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Does Your Team Need a Design Operations Manager?

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Design operations managers have become increasingly important as more companies turn to digital products that help them connect with customers and streamline processes. If your design team members work on several projects simultaneously, it makes sense to bring in someone who knows how to manage designers and developers.

As a relatively new position, design operations managers often wear a lot of hats. Plus, the job description may vary, so you can customize your position to fulfill specific tasks. But no matter how you define it, a design operations manager can improve your product development process.

A design operations manager can improve project workflows

Building a successful digital product means time and money. Today, most teams assume the best results arise from collaborative Agile project management. Perhaps that’s true. But knowing which approach is best for your group to make successful products efficiently means reviewing project guidelines and testing other concepts.

A knowledgeable design operations manager can explore options like Scrum and Kanban to decide whether they could improve your project workflows.

Design and development teams that use code-based design tools like UXPin Merge might find they get the best results from creating unique workflows. PayPal, for example, uses a system that integrates design and DevOps into a single flow.

Encourage your design operations manager to explore opportunities for workflow improvement. It may take some time now, but the effort will save your team time and effort in the long run.

Build a team of professionals who can contribute specific skills to projects

A design operations manager should know how to review your project requirements and build a team of professionals with the specific skills needed to meet goals.

Maybe your team makes fairly simple products, so you only need one designer and a couple of developers. But creating more interactive, expressive digital products might mean bringing in new talent. Your design operations manager should know how to vet applicants to hire:

  • Animation designers
  • Project managers
  • Brand managers
  • Art directors
  • Content creators
  • UI/UX testers

The more advanced your products become, the more skills you’ll need to complete projects. A design operations manager can ensure that you hire the right people.

Save money by keeping your team at the perfect size (and scale when needed)

Does your team work together to create user-friendly designs, generate prototypes, and build market-ready products?

If you have too few people on your team, you’ll struggle to meet milestones and keep up with your competitors. With too many employees, potential contributors lack challenges and you waste money. An experienced design operations manager can audit your team to determine whether you need fewer or more members and proceed with onboarding new members of the product design team. 

Like many companies, you probably have projects that require extra help from time to time. Instead of overextending your team, the design operations manager can help you scale quickly by reaching out to reliable freelance designers and developers and help collaborate. 

The manager should also know which tools and processes make scaling the design process easier. For example, your team can move much faster when it already has a design system that defines UI patterns, establishes consistency, and provides access to approved assets to facilitate design work. 

Get quality assurance from a design operations manager

You make digital products that look terrific to your employees, managers, and stakeholders. Have you taken the extra step to test your products for quality assurance?

The best approach to quality assurance testing depends on your goals. If your design operations program manager has a clear vision of these goals, they can manage testing to ensure the target market finds value in your product.

That said, some internal products might not require extensive testing. Here, you might just send prototypes to a few coworkers and ask them for feedback.

But market-facing products that generate revenue need in-depth testing. Your design operations manager might recruit users to test and provide feedback. A/B testing could settle questions about whether one version of an app works better than the other. Perhaps this is an opportunity to get AI involved in usability testing.

You don’t want to release products that people won’t buy or result in complaints and poor reviews. That may seem obvious, but risky, untested products can hurt your company. Get a designops manager who knows how to provide quality assurance to improve products and avoid failure.

Know your team completes every task before releasing products

Ideally, you maintain checklists that show when project tasks are complete. Let’s say Robert is designing an app’s navigation, so he reports when it’s finished. Adelle is adjusting the code to ensure the app looks perfect on every device, so she reports when she completes that job.

This approach usually works well. But is someone overseeing the checklist to ensure tasks get completed on time and in the right order? A project manager can handle this, but does that person know which approach in the design team works best for each type of project?

Here is another opportunity for a design operations manager to step in and improve the product development process. Plenty of apps exist to assign tasks and monitor completion. Someone experienced with these tools can choose the best option for each project. The project manager might monitor progress, but it takes someone with a broader vision to decide how to measure and ensure that progress.

UXPin Merge makes your design operations manager’s job easier

Nearly all design and development teams that build digital products can benefit from a design operations manager’s insight.

You don’t want to overburden your new manager, though. That’s certain to create a stressful work environment that damages relationships and makes progress more difficult.

Make challenges easier by requesting access to UXPin Merge. Merge helps streamline your development process by taking a code-based approach to design. Designers use imported interactive components from developers’ libraries like Git or Storybook, so it cuts down the design process time. Plus, you can test the fully functional prototypes before sending designs to the development team.

Get access to Merge today so you can make your design operations manager job easier and improve your product development process.

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