Banking App Design System

A case study about leadership by taking the initiative to solve complex problems.

About the Project

At the beginning there was no one dedicated to design system, simply a group of designers volunteering spare time, but no clear direction.

Client

Absa

Industry

FinTech

Category

Design Systems

Duration

12 Months

Strategy & Foundation

At the beginning there was no one dedicated to design system, simply a group of designers volunteering spare time, but no clear direction.

Plan of Action: At the beginning there was no one dedicated to design system, simply a group of designers volunteering spare time, but no clear direction.

Create Order & Structure: Create enough structure around the design system by developing a Kanban board to measure progress, and a plan for structured engagement.


Execution: Creating order

Share component structure: Evangelise the component structure, and its advantages, supported by 1-on-1 working sessions, to up-skill my team members on the component structure.

Structured weekly Catch-up: Introduce the Kanban board to our weekly catchups to track progress and allow designers to work independently in their own time.


Operationalising

With the initial planning of what we would work on being complete, the next step would be to share my findings on building components with the wider group within a structured workflow, with the aim of unifying each designers contribution.

Objective: Empower other design system members to create components by creating a culture of feedback.


Developing a brain trust: Less feedback more often

To increase the creative output of design system components & documentation, I decided to implement a brain trust (originally developed @ Pixar) segment to the weekly meeting where any App designer could either get feedback or propose a new component to the wider group with a streamlined feedback process.


2 Person Design Teams

Although the weekly meetings were a good start, for someone designing components for the first time, feedback once a week was too little, so i paired the team members up to both distribute the workload and increase the frequency of peer-to-peer feedback.


Sharing the responsibility of feedback

As a natural result of remote work, its much easier for one person (in the case me) to dominate a the brain trust with my thoughts, opinions & feedback. This ends up reducing the value of having a group reviewing work.


Encourage a variety of perspectives, i decided to drastically reduce my creative input and focus on encouraging group feedback, with the aim of distributing the skill of provide feedback in a group, between team members.


Forging Departmental Alliances

With a steady design workflow, the next key step would be to establish an end to end work flow enabling designers to be able to bring their work to production.

Objective: Build the necessary relationships to effect change in production, outside the standard feature building process.


The Approach: Dev & Design collaboration

A fundamental part of building components, is understanding technical constraints and limitations of a specific component, So we initiated a meeting allowing designers & developers to discuss components and templates that either exist or are being worked on with the aim, of creating components that are technically feasible.


Cross platform learning

To accelerate progress and learnings, id occasionally attend other platform design system sessions, and involve other design system leads to join our session, so as to cross pollinate learnings. One of the key area’s this helped was with our documentation workflow, as it was a skill which our team was sorely lacking.


Next Steps

At this stage our main challenge is the fact that those that are leading the design system effort are over capacity with feature work, making us a productivity constraints.

Objective: Build the next generation of design specialists and a group of people who share the same skillset & interest.


The Approach: Re-introduce guilds

identify & upskill guild leaders: The first step to this decentralised design system, would be to identify and upskill designers with the potential to lead a group (Guild). Using the steps I undertook to develop the first iteration of the design system team, we can recreate the same context that allowed me to learn to lead a group of specialists.

Build guilds around design system users

Focusing guilds around design system users will allow designers to utilise their existing design toolkit to resolve different user challenges. this also resolves the problem of how to prioritise the design system backlog.

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Copyright 2024 © Alfi Oloo

Copyright 2024 © Alfi Oloo

Copyright 2024 © Alfi Oloo