Blurry org chart

Leading design teams

Becoming a design manager

I was hesitant to move into people management. I had studied for years to become a designer. I was worried I’d no longer be able to do the thing I was best at. I loved coding. I loved being in my zen space, working on a design to solve a user problem, or writing some CSS to bring the design to life.

But when I transitioned to people management, I learned it was more than just management. It was about the people. Design is about people. Users using a product and becoming aware of problems we need to solve. Design management is that same thing, but for other designers.

I enjoyed transitioning some of my time to helping others to solve problems. I learned to trust in my team because I knew they had passion for what they were doing. It wasn’t always easy. Sometimes you have to change your hat from a design manager to a design critic, and recognize that your critique isn’t always right or taken.

My favorite part in being a design manager is seeing the success of others. You learn to live through their moments, proud and celebrating what they’ve achieved and the affirmation they get from their work. I feel as though my tenacity and strengths as a designer can translate to the teams I lead, and maybe wear off a bit on those that are pushing the pixels.

< Back to all work

My work UX contributions

Because I didn't do all of this shit myself

Design talks

Cross-team sharing I helped to start a concept of sharing across our large (at the time) 30 person or so design & development team (it’s now grown to close to 60). As our team evolved, it was becoming more and more difficult to stay connected. What we found useful in smaller sessions were leaders of […]

Read the full story
User journey map example

User journeys can reveal opportunities

Mapping complex experiences I’ve recently learned how user journey maps can help understand user flows and problems as a designer. But I think the bigger benefit is using those maps to have a conversation with others involved in the project to bring everyone to the same understanding. NN/G has a great course on user journey […]

Read the full story

A call on a Sunday

Design without context I got a call on a Sunday from my bosses boss. So I knew something big was happening. It wasn’t the first time I had a call like this, but it was normally less hush hush, and revolved around something like a new product release or a partnership. But this time it […]

Read the full story