Building a High-Performing Design Team with DesignOps: Tips and Strategies

March 10, 2023 | Read Time : 3 mins

DesignOps, also known as Design Operations, is a relatively new field gaining momentum in the design world. DesignOps focuses on streamlining and optimizing the design process, managing workflows, and facilitating collaboration between designers and stakeholders. It is a framework that helps organizations create high-performing design teams by providing structure and support for the design process.

This article will discuss what DesignOps is, how it works, and why it matters. We will also explore the advantages of DesignOps, the roles of DesignOps, and the tools you need to get started.

What is DesignOps?

DesignOps is the practice of applying operational processes and systems to the design function within an organization. It is a relatively new field focusing on creating efficiency and structure within the design process. DesignOps teams work to streamline workflows, manage design resources, and foster collaboration between designers, stakeholders, and other teams within the organization.

DesignOps is similar to DevOps, a similar approach to optimizing software development processes. DesignOps is essential for organizations that want to create a culture of design excellence, improve the quality of their design output, and increase the speed of their design process.

How does DesignOps work?

DesignOps works by applying operational processes and systems to the design function within an organization. This includes the following:

The emphasis on people operations

DesignOps focuses on the people within the design team, including their skillsets, career development, and well-being. In addition, DesignOps teams ensure designers have the necessary resources and support to do their best work.

Mentality of business operations

DesignOps is driven by a business mentality that focuses on delivering value to the organization. This includes ensuring that design resources are aligned with business objectives and that the design process is as efficient and effective as possible.

Management of
operational workflow

DesignOps teams work to optimize the design workflow, including processes for ideation, prototyping, and testing. They also manage designers’ tools and resources to execute their work, such as design software, project management tools, and communication platforms.

Why DesignOps matters

DesignOps, the practice of optimizing the design process through strategic operations management, has become a crucial element in modern business practices. With design becoming increasingly important in product development, user experience, and overall customer satisfaction, organizations that prioritize DesignOps have a competitive edge in the market.

First and foremost, DesignOps matters because it ensures that the design team can focus on what they do best – designing. By streamlining operations and implementing efficient workflows, DesignOps eliminates unnecessary distractions and empowers designers to work to their fullest potential. This not only results in better designs but also leads to improved job satisfaction and retention rates among design team members.

DesignOps also plays a vital role in driving innovation within an organization. Creating a solid design foundation allows for faster prototyping, testing, and iteration of ideas. This ultimately leads to faster time-to-market and the ability to respond to changing market demands and customer needs.

In addition, DesignOps promotes collaboration and communication between different teams involved in the design process. This ensures everyone is working towards the same goal, with clear expectations and a shared understanding of the project scope and objectives. It also helps to break down silos between departments and encourages cross-functional teamwork.

Furthermore, organizations that prioritize DesignOps can better manage their resources in terms of time and budget. With a precise and efficient process in place, the design team can focus on the most critical tasks while also ensuring they deliver value for money. This results in a balanced workload and a higher return on investment for the organization.

In today’s rapidly changing market, having a good product or service is no longer enough. It’s essential to have a design team that can create an exceptional user experience and stands out from the competition. By prioritizing DesignOps, organizations can build a high-performing design team that delivers innovative, valuable, and visually appealing designs that meet the needs of their customers.

In conclusion, DesignOps matters for organizations looking to innovate and grow because it allows for a more streamlined and efficient design process promotes collaboration and communication, and maximizes the value of resources. By investing in DesignOps, businesses can set themselves up for success in an increasingly design-driven world.

What are the advantages of DesignOps?

Roles of DesignOps

Strong Culture and Team Building

DesignOps teams must focus on building a strong culture and team to ensure successful outcomes. To design an effective process for a strong culture and team building, it is essential to establish clear values, norms, and expectations for team members. This includes promoting open communication, collaboration, and a culture of continuous learning and improvement. DesignOps teams can also use team-building activities, training, and mentorship programs to foster solid relationships and build trust within the team. By designing effective processes for a strong culture and team building, DesignOps teams can create a motivated, engaged, and high-performing design team.

