DesOps Process – Putting the Human Back into the Value-Creation Process in the Enterprise

After the pause and exploration into the DesOps / DesignOps area of roughly a year and half, I am back, with with some reflections with the focus on “Process”.

Unlike the early years, back in 2013-14, when I had started with design automation to make the life of the designers easy; gradually started writing about connecting different stages of SDLC to Design for optimising the PM-Design-Developer handovers, coined the DesOps as the next step to with a design centric DevOps philosophy in 2017-18, and wrote about the DesOpsDesignOps as a next-wave in design — now it has taken a centre-stage in various design related debates and posts. Also many organisations are now more than curious in trying out the new philosophies shared by various design thought-leaders and experiment with the newly opened roles.

Thanks to all of those who remained in touch, and shared their unique stories of experiences and challenges in various organisations they serve at various roles including design. These helped me immensely to evaluate concepts against scenarios and do the litmus-testing around the real life use-cases.

Starting with this 2nd series, with the topic, that was initiated from an old time friend and well-know member of the design community, who asked me about the perspectives around the design leadership role in DesOps.

 

Traditional View of Human as (is) a Resource!

During beginning of industrial revolution, the enterprises brought various processes to the organisation and the product creation and delivery journey in order to achieve optimisation and improve efficiency.

When we talk about “Just in time” and other similar processes are purely functional models, where time or resource is at the centre. These processes gradually got matured and got transferred to the modern day and thereby today’s organisation inherited many processes from these that dealt with product creation, delivery, marketing and managing resources.

In the industrial revolution era, humans associated were seen as resources by the organisations. They were similar to other resources required for the product or service life cycle to operate and run. No surprise that we have Human Resource (HR) departments in the organisations.

Most of the processes put into practices were associated with how to procure resources and optimally use them as part of the whole life cycle. The organisational policies formed were around these philosophies. For example, the rules in hiring, managing working hours construct, creation of the vertical-roles and responsibilities came into existence through such policy creation.

These helped the organisation run the operations required to successfully manage the value creation and delivery roles. Because of these many roles gradually came into existence as part of organisational structure, which were mostly modelled on such processes and the responsibilities. During these processes were built around either process optimisation or automation perspective or efficiency perspective.

So what was excluded from these, is the “human” himself. The functional centric processes prescribed the actions and boundaries around different roles, without considering the role being associated with a human-being and there by needing the “empathy” angle. That’s why there are many policies and organisation-cultures are shaped by these processes are in most of the cases are not able to support the some of the modern-day philosophies like “Open Organisation”, where empathy plays a greater role to shape the culture as well as the processes.

The organisations like RedHat and others who deal with open source communities had to break the bounding box beyond each role and break the vertical org-structure at least at the bottom of the pyramid otherwise it would not have been possible to operate in the open source community, where the contributors or the team may spread across the globe unlike the traditional industrial revolution concept of an enterprise.

Many of the contributors to some of the key and flagship open source products available online were contributed by house-wives or working-mother who use to commit code in their spare time. These team members traditionally do not fit into any ‘fixed role’ or the “working-time” construct.

In today’s post pandemic world when most of us are working from home for our organisations, the old traditional human resource concept of any role and the policies and process around it start falling apart. Many organisation have now started exploring the workaround the new policies which were not holding water during these troubling time through these new working models.

Through DesOps, while we try to build the organisation design led, and highlight the importance of a “design-driven development-led human-centric value creation, delivery and management process“, we bring the human back into the process. We provide them the centre stage and use empathy to understand the existing pain points and process gaps to bridge them and design the tailor made activity sets and tailor made play books to work around the existing challenges and through out this improve the process.

As every organisation is different, so is their unique needs for operation, a DesOps leader helps in applying Design to make the organisation “Design-Driven” which leads to the optimal design outcome and delivery.

Who is a DesOps/DesignOps Leader?

The typical responsibilities of DesOps/DesignOps leader would involve the following –

  • Growing the cultural aspect – evolving design teams – aligning to the “design maturity” model.
  • Identify the pain-points in the team culture to reduce the impact of any bias design ideation and communications that gets impacted and thereby impacts the design outcome.
  • Bridging the skill gap – ensuring the hiring process is able to recognise the right blend of skill-set for the design role.
  • Improving the touch-points and the process connects the different roles in the organisation as the part of product design-cum-development life cycle.
  • Define and suggest alignments to applying design thinking at all levels of the lifecycle.
  • Identifying the gaps in the day today design operation and optimise them.
  • Define tailor made play-books for different decision making that the different roles and the team can use to take decisions.
  • Optimising the tools/eco-system to bridge between designer and stakeholders as well as the engineering organisation.
  • Bring automation to the design-development lifecycle through deploying Open Design System through Symantic design-system model in order to align to take the next step for the DevOps model. (yes I name it correct — DesOps is about taking DevOps to the next level)
  • Educate and evangelise how the “design” is the common thread between all the associated disciplines so as to build the “design-led” culture in the organisation
  • Build and manage a DesignOPs Center of Excellence (COE)

