What does success as Head of Design look like?

almost 2 years ago from Rou Mills, Design at Names & Faces

  • Jonathan ShariatJonathan Shariat, almost 2 years ago

    There are 3 important things to focus on:

    1. Health & growth of the team
    2. Product vision/direction
    3. Business success (in that order because the previous items contribute the next)

    (1

    • Hire a great team
    • Team skills/experience are growing
    • Happy & supported
    • Well defined/refined process
    • Design is valued & understood
    • User-centered process (Not just in the design org but Biz, PM, and Dev)

    (2

    • Have a point of view, based on understanding of users, where the product needs to be
    • Core product experience is solid. If not, its your job to advocate to fix "broken windows" before building new features.
    • Explorations being done outside of perceived product direction.

    (3

    • Success clearly defined
    • Success clearly defined for all team members
    • Success tracked with best available KPI's (and always note that these don't give the entire picture but are the best data we have to measure success)
    • In the end make sure you measure not just $ but also the stability of the company to bring in that $ in the future, ethical implications of progress.
    27 points
    • Rou Mills, almost 2 years ago

      This is incredibly helpful, Jonathan. Some good pieces to digest here. I'm in the process of writing a manifesto of sorts for myself: My role and what success looks like.

      0 points
    • Felipe Delgado, almost 2 years ago

      Product vision/direction

      Sorry, but wouldn't this typically fall under the umbrella of a Head of Product? Or in case there is none, the CEO?

      I'm all for blurry lines and fostering open collaboration across the org chart. But I still find it odd to put this responsibility on the Head of Design.

      0 points
      • Jonathan ShariatJonathan Shariat, almost 2 years ago

        I detailed what that means in the three points in that section.

        (2

        Have a point of view, based on understanding of users, where the product needs to be

        Core product experience is solid. If not, its your job to advocate to fix "broken windows" before building new features.

        Explorations being done outside of perceived product direction.

        Its going to be an overlapping responsibility. Its the product after all. Design's responsibility is to advocate for user-centered decisions while still executing on business goals.

        Heres a good example: In a large company you might have many different teams working to meet their goals. They might all add in product discovery like a modal or alert or notification, etc. It all adds up to a terrible experience for the user. The head of Design needs to have that holistic picture and make the call that these need to be moderated and a system needs to be implemented.

        0 points