Design Educator & Design Manager
As a Design Manager, I strive to foster a supportive and collaborative culture and evangelize UX outside of the team.
As a manager, it is important to for me to get to know my team. We don't have to be best friends, but I like to know a little bit about them so I can tailor my communication in a way that is effective and pleasant for the direct report.
When first meeting a team, I like to go out to lunch right away (within the first week). This gives people space outside of the office to talk, it is in a group so people don't feel put on the spot, and I can gauge how the team currently interacts with each other.
Ideally, I like to do one-on-ones once a week, but depending on the cadence of work and communication needs these regular meetings can have an adjusted time schedule. However, it is important to meet regularly.
Part of my job as a manager is to evangelize UX throughout the organization. I created various diagrams, documents, and posters to explain UX and how it fits into the product development lifecycle.
Evangelizing UX is a team effort, to both our colleagues and clients. In order to help the design team all be on the same page and share the same messages, I created templates that walked clients through the best practices of design thinking.
Epsilon is an amalgamation of companies so there was no consistent career ladder. Also, many of the acquired companies didn't have UX related roles and pay scales were all over the map. I worked closely with the Director of UX for 6 months to create a Design Career Ladder.
This benefited our hiring and leveling practices for design as well.
Encouraging teammates to grow their skills can include a myriad of options. I frequently do lunch and learns, which is great presentation and skill practice.
Recognizing people for their growth is important. I created a promotion template that quickly allowed senior executives to see the progress and growth of a teammate. This allowed promotions to standout and happen at a higher efficiency.
Fostering a Design Culture
To keep the team collaborating, I do regular activities, such as an arts & crafts afternoon, short field trips, have speakers come in and talk, or do mentoring hours.
Hiring the right people for your team is essential, but it doesn't stop there. Having a solid onboarding process for the first 90-days of a new hire is paramount. I regularly craft these experiences so the new hire can feel comfortable in a new company culture and with a new team.