Design/UX Team Structure

almost 6 years ago from Matt Felten, Design System Lead at YouCaring

  • Ryan McLaughlinRyan McLaughlin, over 5 years ago

    I think Joshua nailed most about the skillsets, but I can speak to the "agency" aspect. My team functions inside the Product team alongside Development, both reporting to the CPO. We organize our work as if we are a standalone agency.

    Obviously the development team is a "client" with a pretty regular task list (staying ahead of their AGILE development for a new set of products currently under construction), but we're also assisting/leading Marketing in a large website redesign and brand refinement project, collateral, event branding, etc. While we ramp up our bandwidth and resources, that will spread to Sales, Training, etc.

    The team is still really new (hence our dated website & products) and we're currently juggling a lot of things, but once all the new stuff is released we will be the gatekeepers of anything design- or brand-related within the company. My rule is that if a customer or potential customer's eyes will be on it, Design needs to approve it. As the company grows we will likely expand that rule for internal items as well.

    I think this is the best way to function, but it required having an executive team that truly sees the value of design in order to allow them to have some final go/no-go say on big projects that lots of people work on. If that can be part of the company culture, I think you will be very successful.

    1 point
    • Matt FeltenMatt Felten, over 5 years ago

      Really interesting Ryan. Having design as an "internal agency" seems the most logical to me, although that's pretty much what I'm used to. An agency structure.

      I was also reading about a "hub and spoke" approach, where designers are actually divided out into respective teams and integrated closer to the actual work they're doing.

      That said, I don't think, even with hiring one more designer, we'd be able to do that, so I'm probably putting the cart in front of the horse here.

      1 point
      • Ryan McLaughlinRyan McLaughlin, over 5 years ago

        I'm not a fan of the hub and spoke approach to be honest.

        • I think you get more stylistic deviation creeping in an organization laid out that way, especially as you grow. Lots more pressure on the director to manage that.

        • You have to consider budgeting disparity. If your designers all need a new version of software, but the designer in Marketing doesn't have the budget, then what? You'd still have to ensure your design team got their own budget.

        • What if the Sales team does really well and celebrates by taking the team out to an outing? The one designer goes and the other designers are kinda left out. You lose a lot of the "team" vibe IMO.

        It probably can work, but if the ultimate goal is consistency and quality of work from the designers, I think as a director it's better to keep everyone close to the nest.

        1 point