Prepare to Design the Future
March 19–20, 2017: Training
March 20–22, 2017: Tutorials & Conference
San Francisco, CA

From 6 to 126 in four years

Alastair Simpson (Atlassian)
1:15pm–1:55pm Wednesday, March 22, 2017
Level: Intermediate
Average rating: ****.
(4.80, 5 ratings)

Who is this presentation for?

  • Heads of design, design managers, product managers, CEOs, and CTOs

What you'll learn

  • Learn how to engage engineering and product teams to create an inclusive, customer-focused organization
  • Learn how to successfully apply design-thinking techniques at an organization level
  • Gain practical tips to successfully lead and manage design teams through periods of rapid growth


Four years ago, after 10 years in business, Atlassian had only six designers. Fast forward to today, and the design team numbers 126. Building and managing a design team of this size is one thing; integrating it into a traditionally engineering-led organization is another.

Alastair Simpson shares how Atlassian has successfully embraced design as a first-class discipline and is transitioning from an engineering- to an experience-led company. Alastair offers practical tips about how to grow and lead design teams as you scale and how to get design thinking adopted company wide and explores some of the mistakes Atlassian made and road bumps encountered along the way. You’ll leave armed with a playbook for how to manage your team of designers to effect meaningful change within your organization.

Photo of Alastair Simpson

Alastair Simpson


Alastair Simpson is head of design for software teams at Atlassian. Alastair is an advocate of using design-thinking methodologies to solve complex business problems. Previously, he worked at global publisher Reed Business Information and a digital consultancy firm consulting to Qantas, Foxtel, and Telstra. Alastair also owns a rather large T-shirt collection.