The Power of Difficult Conversations: A Case Study on How We Introduced Design Ops in the Federal Government Space

A large federal agency was interested in improving the experience that individuals have with their digital services, as well as the velocity at which they were able to improve those services. But through our research, we found that they didn’t have the design roles, tools, or processes in place to support this goal and make it successful.

As a digital services firm that specializes in human-centered design and design ops, we came up with a plan to get them where they needed to be. We started by having a difficult conversation with them about design maturity, what it would take to be successful, and how design ops could help. We then introduced a series of training sessions on human-centered design, which prepared us to have conversations about design roles and processes, as well as tools. And finally, we were able to collaborate with them through a series of engagements to see how these things should work in practice.

Through our experience, we learned this is not an uncommon challenge. There are likely many entities (both public and private) that know they need to evolve their design practices, but don’t know how. By sharing how we introduced design ops to a federal client, we hope to inspire others to help promulgate design ops in a wider variety of sectors and client types.