June 2, 2018

DesignOps at Cisco Umbrella

Headshot photo of Claudia Love


DesignOps Manager

Cisco Umbrella

With Claudia Love — DesignOps Manager at Cisco Umbrella.

In your own terms, at a high level, how do you define or think about “DesignOps”?

DesignOps is the discipline responsible for the health of the design practice, which consists of people, tools, process, and delivery.

What was the tipping point for you, where you realised this was something that was required and beneficial in your team/company? Was there anything that made you take notice and decide to venture down this DesignOps path? Or any early wins that made you pursue it further?

Scaling. Our team grew from three to eight designers in ten months, so I realized pretty quickly that I needed to be more intentional about design operations.

How does DesignOps effect the efficiency/effectiveness of your day-to-day operations in the team as a whole, and more specifically in the design team? Where have you noticed the most improvements? (ie. Speed of work, frictionless of handovers, happiness of employees, quality/consistency of work etc).

Velocity, consistency, and collaboration between designers and with other groups (particularly engineering).

What does the tooling and flow/process look like for your design team (and development team - if applicable)?

We always start with customer interviews and looking at product usage data. Once we have enough information and depending on the project, we might run activities like user journey mapping or brainstorming sessions. Designers use Sketch to put mocks together and InVision to generate interactive prototypes.

We test those in moderated (customer calls) and unmoderated (UserTesting) sessions and iterate from there based on our learnings.

We are working on improving our design system to make the designer-developer hand-off and collaboration frictionless.

What resources or influences have had the most impact on the way you approach your day to day operations in the DesignOps space? (This could be other companies, books, podcasts, articles, talks etc).

Lou Rosenfeld and his crew have done a great job at tackling DesignOps and building a community around it via writing, podcasts, and events.

I’m hoping I can attend their DesignOps Summit this year.

What is something you believe, that most other people would think is crazy?

I assume this one is not necessarily related to DesignOps. If that’s the case, I believe that planning for retirement is arrogant – who says you’re going to live that long?