Essentials Checklist: DesignOps

The aim of this guide is to collect useful DesignOps information in one place to make design teams’ lives easier. It is not a rule book, nor is it definitive. Most of these items can be run using plain old spreadsheets, blogs and productivity suites – power up with modern SaaS tools linked at the end.

Please add URLs to your existing tools, data, documents or services you use daily to store or manage items in this checklist.


Team Database

Setting out one spreadsheet/database with the following sheets/tables allows us to create a systematic workflow for finding information, querying, tracking and reporting. It’s recommended to keep a working version of this data away from SaaS products. This will allow you to quickly model out new fields and test new products before committing.

Team Database Tables:

Name

Variables

Live Version

People

name, email, job title, manager, discipline, level, skills…

Link

Projects

name, initiative, stakeholder, contact, status, start date …

Link

Resourcing

current, forecast versions, ideal, …

Link

Roadmap

initiative, strategy, teams, goal, functions, budget, …

Link

Org Chart

name, title, level, function, reports, expertise, email …

Link

Skills Matrix

title, level, specialism, requirements, skills, expertise …

Link

Recruitment

job title, level, project, finance code, live date, …

Link

Equipment

asset name, serial no, assigned to, …

Link


Design Systems

The world of design + systems is moving at such an incredible pace that hiring dedicated experts in is a must. The basics are listed here for a sense check and to help connect data. Design practitioners should lead and influence daily progress, test emerging tools and run forums/committees for features, updates and deprecation. Close relationships with engineers implementing systems are a must.

Design Systems + Tooling:

Name

Variables

Live Version

Interface design software

Figma, Sketch, …

Link

Atomic components

symbols, workflows …

Link

Design version control

branches, revisions, merging, …

Link

Prototyping software

Framer, Proto.io, Principle, …

Link

Documentation

principles, usage, storybook, access, owners, assets,

Link

Systems team

discussion committee, owner, strategy, milestones, issues, roadmap

Link


Documentation / Wiki

Getting these essentials down helps onboard new team mates, communicate clearly across the business, present externally to vendors and at conferences. Activities and deliverables clearly define process and practice for teams, improve systems and improve forecasting of work milestones.

Documentation / Wiki:

Name

Variables

Live Version

Who we are

team pics, department mission, org chart, …

Link

What we make

shipped work, case studies, work in progress, …

Link

How we make it

methodology, ways of working, sign-off, testing, …

Link

Activities + Deliverables

by discipline, format, example asset, templates, …

Link


Workflows

These should be created for any repeatable set of steps. For tracking purposes workflows can be duplicated and renamed to match their instance (e.g. new employees name). They are used to optimise process, reduce time and risk whilst making sure teams can run autonomously if needed.

Workflows / Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs):

Name

Variables

Live Version

Onboarding

pre-start, first day, first week, first month, manager, …

Link

Recruitment

open roles, 1st stage, 2nd stage, offer, start-dates, …

Link

Off-boarding

documentation, exit interview, tech access, …

Link

Content publishing

idea list, drafts, 1st edit, creative production, proof, …

Link

Workshops

brief, goals, attendees, schedule, activities, capture, …

Link

Proposal, Business Case

confluence template page, notes, ideas, draft, …

Link


Views + Reporting

Sometimes referred to as dashboards – these views should provide business leaders with insights for conversations. There are primary accountancy views that always worth creating for financial decision making. Further views for managing team scheduling and project status support status meetings.

Views + Reporting:

Name

Variables

Live Version

Project status

phase, blockers, risks, edits, milestones, live, …

Link

Project budgets vs actual

budget, actual to date, forecast completion, notes,

Link

People assigned to projects

project, planned team, actual team, delta, …

Link

Recruitment

open positions, finance ref, applicants, candidates, process

Link


Finance Sheets

Keeping budgets, costs and estimates in one place allows us to segment, combine and forecast numbers without a lengthy process.

Finance + Budget Sheets:

Name

Variables

Live Version

People

hiring, salaries, raises, finance code, contractor rates, …

Link

Learning

books, video subscriptions, courses, talks, …

Link

Hardware

machine, monitor, input devices, …

Link

Software

design, ux, research, project management, testing, …

Link

Entertainment

celebrations, away days, cultural trips, …

Link

Calculators

headcount, project, software, team events, …

Link


Recruitment

Often hiring talent will involve lots of people across the business. Keeping these teams in sync is crucial, beyond the items below it’s helpful to create views for hiring status and workflows for teams to follow during the key steps.

Recruitment:

Name

Variables

Live Version

Job Descriptions

templates, by level, by discipline, …

Link

External Recruitment Website

about us, how we work, how we interview, blog, …

Link

Job post marketing

social, events, ads, sponsorship, network, …

Link

Reviewing applications

criteria, feedback, …

Link

Interviewing

questions, task, info pack, …

Link

Onboarding

see workflows 👀

Link


Resources, Software, Tools and more