Continuous onboarding

Continuous onboarding for design involves designing processes to onboard new team members and ensure they have the necessary skills and knowledge to contribute effectively to the design team. This includes training, mentoring, and support to help new team members understand the design processes, tools, and standards used by the team. It is also essential to provide ongoing learning and development opportunities to ensure that the design team remains current with the latest design trends and technologies. By designing effective continuous onboarding processes, DesignOps teams can ensure that the design team is skilled, motivated, and aligned with the organization’s goals.

Building operations for design

Building operations for design involves designing processes to manage design resources, including design systems, style guides, and design libraries. This includes defining the design standards, processes, and tools to ensure consistency and quality in design outcomes. It is also essential to establish a governance structure to ensure compliance with design standards, and to enable continuous improvement. By designing effective operations for design, DesignOps teams can optimize design resources, improve collaboration, and deliver design outcomes that meet the needs of stakeholders.

Project management

DesignOps teams use project management processes to ensure that design projects are delivered on time, within budget, and to stakeholders’ satisfaction. Defining project goals, scope, timeline, and budget is essential to design an effective project management process. In addition, project managers should establish clear roles and responsibilities, identify potential risks and issues, and use appropriate tools and methodologies to monitor progress and ensure accountability. As a result, DesignOps teams can optimize resources, manage risks, and deliver successful outcomes by designing a robust project management process.

Communications strategy

Effective communication is crucial for DesignOps teams. A strong communication strategy enables collaboration, fosters a culture of openness, and ensures stakeholders are aligned throughout the project lifecycle. By using stakeholder engagement plans, user research, and feedback loops, DesignOps teams can ensure effective communication and stakeholder satisfaction. As a result, it leads to successful design projects, better collaboration, and improved outcomes for the organization.

Process design

Designing a process for DesignOps involves defining the goals, identifying key stakeholders, and mapping out the workflow. This includes identifying the tasks, tools, and resources required for each project stage. Ensuring the process is efficient, scalable, and adaptable to changing requirements is essential. Agile methodologies, design thinking, and lean principles can ensure continuous improvement. By designing an effective process, DesignOps teams can optimize the design workflow, minimize errors, and deliver high-quality outcomes that meet the needs of stakeholders.

The DesignOps toolkit you need to get started

Communication tools are essential for successful design ops sprints. They enable the design team to collaborate effectively and communicate with stakeholders. DesignOps teams can leverage various communication tools, including messaging apps, video conferencing, email, and project management tools. By using these tools, DesignOps teams can streamline communication, ensure everyone is on the same page, and avoid misunderstandings. They can also use these tools to share progress updates, feedback, and insights to keep stakeholders informed and engaged. By leveraging communication tools, DesignOps teams can ensure successful design ops sprints that meet the needs of stakeholders.

Communication & Project Management tools

  • Slack – a messaging platform for team communication and collaboration.
  • Zoom – a video conferencing tool for remote meetings and presentations.
  • Trello – a project management tool that allows team members to track progress and collaborate on tasks.
  • Asana – a project management tool that enables teams to manage tasks, projects, and workflows.
  • Miro – a collaborative whiteboarding tool that enables teams to brainstorm, plan, and organize ideas visually.
  • Google Drive – a cloud-based storage and collaboration platform for sharing files, documents, and presentations.
  • Microsoft Teams – a collaboration platform that integrates with other Microsoft tools and allows teams to communicate, share files, and work together on projects.
  • Jira – a project management tool that enables teams to plan, track, and manage software development projects.
  • Basecamp – a project management tool that enables teams to manage tasks, share files, and communicate with team members.
  • – a project management tool that enables teams to manage tasks, track progress, and collaborate on projects.
  • Smartsheet – a project management tool that enables teams to manage tasks, create timelines and collaborate on projects.
  • Workfront – a project management tool that enables teams to manage workflows, track progress, and collaborate on projects.

