July 28, 2020

DesignOps at eBay

Headshot photo of Caio Manzotti


Design Operations Lead at eBay

eBay Classifieds Group

With Caio Manzotti — Design Operations Lead at eBay Classifieds Group.

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

I see DesignOps as the facilitator of a team vision and strategy. Helping them to achieve their objectives via a strategic and efficient operation.

What was the tipping point for you, where you realised this was something that was required and beneficial in your team?

I’ve always been looking for opportunities to improve the way I work, especially when it comes to keeping the consistency over my design decision process. In this pursuit, I started to notice that this was a shared problem, so I built a case around a design system over a few months. As the demand and understanding grew, I was appointed to lead this initiative within our team.

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

We have three distinct tracks that support the way we work from beginning to end. It starts with a solid design strategy, where we define how we tackle our problems. If it relates to the interface, this strategy is reflected in the second track, our design system, as components and guidelines. The last track is the operation itself, where designers apply the strategy into their daily work. And due to the alignment provided by our design system, this gets carried over development as well.

How does DesignOps affect the efficiency/effectiveness of your day-to-day operations in the team as a whole?

In the beginning, what we noticed is that we were actually taking more time to deliver. This happened because we started to spend more time defining our design-patterns, processes, and foundations. Now that we have these things in a good state, the process from design to development is much more efficient and integrated. This initiative also had a great impact on collaboration, by improving the way designers and developers work together.

What advice would you give to designers wanting to make a career pathway in DesignOps?

Considering that you are already in a design team, try to incorporate some design operations tasks into your daily work. If the demand for more tasks grows, it’s a chance to negotiate a fulltime position. This approach will also give you the chance to experiment, helping you to identify which skills you may need to develop more.

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).

Most of my reading happens on Medium. What I love about the content there, is that you can always find what you are looking for, from broader guides to very niche topics. But if I had to recommend an author in this platform, it would be Nathan Curtis, from EightShapes. I also like to read about how other professions deal with the same problems. For example, how architects deal with project and execution or how production engineers handle manufactory operations.

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

I believe that drinking coffee at night helps me sleep better. It brings me comfort and relaxation after dinner, a ritual that allows me to unplug, almost like a shutdown button.