So the “North-star” leader in DesOpsDesignOps should be blend of understanding all the six spaces/ dimensions –

  1. The vision and stakeholder space – Product management/ Service management space
  2. Understanding into organisation culture and the process involved with Human Resource.
  3. Understand the Design process and models, methodology and tool sets
  4. Need to understand the Project /program management models used for delivery
  5. Need to have good understanding of the technology space involved along with the tools/eco-systems and design system.
  6. Should be a practitioner of Design Thinking as a way of life to apply in the context of all of the above five.

From a career growth perspective a “traditional” design-leader with his ability with the backbone of human-empathy, can migrate into this orchestrator role, by gathering understanding around the other involved disciplines/spaces and especially it can start with growing into either product or programme management.

Center-of-Excellence (COE) for DesOpsDesignOps

In many of the attempts by many thought leaders while articulating about the DesignOps or DesOps, many frequently talk about the role involved – the DesOps-leader aka DesignOps leader . But without the team of right composition, DesOps leader will not be able to execute on the ground.

DesOps leader in the organisation, is more an orchestrator than a solo-executioner, as it is not practical. He needs to have the vision of DesOps philosophies along with sense of responsibilities and attributes, but yet he has to have the right combination of skilled as well as positions team around him to ensure the DesOps model is available.

The closest analogy is a Product Manager‘s role. It is a role that orchestrates among the different disciplines and departments in order to ensure the product/service or the value creation and delivery life-cycle is smooth and efficient.  And remember, the DesOps philosophies are modelled due to the similar necessities of ensuring the right design outcome as the part of the value creation lifecycle.

That’s why a Center-of-Excellence (COE) of DesOpsDesignOps in the Organization makes a lot of sense rather than just bringing up a design-leader as a solo DesOps/DesignOps director.

The DesOps COE in the organisation connects with the various spaces, or departments. In the ontology of touch points, in the first volume of my book “The DesOps Enterprise”, I had explained how throughout the journey various, touch-points can be explored as part of roles, models, ecosystems, tool sets etc.

For a DesOps leader when connects with the different stakeholders who are part of the value creation process (as well as the ones who work to shaping up of the right culture), he connects with these various touch-points.

The DesOps acts as the rudder to the organisation to providing the direction in bringing up to the right maturity level in making the organisation design-led.

Let’s continue the journey of DesOps from the process aspects in the subsequent posts.

Keep in touch!

 

 

 

(c) Samir Dash, 2020. All rights reserved. This content including the images are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International license

[ First published on LinkedIn (August 19, 2020) at https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/putting-human-back-value-creation-process-enterprise-samir-dash/]

Talk: Building Open Design Systems

Community : Play is Serious: BLR Creative Mini Gateway  – a community of designers in Cisco Bengaluru. 

The talk will focus on Open Design System including the references to Nuclear Design and Semantic models on building Design System.

Three key takeaways:

  1. Background and of existing design systems and evolution
  2. Overview Open Design System Concept
  3. Semantic Models
  4. Nuclear Design Model for Design Systems
  5. Collaborations using CDN approach
  6. Samples – Working code showing Nuclear model

Date & Time: 11:AM – 12PM  on 6 Dec 2018 (IST)
Venue:  Cisco Bengaluru Campus.

[Video] DesOps 101 (#9): Culture is Most CriticalComponent of DesOps.

[Video] DesOps 101 (#6) : It’s about Finding & Applying Best-fit Practices.

[Video] DesOps 101 (#5) : Taking the Next Step in DevOps Mindset

[Video] DesOps 101 (#3) : Design Operations as Service Design

Talk at DesignOps Global Conference 2019 , Manchester, England, 30-31st May 2019

Topic: [TBD – On  DesOps /DesignOps ]
Date: 30/31 May 2019
Venue:  Manchester, England

Super excited to be part of DesignOps Global Conference (www.designops-conference.com) to share ideas with some great minds on hashtagdesignops hashtagdesops hashtagdesign and the future of hashtagdesign from the lens of hashtagopenorg culture and hashtagdesignthinking being applied as the way of life to improve and optimize the operations in the organizations to deliver the “wow” experience, through best utilizing the hashtagprocess and hashtagecosystems and hashtagtechnology in context. Thanks, Peter Fossick. Looking forward to a series of engaging sessions for every hashtagdesigner / hashtagleader.

