Achieving DesignOps Maturity: Key Milestones

Post by
William Griffiths
Achieving DesignOps Maturity: Key Milestones

Achieving DesignOps Maturity: Key Milestones

DesignOps is considered to be a pretty all-encompassing term that examines various challenges that can be presented in the field. This includes growing your team, hiring people who are well-equipped to do the job, and improving productivity. From there, it’s also a case of trying to improve the quality of your designs.

You want to establish processes that give designers absolute freedom to focus on doing their best, with Design Operations (DesignOps) being used to orchestrate and optimise. It doesn’t always happen overnight and takes time to implement, but you’ll want to see maturity over time.

Today, we want to discuss the ins and outs of DesignOps maturity and what exactly that means. There’s so much that goes into making a design team work, and endless elements need to be considered.

So, with that being said, let’s start to break it all down.

What is DesignOps maturity?

In any place of work, seeing maturity in its simplest form will always be a positive thing. You want to know that there’s growth and transformation in every department because that’s usually a sign that your company or business is heading in the right direction. With DesignOps, that’s certainly the case, especially if you’re starting from the ground floor.

If a DesignOps team has low maturity, by default, that means that certain DesignOps practices aren’t being implemented properly. On the flip side, if a company has a high level of maturity, that means there is a broad understanding of the role and value of DesignOps and that it’s been adequately engrained into the company’s culture.

It isn’t always apparent from the start. Over time, though, there are signs that things are either improving or plateauing and getting ahead is essential.

The framework of DesignOps

The framework for DesignOps serves as the bigger picture of the questions that you’re asking both the audience and your team. You need everyone around you to be aware of these if you’re going to take things to the next level. This includes examining the importance of efficiency vs. efficacy and measuring qualitative against quantifiable.

From there, look at how well your team works together and where they could potentially improve. Are there gaps that need plugging? Will certain team members work better in different situations? Or, perhaps, you need to see how the work is actually getting produced, looking at whether or not you’re really maximising your company’s full potential.

Finally, consider how the work you’re creating makes a real impact. We aren’t suggesting it will change the world overnight or anything like that, but there’s certainly reason to believe you can make something transformative if you really put in the effort.

The key milestones for tracking DesignOps maturity

When you’re trying to build your DesignOps maturity up from low to high, you need to look out for a couple of key milestones. In this section, we will run through a quick guide of what you need to monitor.

Phase 1

Those within your operation reject the proposals put forward by your DesignOps team. They aren’t accepting that processes need to be put in place and aren’t willing to budge on that.

Phase 2

Everyone on the team does not fully understand the values behind DesignOps. They may be carrying out some essential tasks here and there, but they aren’t fully committing to the point where things are running smoothly.

Phase 3

Some of the most important members of your team are grasping the importance of DesignOps and implementing your plans. There’s still a struggle with coordination, but progress is being made.

Phase 4

There is a broader level of understanding of DesignOps, and the strategy is being carried out in a passionate, controlled manner. It isn’t universal yet, but things are beginning to click.

Phase 5

Game, set, match. Everything runs like clockwork and has been streamlined to the point where it’s like second nature for your DesignOps team. They know their mission, and they’re doing their job to a near-flawless degree.

The challenges in achieving high maturity

Many challenges can often present themselves when trying to achieve high maturity with DesignOps. It’s not a simple science by any stretch, but a handful of issues crop up more than most. For example, the lack of dedicated roles can easily create a great deal of confusion if the job assignment feels muddled.

There’s also the need for clear metrics and clear goals, as we’ve already touched on. When you’re trying to assemble a team, you must understand what objectives are in place and how they will be achieved. In many ways, you could argue it’s about repetition—and while that may sound boring, it’ll undoubtedly be worth it in the long run.

You need to avoid weak communication channels and lackadaisical behaviour from team members; perhaps most critically, it needs to be documented. It’s all well and good brainstorming in a meeting, but there needs to be a physical trail that can take you from point A to point B with minimal disruption.

Final thoughts

In our view, if you’re going to set out a plan of action for yourself and your DesignOps team, you need to be ready to track your maturity. It’s all well and good putting the right pieces in place, but if you don’t keep a close eye on how things are playing out, then it could all be for nothing. It’s about staying one step ahead and ensuring that your design needs are being met in the best way possible.

As we know, design is a vast, fascinating industry with so many different things to consider. Here at Hatchly, we focus on the subsection of unlimited graphic design services, which we provide through a dedicated team of hard-working professionals ready to give you all the help you need.

If you’d like to learn more, check out our website or feel free to get in touch!

William Griffiths
Founder & Creative Director

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