Operationalising design to amplify our impact

Taking a human-centered approach to build a stronger design team able to deliver our every-channel strategy

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At a glance


additional processes removed


UI kits removed


new templates created


systems rationalised



After joining the design team at Officeworks, I was presented with the opportunity to begin working through some of the design processes and systems that were set up. It quickly became apparent that we didn't have the best tools, processes or strctures set up to get the best of our the team. Ultimately this lack of clarity leads to a poor culture, with unclear goals and a lack of agency.

My role

I was able to transform my traditional UX role into one with a high focus on DesignOps, enabling me to work on pulling together a new set of standards and building a new level of design culture within the organisation.


Where we were at

If we wanted to amplify our voice and lead a brilliant design culture, we needed the best practices and systems in place to enable us to do that. And like any other human-centred project, I needed to start with the people that it impacted - the designers.

In order to engage the designers, I informally interviewed and sent our surveys to get a sense of what was missing, where we were at, where we wanted to go and what key items they wanted.

Not limiting myself to their view, I also engaged other roles, like delivery managers, product owners, developers and tech leads to get a sense of what they felt was missing.

Not only did I focus on what we needed, but I also looked at why we design.

Where we wanted to go

I landed on the following goals that I wanted to accomplish through this work:

  • Define our purpose. Why do we design and what do we hope to achieve for our users?
  • Clarify and align our processes. How do we design and what should teams expect?
  • Create our tools. What do we use to design and how can it be improved?
  • Empower our designers. By making our goals, principles, assets and process clear, create a culture of amazing designers.
  • Lay the foundation. With plans for further improvements, like a design system, create the underlying culture to make it a success.

Getting there

With clear goals, I was able to work through the creation, simplification and assimilation of our various assets, tools and processes. Including:

  • Alignment of our design process.
  • Creation of our very first set of design principles, giving our team alignment and purpose.
  • Creation of new design process documentation to enable sharing within our teams, increading design understanding.
  • Decommissioning an old SMB file server for our design asset storage.
  • Rationalisation of our stored content into meaningful architecture and updated content. For instance, we had several versions of our base UI components spread across a few files.
  • Creation of a new SharePoint archive for all design collateral. This removed personal storage and inability to find content after projects had finished.
  • Compilation of design frameworks, methods and practices. This brought about alignment of how we design, increasing process understanding across teams.
  • Creation of several templates for stakeholders updates, research reporting, and design outcomes.
One of the project update/outcome templates I built in PowerPoint

Challenges along the way

It's never smooth sailing. I ran into a few challenges, which I needed to overcome:

  • Disagreement of the design process. The designers process is sacred! And although it is iterative by nature, the exact framework we would talk about was disagreed. I was able to resolve this by talking to the benefits of having a single vision and we agreed upfront the majority would rule.
  • Lack of feedback from our design team. I found our team lacked the ability to give feedback on our own design assets, which shows how focussed they are on getting the work done. I found I needed to be more specific with feedback, gaining it in person, or making soemthing live and iterating once it was in use.
  • Other blockers still in the way. There is still some confusion about what we do, and not all assets are ready. But new programs of work like the design system came about in part because of this opertional excellence program.


Let's revisit the goals.

  • I was able to define the design team's purpose through consistent processes and collateral, and new design principles.
  • I clarified our design process and brought about a clearer understanding of what we do and why. We're still not 100% there, but we're working on it.
  • I created several tools that improved our stakeholder communication and design process.
  • Designers were more empowered through clearer processes, core principles and new ways to work together.
  • The foundation was laid to pick up a new piece of work on design system. This is where the next level of design culture will come from.

As I called out upfront, this was done through:

  • Reduction of four separate design processes to one.
  • Rationalisation of three different documentation and storage systems to one.
  • Creation of eight new templates the team makes use of.
  • Removal of 10 separate UI kits in various states of use, reduced to just one.
Absolutely brilliant Joshua Holmes. Thanks for all your hard work and knowledge sharing! I can see this better showcasing our value as a unified design team.
Senior UX Designer

More about this project

I've written up a full case study for this project over on my blog.