 

About the Conference:

The DesignOps Global Conference is for design leaders, developers, practitioners, product managers, service innovators and business leaders that are defining the way we design and develop new products and services. Join us Manchester for the DesignOps Global Conference 2019 Agile and Beyond – New Frontiers in Design
30 + 31 May, 2019

The themes for this year’s DesignOps Global Conference are:

  • DAY 1
    • Theme 1: DesignOps and the impact of design
    • Theme 2: Collaborating at speed and scale
  • DAY 2
    • Theme 3: Developing new cultures – developing new organisations
    • Theme 4: DesignOps in the era of AI and cognitive computing

More details of the event and to get the pass visit https://designops-conference.com/

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Talk at RH UI/UX Community of Practice: DesOps 101-Overview

DesOps 101: Overview

 Community Calls 

The talk will focus on overview  DesOps.

Three key takeaways:

  1. Background and overview of DesOps.
  2. The high-level overview of the different dimensions of Design operations
  3. DesOps from Service Design point of view
  4. Samples/Examples
  5. Cultural dimension and Open Org aspect.

Date & Time: 12:AM – 1 PM  on 10 Nov 2018 (IST)
Venue:  Virtual Community call over BlueJeans.

 

 

 

Slides

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Future of Design Systems: CDN Based Open Design Eco-System

 

When we talk about an open world, we inherently refer to an attempt towards making it possible so that all the entities in that eco-system can talk to each other. It would involve peopleprops and processes – the typical 3 components we use in a service design model (https://www.nngroup.com/articles/service-design-101/)

Any service design tool helps to find out the touch-points and what is happening around that with the user at the center through tools like Empathy Maps, User Journeys, Service Design Blueprints and so on.

However for a future world of automation and machine learning, it becomes critical to ensure that these touch points are also considered the other two i.e. props and processes at the center. The DesOps is practically all about finding out this and enabling those touch points through the act of optimzing, reducing or removing them, to improve the operation.

In the same context we look at the design systems in use, (e.g. in a visual design and UI design and development scenario – a branding guideline, widget library, collection sample code organized in someway) also are part of bigger eco-system, where the future automation of design with machine learning they need to talk to each other. Being a set of “prop” they need also to interact with “people” and “processes”. This means, a design eco-system of future should be open, where collaboration from “people” or the “designers” is made possible where design systems follow a common model to become part of the common language.

At the same time the design systems should semantic so that the machines can infer them and take logical decisions (read: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/open-design-system-adding-semantics-part-3-heredity-samir-dash/)

Then how to achieve this?

One of the possible way, as I see is to build the open design “eco-system” with the two components in them.

The first one is a Content Delivery Network (CDN) that would allow different design systems to share their content for reusability and collaboration against some namespaces (or an identifier path )

Secondly, it should follow a model that is scalable, extensible and can align to semantic model. One such model as I was writing about earlier is the Nuclear Design Model. (read https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/photo-essay-semantic-design-system-part-2-nuclear-model-samir-dash/ )

So the Open Design (Eco)System would be combination of a CDN with a Nuclear Design Model.

To achieve this in design dimensions of different domains e.g. UI design, Visual Design, Branding, Voice based System Design, Business Process Design, Service design, Content Design, Learning or Instructional Design, System Design etc. etc. we need to use different technologies, framework and methodologies depending on the area it touches upon, and I think this would is a great opportunity for all service designer in today’s world to explore these and define.

In the UX India workshop I took an example case of UI design and development scenario targeting web technology, and attempted on a Proof -of – concept (POC) using HTML, CSS and JS.

I created a basic css representations of the Nuclear Model using CSS3 Variables, that allowed modification of properties which was an essential part of building an inheritance model of properties.

So I started with a basic bucketing of the entities at a conceptual level, with a namespace model and folder structure.

ODS-Global was the global namespace tagged to a folder that contained two set of entities i.e. Tokens and Primitives.

In Tokens (representing properties and attributes) I kept all the list of tokens without assigning them to any particular entities. Then under Primitives, 3 main primitives were defined (namely Shape, Image and Text), where each one defined which tokens belong to them.

Then each design system created by anyone would have a separate namespace folder under which there are buckets/folders for each entity type, namely :

Tokens – set of properties or attributes defined with default values

Primitives – applied a set of selective tokens

Derivatives – these are derivations from any primitive with modified values to the tokens they are associated with)

Patterns – combination of derivatives in an integrated way

Template – combination of patterns.

