As the Head of product design in Synctera & Sr. Design Manager in CIBC
my main responsibilities were:
🦄 Design Operation:
Collaborate with cross-functional leaders to form a design strategy.
Prioritize design tasks, set deadlines, and establish OKRs.
Lead in design innovation
Boost design efficiency by standardizing process and documenting practices.
Promote the design vision across the organization.
👥 Team Management:
Hire designers for projects and growth.
Mentor designers for development and teamwork.
Gather feedback & plan actions for team engagement.
Promote collaboration internally and externally.
Organize learning & sharing for designers.
The CIBC delivery design library was created by a group of talented visual design leads (Kaleb, Giny, Sally, Rodrigo). They created the attributes from icons to illustrations, and also supported reviewing the design with other teams/vendors to keep consistency.
CIBC Delivery Design Library
CIBC design system is a key for the team maturity to improve efficiency and consistency.
My major role was:
Communicated the value to leaders and requested support on resources and fundings
Supported the team to engage other design teams to keep consistency
Supported the team to create a governance model & process
I also led the conversations to figure out how the design system brings value to the tech teams by reducing the costs on duplicated development & automated testings. It successfully turned out to get dedicated dev & QA resources to support the implementation of design system.
Digital Design Process Consolidation
Defined a checklist of the digital design processes for delivery teams.
This process helped the project designers to reduce issues on the collaboration with project partners and manage the quality of final outputs.
It also helped to onboard new hires or external resources to understand how the team works.
In the daily projects, there're always last-minute bugs on design and usually designers were not involved to make final decisions.
To solve the problem, I created this process and shared it with product owners, to empower designers to make voices.
To improve the cross-team collaboration, and unify the design process, I organized sharing sessions to find the common process and differences.
It was supported by all team design leads, and we also shared it with the design community to align with other teams.
Usually after the release of a project, we lost the track even it was a short-term solution and we had a list of enhancement suggestions.
I created a design measurement framework with other design leads, and promoted it to leaders with the following values:
improving NPS by reacting on users feedback
reducing call center costs by addressing top priority design/content issues
suggesting the next business opportunity
I built a connection with internal groups dealing with customer demands, and assigned designers to track App Store reviews and highlighted the valuable feedback with team members & project teams.
Team Roadshows & New Hire Onboarding
To promote the value of the team, it's important to regularly share what we do, how we do and how other groups work better with us.
I organized several roadshows with our design leads to share our team structure, working process and documentation standards with Product Owners, Developers and other design teams.
I also led the creation of onboarding docs to improve the new hire experience.
Design Team Roadmap
I created a team development roadmap to guide the management focuses and activities.
This was based on the feedback from team survey and learning of how to build a successful design teams.
It got great support from leaders, and designer volunteers of the action committee.
I created a visual guide of design team responsibilities and required skill sets.
This helped the team to figure out the resource needs, and also helped designers to understand their strength.
Community of Practice
Community of Practice is to build a learning & sharing culture. As the host of the CoP, I successfully organized 30+ bi-weekly sessions & Invited internal & external experts to share insights & knowledge:
Accessibility, QA, Service Design, Research, BA...
Emotional design, User research 101, Service design, accessibility design challenges, QA working process, BA working process, frontline team roadshow...
To create a successful design team, it's important to keep inspiring the designers.
We regularly recognized designers who made achievements, volunteered to help others, shared knowledges in our team meeting.
The other strategy to build a growing design team is to inspire their creativity.
I created a shared portal called Ideas Pool. Designers can record their concepts or improvements on existing products. We regularly reviewed this page with product owners to prioritize the ideas.
I kicked off a side project called Mobile Banking 2025. I designed several concepts of future mobile banking and engaged team members to contribute to the concept.