As the move to establish in-house design teams accelerates, there’s very little common wisdom on what makes for a successful design organization. Books and presentations focus on process, methods, tools, and outcomes, leaving a gap of knowledge when it comes to organizational and operational matters. Yet those issues often have more impact on designer happiness and design team success. Peter Merholz and Kristin Skinner shine a light on the unsung activities of actually running a design team, exploring what works and what doesn’t.
Peter Merholz is vice president of design at Snagajob, the leading marketplace for hourly workers. A user experience and design executive with 20 years of experience across a broad range of digital media, Peter is the coauthor of Org Design for Design Orgs, the first book dedicated to the organization, management, and operations of in-house design teams. He cofounded Adaptive Path and was instrumental in the company’s growth from a small boutique firm to a renowned international consultancy. More recently, he led the global design team at Groupon, including product/UX, marketing, and brand design, where he doubled the team from 30 to 60 and was instrumental in the first redesign of Groupon.com since the company launched. Peter is also perhaps most (in)famous for coining the word “blog” in 1999. Really. In the OED and everything. Since then, he’s been blogging continuously at Peterme.com.
Kristin Skinner is head of design management at Capital One, where she leads the practice and team of design managers who coordinate the design organization’s efforts, guides cross-functional collaboration, and enables the design team to deliver outcomes with measurable impact. An author and organization design leader, Kristin has extensive experience recruiting, hiring, and managing designers as well as shaping design organizations and operations for optimal effectiveness—in both consulting and in-house contexts in companies large and small alike. Previously, Kristin was managing director at Adaptive Path, where she established and lead the Design Management practice, guided sales and operations, co-led the portfolio, and scoped and co-led over 40 of the firm’s most strategic and complex projects and programs; she also shaped the design manager role for entertainment and devices while at Microsoft’s Pioneer Studios. Kristin is coauthor of Org Design for Design Orgs: Building and Managing In-House Design Teams and is the programmer and host of the LX Conference (formerly MX). She is also a keynote speaker and frequent workshop teacher on organizational design and design management.
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