Set the team up for success with an improved discovery process and clear career paths that allow members the flexibility to broaden their skillset. Create design principles and a design system to deliver better customer experiences and increase team efficiency.

Problem: At Crate and Barrel, we practiced Dual Track Agile. While the Delivery track was running smoothly, our Discovery track needed some refinements to ensure we were working efficiently and remaining customer focused.

Tactics: Cross-functional Workshop / Socialization

Solution: This illustration acts as a reminder that we should be collaborating early and often, and that one of the main points of Discovery (represented here by black diamonds) is that we may "discover" that our idea is not worth pursuing.

Discovery Process
Design Team Levels

Problem: Inconsistent titles and job descriptions made levels confusing to designers and their teammates. Additionally, a division of labor between "UX" and "UI" design made it hard to staff teams and ensure that everyone had a chance to grow their skillset.

Tactics: Cross-functional Workshop / Socialization / Trial and Error

Solution: A streamlined set of roles that prepared us for growth, created clear career paths and allowed team members to broaden their skillsets. Separate paths were created for researchers working outside of product teams and generalist designers embedded on cross functional teams. Each path contained separate opportunities for management track and individual contributor track. A team exercise to explore the "shape" of each designer helped uncover where team members wanted to grow.

Levels Framework and Shape of the Design Team

Design Principles
Digital Design System

Problem: The team lacked a clear understanding of our design values. This resulted in a lot of wasted time debating small issues instead of allowing the team to focus on real customer problems. Additionally, we lacked a solid Design System and a process for how to use it, resulting in a lot of energy spent reinventing components from project to project.

Tactics: Workshops / Site Audit

Solution: A set of Design Principles to help designers and product managers make informed decisions based on our vision for the experience, as well as a design system that contained a repeatable toolbox of components and styles that brought revenue driving enhancements to customers faster.

Design System