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.
How a service design mindset shifts standard organizational approaches
Organizational models for design teams, including centralized, decentralized, and Kristin’s preferred hybrid model, the centralized partnership
How to assess the breadth and depth of skills and strategic thinking
The five stages of design organizational evolution, from the initial pair to a team of 60 and beyond
A new taxonomy of design team roles, including abolishing the UX/UI distinction
The untapped opportunity for design, using its leverage to wield greater influence
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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