#eye #eye
Role: Senior designer
Date: 2021 - 2022
Process design
Organizational design
Qualitative research

Design Team Planning & Process Improvements

Empowering designers with clear and helpful processes, tools, and resources





Challenge


Two years after the launch of the Microsoft Family Safety mobile app, Microsoft Family as a service was being groomed for expansion, which included a native app on the Windows platform and a feature integration into adjacent M365 products. With the scope of our project rapidly expanding and the size of our team swelling to match it (the design team had grown from four designers to 22 and now spanned three continents and four time zones), it became increasingly clear that our existing team structure and work processes weren’t set up in a way to successfully meet the growing demands of our new business directives.

In the Fall of 2021, the head of design, March Rogers, appointed me and my colleague Kolby to come up with solutions that would address the key issues plaguing our design team and impacting our business: miscommunication, inconsistent design quality and output, and fragmented and inefficient workflow. Our goal was to implement solutions that would allow the design team to align more effectively together and with their PM and engineering partners to deliver consistent and high quality experiences across our apps.


Solution


To demonstrate the effectiveness of our new process, we decided it was apropos to go meta and apply the human-centered design framework to the process of designing a design process. From research to ideation to execution, we adapted the steps of the popular design framework to fit the unique needs and structure of our team. We did this to ensure that we were generating solutions that addressed the actual pain points of our primary users, in this case, our designers. With strong support from Design, PM, and Engineering leadership as well as the receptive attitudes and critical feedback from our fellow design colleagues, Kolby and I were able to co-create solutions for tooling, planning, process, and collaboration led to drastic improvements in efficiency, alignment and product quality across the entire team. 



Team


Design
Minah Kim Bass, Kolby Hoover

Research
Minah Kim Bass, Amy Wu (Support)


Timeline


October 2021 - February 2022


Deliverables


Product development flow chart
Project brief template
Design presentation template
Design spec checklist