Nudging a Culture

Nudging a Culture

Nudging a Culture

Nudging a Culture

Nudging a Culture

LEADING a DESIGN SYSTEM

LEADING a DESIGN SYSTEM

LEADING a DESIGN SYSTEM

LEADING a DESIGN SYSTEM

LEADING a DESIGN SYSTEM

“We usually want design systems to help grow our products. That’s how we determine the success of a design system, right? By how we improve the quality of our product. How much faster do we ship the product. How much code do we reduce in our product. But who is using those products? Users. Customers. People. That is why we do this. Our purpose is for people.” Jina Anne

“We usually want design systems to help grow our products. That’s how we determine the success of a design system, right? By how we improve the quality of our product. How much faster do we ship the product. How much code do we reduce in our product. But who is using those products? Users. Customers. People. That is why we do this. Our purpose is for people.” Jina Anne

“We usually want design systems to help grow our products. That’s how we determine the success of a design system, right? By how we improve the quality of our product. How much faster do we ship the product. How much code do we reduce in our product. But who is using those products? Users. Customers. People. That is why we do this. Our purpose is for people.” Jina Anne

“We usually want design systems to help grow our products. That’s how we determine the success of a design system, right? By how we improve the quality of our product. How much faster do we ship the product. How much code do we reduce in our product. But who is using those products? Users. Customers. People. That is why we do this. Our purpose is for people.” Jina Anne

“We usually want design systems to help grow our products. That’s how we determine the success of a design system, right? By how we improve the quality of our product. How much faster do we ship the product. How much code do we reduce in our product. But who is using those products? Users. Customers. People. That is why we do this. Our purpose is for people.” Jina Anne

Leading with a strong point of view.

Leading with a strong point of view.

Setting a course for inspiring directions.

LEARNING #1 The first step is usually the hardest. We all operate better with clear directions and transparent communication. But don't expect there is one fits all.

LEARNING #2 Don't make decisions out of the scarcity or fear. Instead of just responding, do the right choices.

When setting the course for a design system, what mattered every time was to present clear purpose to the team, highlighting the goals we'll achieve, as well as being receptive to the individuals, and shift directions when needed.

I exercised leading with a strong point of view through for e.g.:

  • setting the expectations for DS duo and planning day-to-day work with an engineer
  • collaborating on the strategy for the search migration with the Search team
  • taking a risk and migrating design team and the system to Figma
  • inspiring others through our share-outs
  • working on the rebrand and roll-out plan into design system

I've been gathering frequently the insights through: daily stand-ups, quarterly planning, user interviews, surveys, competitive analysis, communication channels, in order to keep an eye on the course and look out for opportunities of:

I've been gathering frequently the insights through: daily stand-ups, quarterly planning, user interviews, surveys, competitive analysis, communication channels, in order to keep an eye on the course and look out for opportunities of:

  • HMW create a safe space to focus on DS foundation?
  • HMW provide a stable, consistent, and intuitive experience to our end-users?
  • HMW offer a productive and empowering experience to our teams and direct-users?
  • HMW empower ourselves to create a better experience for everyone?

EXPERIMENTS & IMPLEMENTATIONS

  • governance plan & the roadmap
  • design system principles 
  • design system workflow
  • contribution flow with Abstract branching
  • migration strategies 
  • set of rituals & workshops
  • redesign strategies
DS story – DS Design Touch points cc

USER IMPACT & FEEDBACK 

Working on the clear direction for the actions enabled both engineers and designers to gain focus, provide transparency, grow the system, and plan better.

For example, the moment DS workflow for designers has been introduced and implemented into the teams, it instantly supported designers with better planing inside their teams, clarity on expectations and touch-points, who to inform, and when to pull in. It enhaced a collaborative cross-team work, while at the same time supporting the maintenance of DS through contributions.

contribution progress cc

Leading through culture.

Leading through culture.

Creating habits that make you think.

LEARNING #3 It is only lonely if you let it to be. At the end of the day we all strive for sense of belonging and affirmation.

LEARNING #4 We need more courage. Creating moments of courage, can create moments of adoption. 

When working with a design system it is not easy to find the quick moments of celebration, or ability to see an instant impact. Work on the design system usually happens out of the spotlight, and that has been our case. It may feel as a lonely journey or a marathon of 40k. That's why it is important to identify where the culture must shift by bringing rituals that support the creative work, enable for connection and to hear "thank you" at the end of the day.

