers to work on the next evolution of the internet– the metaverse.

This session is aimed at how design ops can innovate in and drive standardization across large design teams, enabling craft, quality UX and velocity in productization.

By attending this session you will learn:

  • Is standardization right for your team?
  • How to approach standardization based on the needs or profile of your design team
  • How to drive influence and create systems that are strong, extensible and will stick creating real impact for your team.

Break

One of the hardest parts of building a knowledge management system is getting leadership buy-in and getting your team to use it properly. Join Kevin and Sarah to learn about their journey from passion-fueled side project to research-only management to fully funded knowledge/project/insights management initiatives (including an on-staff research librarian!). In this talk you will hear real-world examples of how they struggled to show how this was one of the most important things to be doing. They will share examples of how one team is leveraging the work to scale their research capabilities and provide rapid evaluation for the entire company. You will also hear about the accelerated growth and value that has come from connecting their system with the greater design org and even product management. Through all of this they will share actionable takeaways on how to show value early, what not to do, and how to use a system to amplify your teams’ work across the organization and help your Ops team scale.

What are some of the ways DesignOps has changed over the past few years? Where does it seem to be going? And, how can we, as DesignOps professionals lend clarity, focus, and direction to our profession as it continues to evolve? In our closing panel, featured presenters come together for a facilitated conversation to sum up our conference themes, share newly gained insights, and suggest next steps that we can take as individuals and as a practice to continue moving forward.

Wrap-up