How to transition into DesignOps without a prior experience?

Today, especially in India, there is no formal education or pathway to move into DesignOps. It's a niche field with limited opportunities and knowledge. The best way to transition is by practising at your current job. As you practice, document your learnings, and build your portfolio. (On the other side, if you are a project/design manager, you are already involved in the operations. It makes the transition much easier for you.

To get started, build a good relationship with designers. A continuous dialogue will deepen the conversation and your relationship. Set up regular 1:1s with a few designers to get to know each other well. Share career stories, challenges, tips and tricks to keep the conversation flowing. Once you find comfort with each other, be vulnerable and honest to build trust. Once you put your guard down, they will be less hesitant to share their feelings and challenges with you.

The more folks you talk to, the more you will notice the gaps and challenges each person faces at work. Then, your job is to identify the patterns and present your findings to design leadership. Throughout the process, please ensure you respect everyone's privacy and secrets. Once you break the trust, there is no going back.

At the end of this exercise, you will find your leverage, i.e. the data you've collected. Take this forward by facilitating brainstorming workshops and conversations with respective members. Develop experiments to solve the key problems. Scale your successful experiments into standard operating procedures (aka SOPs). There you go... You have found a problem and the solution you can add to your DesignOps portfolio.

No problem is too small or big. Documenting SOPs to use the tools is as important as defining the design ladder for your design team. Focus on low-hanging fruits, run the experiments, and keep the conversations going.

I was invited on the podcast Product Stories where I speak about this topic in detail. You can watch it on YouTube or any other platforms you prefer.