Unleashing Potential: How DesignOps Professionals Thrive in Transition to Chief of Staff
DesignOps Skills Transferable to Chief of Staff Role
A possible career path for DesignOps practitioners who want to continue in the individual contributor path can be the Chief of Staff(CoS). And many DesignOps leads do consider themselves as the CoS for the design leader.
Design Operations (DesignOps) is a discipline that focuses on managing the people, processes, and platforms/tools involved in designing and building products. Over the years, DesignOps has become a critical part of any product-driven organization, as it helps streamline the design process, improve collaboration, and ultimately deliver better products.
Interestingly, many of the skills and qualities that make a great DesignOps professional are also transferable to other roles, such as a Chief of Staff position. In this article, we’ll explore how DesignOps skills can be applied to a CoS role.
1. Focus on People, Process, and Platform for Operations
One of the primary responsibilities of a CoS is to help the CEO (or other executives) manage people, processes, and platforms to enhance operations. This involves ensuring that the organization is aligned with the leadership vision and that everyone is working towards the same goals. Similarly, DesignOps works in the product design space, aligning the team with the overall leadership vision. The ability to balance teamops and productops enables the DesignOps practitioners to quickly ramp up to the CoS role, contributing on the company level.
2. Leading by Influence
DesignOps professionals often work with cross-functional teams, including designers, engineers, product managers, and other stakeholders. They must collaborate and influence these teams without having direct authority over them. Similarly, a CoS works with the CEO and other executives to influence decision-making, drive change, and ensure that everyone is working towards the same goals. The ability to lead by influence is a critical skill that DesignOps professionals can bring to a CoS role.
3. Embracing Ambiguity
In DesignOps, things can change quickly, and there’s often a lot of ambiguity involved. DesignOps professionals must be comfortable with this uncertainty and be able to adapt quickly to new situations. Similarly, a CoS must be able to handle daily operational emergencies with grace, navigate complex situations, and make strategic decisions in the face of uncertainty. The ability to embrace ambiguity is a valuable quality that DesignOps professionals can bring to a CoS role.
4. DesignOps and the Power of Numbers
At its core, DesignOps is about using data and metrics to assist the design leadership team in making informed decisions about the design team and products designers are assigned. By leveraging numbers, design leaders can identify patterns, track progress, and make data-driven decisions. By embracing DesignOps, designers can create more effective and impactful designs, and the design leadership team can improve the overall efficiency of the design process. DesignOps professionals are already working with different functions within a company. Expanding this skill and knowledge officially to the company level, a CoS can work with experts in the people team, product team, finance team, and other functions across the company.
In conclusion, DesignOps skills are highly transferable to a Chief of Staff role. By leveraging their experience managing people, processes, and platforms to enhance operational proficiency, and efficiency, leading by influence, and embracing ambiguity, DesignOps professionals can excel in a CoS position and help organizations achieve their goals.