(formerly Weight Watchers)
Product Design Manager + Design Ops Practice Lead
As a product design manager at WW inside a consumer-facing product organization, I manage a team of 6+ talented designers. As a team, our goal is to provide people with the tools they need to eat more mindfully, become and stay more active, and embrace a positive mindset throughout their journey.
As their team leader, my goal is to provide them with the toolset, collaborative space, and empowering guidance they need to be successful in their role. This means:
Bridging gaps between design, product, engineering, science, and business partners
Establishing strong relationships with key business partners (e.g., marketing, branding, engineering, product)
Leading the exploration of new product and strategy endeavors
Guiding the team towards alignment with product and design strategy
Coaching designers while empowering and encouraging them to have their own opinions
Fostering a positive design culture through a sound practice and engaging rituals
Improving processes and practices for how we achieve our design vision
Driving and documenting design standards and patterns across products
Additionally, I have orchestrated the evolution of our design operations practice for a team of 30+ product designers (e.g., lack of managerial support, too many ‘checkpoints’ and ‘gates’, and prescriptive solutions from leadership).
Building a Positive Design Culture
Culture eats strategy for breakfast | Reflection + Evolution | Praise publicly | Psychological Safety | Role Modeling Good Behavior | Cadence + Structure
When I walked into my first feedback session at WW, I knew I had my work cut out for me. The room was tense, the feedback provided was contentious, and the team’s body language was apprehensive.
I decided to better understand what might be causing the friction on the team, I conducted a reflection activity (i.e., I like, I wish, What if?) and conducted a series of 1:1 conversations with my team and leadership. This revealed the stress the team was under during the design process (e.g., lack of managerial support, too many cooks in the kitchen, and prescriptive solutions from leadership).
Over the next 6 months, I restructured the way the team worked:
Established a Design OpenHouse for designers to showcase their WIP to leadership
Ensured weekly design critiques had the right people for the type of feedback designers needed
Modeled good feedback behaviors
Reframed pour feedback in the moment
Praised publicly to set expectations
Over time we saw a positive shift in the team’s morale that led to more designs being shared early and often.
Evolving the Design Ops Practice
Redesigned Onboarding Experience | Jump-starting a Design System | Accessibility | Defining WW Good Design + Design Principles + Heuristics
I truly enjoy solving problems related to design practice and process. While at WW, I evolved the design operation practice through:
Establishing an Onboarding Experience for new Product Designers that included:
A managers guide + checklist for onboarding a new employee
An onboarding buddy system
Onboarding documentation that outlined WW’s business, the Product Design organization + culture, the Product Design process, and the tools needed for each discipline
Jump-started a Design System across brand, design, and tech:
Worked with branding and tech leadership to establish a single design system experience
Mentored a visual designer through the UX process to design the design system website
Conducted a pattern audit utilizing members of my team
Identified the appropriate design guidelines, sketch libraries, and other resources needed for the design system
Delegated the creation of design guidelines and sketch libraries while supporting through feedback and mentorship
Crafted an Accessibility practice with our in-house expert and created workshops for the core accessibility team to facilitate with product teams across WW
Established a baseline for design quality focused around Design Principles through a series of workshops with designers, researcher, and leadership
Iterative Work My Team and I achieved at WW
Food Tracking Experience
This new design provides a clear confirmation of what a member has just tracked while surfacing the impact the food has on their daily budget.
New Recipe Browsing Experience
This design surfaces budget friendly recipes that are popular for the time of year. Next Step: Adding in recipes recommendations based on your past tracking behavior. We’re also working on the ability to share within the WW community as well as outside.
These new experience support WW members in finding meditations and activities that are right for them while surfacing our partners: Apptiv and Headspace.
A Grateful Fairwell
After deep consideration, I decided to move back to Illinois to be with family as my brother and his wife grew theirs. I’m so grateful to have had the opportunity to work with such a strong and passionate team. As I continue my career in the Midwest, I hope these fairwells can be a testament to my impact as a design leader.
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