Material Design Task Force
Due to the pace of our initial launch, we were left with a significant amount of "design debt". Screens that did not align with our visual system, behaviors and patterns that did not meet Google's Material Design standards.
Getting these updates on the roadmap was a challenge. There will always be a new feature to build, another bug to squash.
I met with the Android engineering team. They were anxious to make improvements, but not at the expense of productivity. So, I recruited a Material Design Taskforce... a black-ops team of deadly Android developers.
I performed an audit of the Android app and created a backlog of small, manageable tasks. I got estimates and prioritized tasks by performing a cost benefit analysis.
During a sprint there are naturally occurring periods of downtime. When a lull arises, developers pull a task from the backlog. Once the task is complete it is placed on a separate branch of the app. When enough tasks are completed, the branch is merged and released to the public.
Our product team is aware of our task force. As long as deliverables are met, they love seeing us roll out visual improvements.
The Design Wiki
Documenting the design process is an essential part of managing a creative team.
However, the work can be cumbersome and laborious. It is not typically a designer's top priority. As a result, engineers don't have a "source of truth". Stakeholders don't have proper visibility. Creative leads don't have a repository of ideas.
Managing a team of designers can be a bit like herding cats.
Designers are independent and strong willed. I wanted to create a process they would see value in and embrace.
I set about designing our wiki process as I would any other experience. I interviewed engineering and product leads to get a better understanding of their "world view" and requirements. I met internally with our design team to understand the pain points. I researched tools and methods other teams were using.
The result was a simple, effective process that designers embraced, and got big shout-outs from the rest of the team.
Designer is tasked with a New Feature
Designer reviews work internally with Design Leadership
Designer presents to Product Team in person
After review, Designer creates a new entry under Presentations and posts their deck and notes
Designer makes revisions, process repeats until Final Approval
Designer documents UX/UI Specs and posts to Wiki