Apart from tooling, I also worked on initiatives that aimed to improve our workflow as well as collaboration processes.
With the migration to Figma and some fundamental changes in the way we worked e.g. sharing links our source files vs. uploading only "final" screens onto an inspection tool like Invision or Zeplin, we needed a process in place to help designers organise and communicate their design artifacts.
Figma has an infinite canvas which means there's no starting point when you first create a file. This also means every designer will have a different way of organising their user flows, wireframes, UI, specs and design & implementation status. Naturally some methods are better than others.
From our initial review of all working files and from speaking to our partners in engineering and product, we found:
We decided to:
Each designer was already assigned to a team which belonged to a business unit (i.e. Brokerage or Lending). We assigned each "Figma team" to a business unit.
Project was used to segment the units further into verticals. Designers were assigned into their vertical (Travel Insurance, Car Insurance, Banking) and would have their own corresponding project space.
File was used for features or products within the vertical. Some designers preferred to have everything in one file, some preferred to break a complex project or product into multiple files. We left this to the designers to decide since they knew the project's complexity best.
The most important part though is the Canvas. We defined a clear hierarchy and flow to the Canvas.
From top to bottom:
From left to right:
After the initial workflow and file template was rolled out we continuously tested and improved it along the way. Some parts of the original plan was cumbersome and naturally abandoned in place of better practices.
Instead of moving screens around to show statuses:
Instead of updating the statuses of individual screens:
Riding on the initial success of our File Organisation Guideline, we also worked on improving our Design Kit documentation.
The transition from Sketch to Figma↩︎ was meant to encourage the non-core members of the design system "team" to contribute to the Design Kit. However, we later received feedback that our designers still found it daunting and more than half of the team was hesitant or lack confidence in contributing to the Design Kit.
A detailed guideline of how our Design Kit was structured, was also included and updated to the latest version based on our design system refresh plan.
We also took the opportunities to further document best practices so this knowledge didn't get lost amongst designers of different skill levels for example:
To set the right expectation going in, we also drafted a documentation "guideline for our guideline" 😄 loosely based on Material Design.
However in order to further provide context for our designers as well as help new designers level up in tooling, we also added:
Similar to any other designers who work in cross functional teams, each of our designer needed to embrace simultaneously 2 team cultures:
Despite having processes for Team Updates and Design Review in place, we started facing new challenges as we transitioned into this squad model late 2018 and early 2019:
"While all of these smaller teams (e.g. squads) mostly operate independently, it’s important that they remain in contact." – Org Design for Design Orgs, Peter Merholz, Kristin Skinner
In order to decide where designers should be allocated we outlined criteria for consideration:
We formalized this into different sessions that designers could take initiative to conduct and outlined the topic of discussion for each session to make the best out of the relationship: