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:
NameVariablesLive Version
Peoplename, email, job title, manager, discipline, level, skills…Link
Projectsname, initiative, stakeholder, contact, status, start date …Link
Resourcingcurrent, forecast versions, ideal, …Link
Roadmapinitiative, strategy, teams, goal, functions, budget, …Link
Org Chartname, title, level, function, reports, expertise, email …Link
Skills Matrixtitle, level, specialism, requirements, skills, expertise …Link
Recruitmentjob title, level, project, finance code, live date, …Link
Equipmentasset 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:
NameVariablesLive Version
Interface design softwareFigma, Sketch, …Link
Atomic componentssymbols, workflows …Link
Design version controlbranches, revisions, merging, …Link
Prototyping softwareFramer,, Principle, …Link
Documentationprinciples, usage, storybook, access, owners, assets,Link
Systems teamdiscussion committee, owner, strategy, milestones, issues, roadmapLink

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:
NameVariablesLive Version
Who we areteam pics, department mission, org chart, …Link
What we makeshipped work, case studies, work in progress, …Link
How we make itmethodology, ways of working, sign-off, testing, …Link
Activities + Deliverablesby discipline, format, example asset, templates, …Link


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):
NameVariablesLive Version
Onboardingpre-start, first day, first week, first month, manager, …Link
Recruitmentopen roles, 1st stage, 2nd stage, offer, start-dates, …Link
Off-boardingdocumentation, exit interview, tech access, …Link
Content publishingidea list, drafts, 1st edit, creative production, proof, …Link
Workshopsbrief, goals, attendees, schedule, activities, capture, …Link
Proposal, Business Caseconfluence 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:
NameVariablesLive Version
Project statusphase, blockers, risks, edits, milestones, live, …Link
Project budgets vs actualbudget, actual to date, forecast completion, notes,Link
People assigned to projectsproject, planned team, actual team, delta, …Link
Recruitmentopen positions, finance ref, applicants, candidates, processLink

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:
NameVariablesLive Version
Peoplehiring, salaries, raises, finance code, contractor rates, …Link
Learningbooks, video subscriptions, courses, talks, …Link
Hardwaremachine, monitor, input devices, …Link
Softwaredesign, ux, research, project management, testing, …Link
Entertainmentcelebrations, away days, cultural trips, …Link
Calculatorsheadcount, project, software, team events, …Link


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.

NameVariablesLive Version
Job Descriptionstemplates, by level, by discipline, …Link 
External Recruitment Websiteabout us, how we work, how we interview, blog, …Link
Job post marketingsocial, events, ads, sponsorship, network, …Link
Reviewing applicationscriteria, feedback, …Link
Interviewingquestions, task, info pack, …Link
Onboardingsee workflows ?Link

Resources, Software, Tools and more

Design Systems
Views & Reporting