Views – combination of templates.

The above diagram shows the conceptual structure and how inheritance is happening based on the approach mentioned above. This conceptual structure now can be represented in CSS , HTML and JS as following

And the following image shows how the entities get their default properties and if needed over-ride them while maintaining the scope of their entities.

See how in a design system DS1 the properties change, keeping the same list of tokens intact, to provide one-to-one mapping among the design systems.

When I translated this into CSS and HTML and JS structure, I got the following structure of folders and files for the POC.

In the actual application, only referring to the namespace and type of entity is good enough to load the right pattern from any design-system part of the open design eco-system.

You can download and play around the code of the sample above from github:

https://github.com/OpenDesignSystem/ODS-CDN

Note: this is a prototype of the concept and is not optimal for any production usage. Ther are a lot scope to improve the implementation. For example usage of @import in CSS in real time may not be practical, but it might be good idea to write a preprocessor that would build the final CSS and JS from the namespace, like NPM.

Here are some screenshots from actual POC we ran in the workshop:

The following a example of pattern called “label” from a designsystem namespace “com-company1-ds1” . This is made with derivatives from 2 basic primitives i.e. “Shape” and “Text”.

The following a example of pattern called “button” from a designsystem namespace “com-company1-ds1” . This is made with derivatives from same 2 basic primitives i.e. “Shape” and “Text”.

The following a example of pattern called “editable-textbox” from a design-system namespace “com-company1-ds1” . This is made with derivatives from same 2 basic primitives i.e. “Shape” and “Text”.

The following a example of a template (not created a formal template class though ) of a login form from a design-system namespace “com-company1-ds1” . This is made with patterns from same namespace.

Hope you enjoyed this quick and dirty article written in 30 mins. If you get the concept from the article, my goals are met 🙂

Download the sample code to play around from here: https://github.com/OpenDesignSystem/ODS-CDN

View the part 2 of the workshop slides here that is related to this activity:

https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/workshop-deck-part-2-applying-desops-your-enterprise-samir-dash/

You can view the first part of the slides of this work shop here:

https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/workshop-deckapplying-desops-your-enterprise-samir-dash/

You can explore more here:

https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/open-design-system-adding-semantics-part-3-heredity-samir-dash/

‘Semantic Design System : Redefining Design Systems for DesOps’ https://www.slideshare.net/MobileWish/semantic-design-system-redefining-design-systems-for-desops-v10-1sep-2018

Nuclear Design: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/photo-essay-semantic-design-system-part-2-nuclear-model-samir-dash/

Open Design System Ontology: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/photo-essay-semantic-design-system-part-3-open-ontology-samir-dash/?

(c) Samir Dash, 2018. All rights reserved. This content including the images are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International license

 

 

 

 

 

 

[Workshop Deck] PART-2: Applying DesOps in Your Enterprise

[This is the SECOND part of the half-day workshop titled “Applying DesOps in Your Enterprise” I conducted at the “UX India Conference 2018” on 4th October, 2018, Bengaluru. This part focused on ‘Design System’ aspect of DesOps, and tried to address the challenges that designer face when they collaborate using around either two or more design systems. Neither of the design system as of today talk to each other in the same way, nor is the fact that that none of the design systems organize and define their patterns in the same structure.

This part of the work shop attempts to solve that issue through introducing the concept of “CDN based Open Design Eco-System” (* CDN – Content Delivery Network) that is modelled on a Nuclear Design Model which can be scaled up and be made semantic, so that the automation of design process can be made possible. In the workshop we also see an implementation or a proof of the concept for the web-design and development domain using HTML, CSS and Javascript. This uses CSS3 variables to implement an extensible framework based on the Nuclear Design Model.

The code can be downloaded from https://github.com/OpenDesignSystem/ODS-CDN .

You can explore more at

http://desops.io and http://opendesignsystem.org/portal/nuclear-design/

Workshop at UX India International Conference 2018 : Applying DesOps in Your Enterprise

]

 

 

You can explore more here:

https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/open-design-system-adding-semantics-part-3-heredity-samir-dash/

‘Semantic Design System : Redefining Design Systems for DesOps’ https://www.slideshare.net/MobileWish/semantic-design-system-redefining-design-systems-for-desops-v10-1sep-2018

Nuclear Design: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/photo-essay-semantic-design-system-part-2-nuclear-model-samir-dash/

Open Design System Ontology: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/photo-essay-semantic-design-system-part-3-open-ontology-samir-dash/?

 

 

(c) Samir Dash, 2018. All rights reserved. This content including the images are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International license