Peter Merholz

Consultant and Author

Peter Merholz has been active in digital design and product for 25 years, most notably in building premier user experience consultancy, Adaptive Path, and now advising teams on design organizations and leadership. He co-wrote Org Design for Design Orgs (O’Reilly), the first book focused on the organizational, managerial, and operational challenges of building in-house design teams.

Peter Merholz

Speaking at The Rest of the Fest

The Atomic Unit Of Design Is The Team

At the heart of most agile development frameworks are small, cross-functional squads. And in those squads resides a lone designer, collaborating with a product owner and engineers. This model has lead to the quest for the Unicorn designer, the broadly skilled individual who can do interaction design, visual design, and maybe even content and research as well!

This trend has potentially terrible ramifications on the practice of design in companies. In this talk, Peter will explain why the Team, not any one designer, is the Atomic Unit of Design Organisations. Drawing upon his experience from shaping teams at Adaptive Path, through his work as a VP of Design and now management consultant for design orgs, he'll walk through the process of intentionally creating a strong, diverse team, what behaviours and norms enable a team to behave at their best, and explain why the Team Lead is the most important role in your design organisation (yes, even more than Head of Design).

Q&A with Peter Merholz

Andy will take your questions for Peter.

Masterclasses

Design Leadership Fundamentals Part 1: Leadership is about Relationships

When designers become design leaders, they often don't realise that the skills that got them there aren't the skills that will carry them forward. To be a great designer is to be a remarkable craftsperson and problem-solver. To be a great design leader is to excel at relationships.

In this, the first of a two part series on Design Leadership Fundamentals, we'll focus on two crucial sets of relationships: with the team you lead, and your cross functional peers. We'll discuss strategies and tactics for best engaging others, and provide an assessment tool to grade yourself (and your team, afterward).

This Masterclass is structured not as a workshop with activities, but a facilitated conversation among peers. Peter will provide brief presentations to set the table, and then lead a discussion to find out your challenges, your successes, and take advantage of collective intelligence to better enlighten us all.

Now sold out

Design Leadership Fundamentals Part 2: Leadership is about Leverage

When designers become design leaders, among the difficulties they face is letting go of doing the work, and shifting their focus to creating environments that enable others to do great work. It's not about how good of a designer the design leader is; it's about their ability to make their team more effective and impactful.

In this, the second of a two part series on Design Leadership Fundamentals, we'll tackle three key areas for creating leverage. The first is how you manage up, working with executives and other stakeholders, to ensure your team has the space it needs to do great work. Then we'll discuss the challenges of supporting design teams as they scale, and the need for systems and structures that maintain effectiveness and high quality and not drown in communication overhead. Lastly, we'll look inward, on how the design leader is managing their most precious asset: their time.

This Masterclass is structured not as a workshop with activities, but a facilitated conversation among peers. Peter will provide brief presentations to set the table, and then lead a discussion to find out your challenges, your successes, and take advantage of collective intelligence to better enlighten us all.

Now sold out

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