Understanding DesignOps

Understanding DesignOps

According to Nielsen Norman Group, “DesignOps refers to the orchestration and optimization of people, processes, and craft in order to amplify design’s value and impact at scale.”

DesignOps is not a new role.

As the team grow, a design operation person focus on 

  • Improving the quality and impact of design outputs
  • Advocate for design practice outside the design group within the company
  • Build bridges and connect department, projects, and people
  • Help to grow the team by facilitating hiring strategy discussions among design groups

DesignOps aims to identify tooling, establish processes, and build a team culture to support the function of design. In short, designers can design more, research more, and administrate less. 

DesignOps Canvas

Some of the day to day operation examples of DesignOps


  • Creation of a Design System
    • Advocate for design system adoption and develop a process for its continuous improvement
  • Creation of a Service Manual
    • Giving structure and guidance on how to conduct different design practices
  • Maintain, and facilitate design principle discussion


  • Collaborate with research experts advancing design research practices
    • Create design research templates
    • Facilitate education on how to conduct research
    • Facilitate education on how to gain insights
    • Identify best practice of sharing design findings within the design team and with the broader product teams
  • Assessing the organizational design
    • Modify and integrating with other business areas (marketing, product management, engineering, support and sales team, etc.)
  • Facilitate design team growth
    • Conduct “Practice growth assessment” workshops
    • Mapping shapes of roles and building effective onboarding and retention strategies
    • Putting in a process to allow the development of core skills while improving continuity
  • Measure the impact of design on ROI
    • Mapping design ROI against business goals
    • Advocate for the business value of design


  • Build bridges and influence the collaboration process
  • Develop an efficient process for cross-functional teams (design, PM, and engineering) to collaborate throughout the end-to-end product development journey. Collaborate early, collaborate frequently.
  • Coach key business unites outside the design discipline, amplify the design function, and design value
  • Align the design team objectives with broader company business goals
  • Evangelize design by helping everyone within the company understand what the design team does

Tactics for DesigOps


  • Identify efficient tools for the team
  • Build templates within tools to speed up the process


  • Conduct training through workshops, fireside chat, and on the project modeling
  • Sharing experience with designers of how to empathize with business stakeholders

Additional reading:

InVision: DesignOps Handbook

Shopify: Understanding DesignOps and Their Role in Design Teams

FrogDesign: DesignOps 101