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DesignOps: Product, strategy and Organizations

DesignOps “The focus now is to reinvent, pivot, or create new experiences.”

Juan Diego Franco

Graphic Designer
April 30, 2021
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DesignOps: Product, strategy and Organizations

Understanding DesignOps in Modern Organizations

In today's dynamic organizational landscapes, DesignOps emerges not as a novelty, but a pivotal role that's often been silently present in many teams.

DesignOps: More than Just a Term

While "DesignOps" may sound fresh, the role encapsulating the responsibilities of Practice Designers, Organizational Designers, or Program Managers has long existed in various forms. Most businesses or teams likely already have a figure embodying these tasks.

Organizational Evolution and Product Development

The core principle of DesignOps revolves around the idea that altering the product necessitates changing the organization. With this in mind, a multitude of teams across the tech domain and other design-reliant sectors are integrating design systems and design thinking. This isn't limited to service arenas but has expanded into management, especially in the wake of the pandemic which unveiled organizational vulnerabilities or a lack of forward planning.

The Shift in Delivering Great Experiences

Traditionally, achieving a stellar user experience was attributed solely to design precision. While this remains valid, the modern perspective demands a shift in focus. Attention needs to be directed not just towards the product, design, or strategy, but also the intricate, behind-the-scenes operations that play a crucial role in determining quality. It necessitates intentional and continuous organization design and redesign by designers to truly hit the mark.

Realizing Investment in Design Post-Pandemic

Post-Covid, there's an evident trend of companies amplifying their investment and resources in design. However, many fail to harness its full potential. A plausible reason could be the unfamiliarity of business leaders with design, or perhaps an uncertainty about its organizational integration. In such scenarios, the onus falls upon designers to spearhead change. As Bob Schwartz aptly puts it, “designers need to show up as business people first.”

Adapting Design Thinking in Business

Debates about the dichotomy between design thinking and design making continue to dominate boardroom discussions. The essential factor is to tailor design roles to an organization's unique needs, thereby aligning the company for desired outcomes.

Designing Resilient Organizations

Parallel to the effort invested in crafting software without fail points, equal emphasis should be laid on organization design to ensure resilience and adaptability.

Written by Juan Diego Franco

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