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Org Design for Design Orgs: Building and Managing In-House Design Teams

4.26  ·  Rating details ·  408 ratings  ·  35 reviews
Design has become the key link between users and today's complex and rapidly evolving digital experiences, and designers are starting to be included in strategic conversations about the products and services that enterprises ultimately deliver. This has led to companies building in-house digital/experience design teams at unprecedented rates, but many of them don't underst ...more
Paperback, 198 pages
Published September 13th 2016 by O'Reilly Media (first published August 22nd 2016)
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Average rating 4.26  · 
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Vuk Trifkovic
Nov 24, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Short, to the point and full of insight. Must read for anyone working with or building design teams...
Erin DeLaney
Jan 16, 2021 rated it really liked it
Great book about the purpose, strategy, and organization of design teams and departments in today's industry. I used this book to inform the structure of how my company approaches design, as well as other departments. A particular concept I appreciated was the levels of scale different roles should be operating at as a percentage of their job. (The big picture, Strategy, Structure, Surface) ...more
Feb 12, 2021 rated it liked it
A little long and pedantic.
May 17, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: design, read-soon
A must-read for any organization looking to maximize the impact of its design team.
Jul 17, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
If you are a design leader on the rise or even a seasoned one, this is an indispensable guide on how design teams should be built, grown and lead. While reading it, I recognized countless examples of both good and bad practices from my own experience. I also learned a lot, both on how I could have done things better myself, as well as how I can start improving right now and in the future. It is exactly abundant experience of the authors, told with simple and easy to understand language, which is ...more
Zachary Frazier
May 15, 2018 rated it really liked it
Essential reading for anyone interested in managing an effective in-house design team. The focus is less on interteam dynamics (or design thinking), and more on managing external relationships, human resources, and structuring within a larger organization. The hiring chapter makes this a great gift for your HR manager, and the focus on culture and management over buzzwords makes it actually useful for generating innovations and well designed products.
Bryan Zug
Sep 11, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
So Design won… Now what?

Great practical approaches to make sure that Deign has the leadership, structural, and operational chops to take full advantage of the seat it has gained at the business leadership table. Fully recommend for design and business leaders who want to grok the advantages and structure of great design orgs.
Arganka Yahya
Nov 26, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Impressive text with practical examples. Really useful for design leaders or someone who want to establish in-house design organization.
Kurt Yalcin
Mar 08, 2018 rated it really liked it
Really great book! I had my own personal issues around specific parts (reliance on the Diamond Process, advocating for the Product Designer title, etc.), but as a whole, it was an awesome read.
Aug 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Candi by: Kevin Hoffman
I was originally recommended this book by Kevin Hoffman after his talk about Design Operations. I felt like it lightly talked about Design Ops but I think overall, it was a great book about design teams. At my current workplace, our design team has been growing. When I first started, we didn't have dedicated design resources for product. Now we have a handful of people. I think it's important to understand the team structure at other companies and adjust your own team as needed. We don't current ...more
Lance Willett
Oct 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A concise and authoritative guide to organizing design teams. Just the best parts.

The key element in this book that applies to my Product Management work is understanding the Centralized Partnership model for cross-functional teams working on shared projects, yet reporting to leaders and mentors in their own function. The best of both worlds because it combines the speed and quality of embedded teams with the efficiency and consistency of a centralized function.

Erin Weigel
Oct 22, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This is a great book if you're new to leading a design team, large or small. It has lots of practical, actionable advice and observations about hiring, working with, and leading designers. I will definitely take some of the learnings from this book and apply them to my job to see how they work out. ...more
Matt Spiel
Jan 08, 2018 rated it liked it
This book is a decent overview of the nuts and bolts for how to run a design team. It's mostly surface-level, but would provide a good starting point for anyone who finds themselves new to leading design teams. Most useful parts would be who to hire and when, different roles and functions needed inside a team, and the foundational process needed to develop projects. ...more
Mar 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I won this book at a Rethink event in SF on Design Ops, where it was recommended as “the Bible of Design Ops”. The book is delightful, simply written, and intensely practical. I was able to read it quite quickly, and find many points that either resonated with me or I could use as a measure to apply to my own design team experience.
Arnold Petersen
Jul 25, 2019 rated it really liked it
Book on very interesting topic, creating/managing design teams and some practical advice on creating design culture within the organisation and full of actionable insights however in some parts, it lacks substance as the argument becomes a one way street and a personal opinion rather than a proven method... Still a great read!
Anton Nikolov
May 10, 2021 rated it really liked it
A good book to give you interesting ideas on building your design team and the different aspects of that challenging task from deciding when it is time to grow the team to onboarding and interacting with new members of the team. I think it is a nice addition to a designer's library and especially for design managers. ...more
sarah semark
Jun 19, 2018 rated it liked it
Pretty dry overall, but it makes a great case for how to structure design within an organisation in a way that keeps designers happy, challenged, and producing their best work, with well-reasoned arguments.
Yana Sanko
Jul 16, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: organizations, design
I think this book could be very helpful for someone who is thinking of the best way to build design organization. The part explaining design competency framework could also be very useful is you think to start career in design. Some ideas and tips were interesting, however I guess I expected more.
Aug 05, 2019 rated it really liked it
It’s structured in a way that you don’t have to read cover to cover, but dip into a particular topic of interest, but you might end up reading it in full. It’s a comprehensive summary of all the things to consider when building, scaling and maintaining a design team.
Andrew Johnson
Aug 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Great practical overview for design leaders. My team has grown from 2 to 8 people and I’m at a critical moment, needing to think about structure and culture as I’m less directly involved in “the work”.

Will be turning to this repeatedly as a resource in the coming weeks and months.
Oct 23, 2019 rated it liked it
Helpful guide for new design managers that has many of the basics gathered from how to screen a portfolio as a hiring manager to how to run a team weekly meeting. I was hoping for more discussion and case studies specifically around different design org designs.
Christine Donahue
Quick read about how to build out a design team.
Oct 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: design
Required read for ambitious teams

Incredibly useful advice for design organizations that are on a growth trajectory and for individuals who want to take part on leading this journey
Marion Boberg
Aug 13, 2019 rated it really liked it
very useful to understand what design organisation fits, a company based on their design maturity.
Jan 15, 2021 rated it it was amazing
I'm going to keep this one close by, it will surely become a regular reference. ...more
Hylke Van Maaren
Apr 26, 2021 rated it really liked it
Handy tips and a good overview of things to deal with scaling design.
Mar 18, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Really enjoyed this book. While it’s officially about how design should fit into an organization I found it helpful in understanding how user experience can fit into building products.

My favorite quote: “Design can no longer be a specification that is handed off, built, and never seen again. It needs to be embedded within the strategy and development processes, and its practitioners must be deeply familiar with the company’s mission, vision, and practices.”
Eric Brown
Jun 03, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: ux-and-usability
If you are building a UX team into a UX department, this is a must read book for you and your leadership. Both insightful and practical, the authors do a good job of laying out a framework for maturing the UX practice at your company.
Oct 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is an excellent read for anyone interested in how to shape and lead a team. Lots of theory, but also plenty of practical things to take away.
Jan 17, 2018 rated it liked it
Quite a few good advice on a UX team setup, especially useful if a company just starting up, and has no idea what to do.
- Very good rationalization on the overall basics, like qualities of effective design organization - this could be also used by existing teams to review their status
- Felt the description of ideal team setup rather one sides.
- Maybe geared towards larger corporations and enterprises.
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