Blake Reary

Blake Reary

Design Manager at Ironclad

Leading design @ Ironclad. Formerly Thumbtack, Mode, RelateIQ, Palantir. Music & audio geek.

5 action items

Team cultures and norms that lead to great design execution

    • Design execution is all about proper alignment. Align your team around the people whose problems you solve. Align your team on values and principles. Align your team on a shared design system and process. Align your team with business metrics and goals. Align other teams to with design. Like a finely-tuned engine, great execution happens when a team is working together efficiently and harmoniously.

    • Align your team with business metrics and goals

      Unless you're doing strictly philanthropic work, your company likely exists to grow and make money. Great design can make a huge impact on growth and revenue. Being able to speak in terms of business goals will get your team more buy-in from the rest of the organization. Find the link between the business needs and the impacts that your team can have on them. How will investing in a design system impact product velocity? How will a meticulously crafted icon set impact subscriber numbers?... See more

    • Align your team around the people whose problems they solve

      Make the time for research to happen, even if it's really scrappy. Get designers to sit with Sales or Support or other user-facing functions. Invite people from those functions into crits or brainstorming sessions. Encourage your team to speak in terms of user narratives and goals.... See more

    • Align on values and principles

      Have your team collectively write and agree upon a set of principles. Orient your crits around these principles. Make sure to revisit them occasionally as new members join or new insights come to light.

    • Align on a shared design language and process

      Find the common patterns and document them. If you don't have a design system, a good place to start is creating a shared definition of the language used to describe your product. Make a visual map of what a typical project looks like, and have your team help you find ways to streamline it.... See more

    • Align other teams with design

      Great design execution cannot happen without PM's, Engineers, QA, Support, Leadership, and other functions in your company. Make the experience of working with designers a delightful one. Invite other functions into the creative process. Encourage your team to seek feedback early and often. Teach the format of critique so that feedback is constructive from all angles.... See more