What mattered to me the most was to provide inspiration when energy was low, or when experiencing momentary hiccups, such as fear of contribution, unfamiliarity with the new tools, burnout from Covid-19 or the number of tasks that waterfall on our shoulders. To battle that, I've played with rituals, switching routine, encouraging conversations, and workshops along the way.

RITUALS = CONNECTION

  • daily opening: how do you feel? / what worries you? / how can I help? / share something funny
  • retros & icebreakers
  • virtual coffee o'clock (building relations)
  • audit & naming conventions workshops 
  • feedback loops e.g. direct-user interviews 
  • studio day used for DS migration to Figma 
  • DS open hours and weekly 1-1 consultations with designers 
  • workshop with creative designers (onboarding to Figma) 
  • sharing knowledge and status updates (DS events, slack channel)
  • yearly evaluation report
  • DS onboarding sessions
  • design system card games & quiz
DS Studio Day2 cc
Creative workshop2 cc
confidence survey2 cc
user interviews notes2 cc
onboarding cc
yearly evaluation cc
DS cards game2 cc
monthly retro2 cc

RESULTS OBSERVED

  • an eye opener to the teams, that brings instant learnings and actionables
  • an icebreaker that brings more courage to be a part of design system process
  • a creator of recognition and design system advocates 

E.g. DS Studio Day - onboarded all our product designers into Figma, helped them to learn how to build and structure components with different complexities. It significantly improved and speeded up engagement into the process. As well as build some positive memories.

Global retro - helped me to see the sentiments around design system shortly before changing a set up of the DS duo, validating that the DS culture is already emerging.

ds end 4 cc

Leading alongside.

Staying present and engaged with the work of your team.

LEARNING #5 Ask good questions, stay curious a little bit longer.

LEARNING #6 For people, with people.

Leading alongside helped keeping design system moving forward. It had an impact on increase of adoption and contribution. It has been about being present and available for the team, meeting your peers where they are and taking it from there.

AUDIENCE FIRST.

From the start and along the way I always focused on understanding my audience first, each individual, and the context around. The user interviews in the first months of 2021 significantly helped to identify the pain points, fear from contribution, and downtimes in adoption. Concluding on how your team mates like to learn, been the opening for defining the ways on leading.

Overtime it mattered to ask good questions and bring pace, offering guidance on the fly, remaining reliable, authentic, and open. For example, I established 1-1 weekly sessions with designers, focusing on boosting their courage, and their skillset. Through out this time it became clear that empowering designers to lead on design system communication and contribution helps to unblock the traffic on the bridge between design and engineering, especially in the team like ours. Additionally it helped to create a space for expanding into Mobile Apps and Brand.

Questions to ask:

  • What's the real challenge in this for you?
  • And what else?
  • How can we plan this to take the stress out of equation?
  • Do you think you can take decision on this?
  • Is there anything you need from me? How can I help?
  • Do you have everything what you need to start with this task?
  • What was most useful, or valuable here for you?
  • If you say yes to this, what do you say no to?

Leading alongside during:

  • 1-1 weekly sessions & DS open hours
  • contribution reviews
  • engineering implementations
  • design weekly Show and Tell
  • design team quarterly planning 
  • DS get togethers (engineering lead + me + creative lead)
  • workshops
design planning 3 cc
figma feedback 3 cc

Memoirs of a gardener.

Choosing courage over comfort.

Jumping on the train to lead design system in the company with a low design maturity, limited resources, and appetite to scale, certainly been a big challenge. And it was to me, since this has been also a first time officially getting on that role. It has been a risk, but the user needs to do it have been stronger than all the fears I had along the way.

I mentioned that leading to me has been about building courage and empowering others on this journey. Yet the lifting that I had to do for myself was also the willingness to step up, put myself out there, and lean into courage. At times it has been challenging to keep the same enthusiasm and passion, putting a faith in others while not seeing a light in the tunnel for myself. However one thing for sure, I would not have the courage I have now if I would not go through the path I went through.

Inspired by IDEO Leading for Creativity Course + leader's questions recommended by Michael Bungay Stainer.

Interested to read more? Find about my journey to create a design system  →  On the road to Flora 

Or the adventures when challenging it through a product rebrand  →  Re-identifying belonging

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© 2017-2023 mauthewild.com | All rights reserved.

© 2017-2023 mauthewild.com | All rights reserved.

© 2017-2023 mauthewild.com | All rights reserved.

© 2017-2023 mauthewild.com | All rights reserved.