Matt Eng

Matt Eng

Grounding DesignOps in DevOps – The Phoenix Project

I am digesting this book that I found in a neighborhood lending library. It’s one of those little cabinets on the curb that offer a “take one – leave one” policy for anyone. In one of these mini libraries, I found the Phoenix Project.

About the Phoenix Project

The book is a novel about an IT department and how it navigates the politics and behaviors of a company struggling to reverse decline revenues and market share.

The book is not a common recommendation for UX professionals. We tend to bury our heads in resources that tout the craft of design. Nonetheless, the value of this book is to highlight how corporations take priorities and translate them into work.

For the UX team and anyone with experience in mid to large companies, this will help connect the dots with the actually day-to-day work.

DesignOps and work

UX teams tend to pile on lists of priorities for a DesignOps person. These are basically pain points that keep UX designers or researchers from focusing on their core responsibilities.

For the most part, DesignOps should examine and priorities these pain points to determine the approach for removing them from the team’s worries.

The one exception is understanding, managing, and communicating the flow of work. This was on of the key points of the book.

Understanding work-in-progress

Understanding the work-in-progress is the key. This is for the UX team management and the root to a lot the issues they face.

  • What are the priorities?
  • How much can the team take on?
  • How do we deal with PM and DEV demanding faster work?

From my experience, the sooner the UX team documents, tracks, and communicates their work internally and outward to PM and DEV, the faster the UX management can have strategic conversations on team organization, growing the team, building new UX capabilities.

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