User Research & Experience Tools

  • UserTesting – a platform that enables teams to get feedback on designs, websites, and apps through remote user testing.
  • Optimal Workshop – a suite of tools for user research, including card sorting, tree testing, and surveys.
  • Hotjar – a tool for understanding website user behavior through heatmaps, visitor recordings, and feedback polls.
  • Lookback – a tool for remote user testing that enables teams to conduct moderated and unmoderated tests on desktop and mobile devices.
  • Maze – a platform for user testing and feedback that integrates with design tools like Figma and Sketch.
  • UserZoom – a suite of tools for user research, including usability testing, surveys, and participant recruitment.
  • Voiceflow – an AI-powered voice assistant design platform that enables designers to create voice assistants for Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant.
  • UsabilityHub – an AI-powered user research and testing platform that enables designers to test their designs with real users.
  • Optimal Workshop – an AI-powered user research platform that enables designers to conduct user research and gather insights on user behavior.
  • ContentSquare – an AI-powered analytics platform that provides insights into user behavior and engagement with digital content.

Design Tools

  • Sketch – a vector graphics editor popular among designers for creating user interfaces, icons, and other digital assets.
  • Adobe Creative Suite – a suite of design softwares, including Photoshop, Illustrator, and InDesign, widely used in the design industry.
  • Figma – a cloud-based design tool that enables teams to collaborate on designs in real time and create interactive prototypes.
  • InVision – a platform for creating and sharing interactive prototypes and designs and collaborating with team members and stakeholders.
  • Zeplin – a tool for designers and developers that enables them to collaborate on designs and generate style guides, specs, and code snippets.
  • Canva – a web-based graphic design tool popular for creating social media graphics, presentations, and other marketing materials.
  • SketchUp – a 3D modeling software commonly used for architectural design and visualization.

Testing Tools

  • UserTesting – a platform for conducting user research and usability testing, which provides access to a pool of real users who can provide feedback on designs.
  • UsabilityHub – a suite of user research tools, including surveys, card sorts, and click tests, that can help designers understand how users interact with their designs.
  • Hotjar – a tool for analyzing user behavior on websites and mobile apps, which can help designers identify areas for improvement and optimize user experiences.
  • Optimal Workshop – a suite of tools for conducting user research and information architecture testing, including tree testing, card sorting, and A/B testing.
  • Crazy Egg – a platform for visualizing and analyzing user behavior on websites, which can help designers identify where users are clicking, scrolling, and spending their time.
  • Google Optimize – a tool for conducting A/B testing and personalization experiments on websites, which can help designers test different versions of their designs and optimize user experiences.

Design Operations, or DesignOps, is essential for building high-performing design teams that deliver exceptional results. DesignOps focuses on managing the operational aspects of the design process, including people operations, business operations, and workflow management.

By implementing DesignOps, design teams can achieve various benefits, including increased value, balanced workload, improved collaboration, and increased efficiency. However, to build a successful DesignOps program, it’s essential to have a strong culture and team-building strategy, effective project management, a comprehensive communication strategy, and a well-designed process.

Utilizing various tools, including communication, project management, user research, and design suite tools, can help streamline the DesignOps process and ensure success.

Partnering with OriginUX for DesignOps can help businesses build a world-class design team. With their expertise, companies can establish a highly effective program and streamline their design processes for maximum efficiency.

OriginUX offers a range of tools and services, from project management and communication tools to capacity management and user research tools, enabling businesses to create an agile and collaborative work environment. Work with us to achieve design goals and stay ahead of the competition in today’s fast-paced digital landscape.


OriginUX Studio


Team OriginUX

OriginUX Studio is a CoE for User Experience providing UI & UX across Product, Service and Customer Experience Design. We are a cross-disciplinary design team that loves to create great experiences and make meaningful connections for businesses and their users through UI & UX.

Founded in 2016, our larger purpose is to help brands understand what they want to do and where they want to go. To do that we have to make understanding customer experience simple, effortless, and affordable for everyone.

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