The impact of DesignOps at ServiceNow

2019 Talk


Between 2004 and 2019, the number of designers at ServiceNow – a software company that helps its enterprise-scale clients improve their workflows – grew from no designers to over 200. By 2017, the design department realised that it needed to professionalize to have the greatest possible impact on product development. So, it set up a DesignOps team to support the designers, researchers, product content writers, and their managers with products and services.

In recent years, many corporate design teams have adopted the term DesignOps and are applying some, or all of its parts, such as defining design processes and selecting design tools, improving design team organisation, working closely with developers and operations staff to close the feedback loop, creating design systems, hiring and educating staff, and aligning design with the business strategy.

This talk describes the way that the DesignOps team at ServiceNow operates, and what it means for the design organisation in ServiceNow. Its products and services include: the definition and maintenance of the product design lifecycle, a design project tracking system, a design review process and procedures, and more.

Time permitting, I will also describe some of the other impactful developments in ServiceNow, such as our Design System, the alignment of designers to product management, the Insights team that does both market and customer research, and our BizOps team that manages headcount, identifies and creates education opportunities, handles sponsoring, and organizes events for designers.

I aim to inspire other design departments to provide DesignOps products and services for their designers, thereby increasing the chances of impacting their companies’ products and services.

About the speaker(s)

Peter Boersma (1970) is an experienced designer and a design process freak. He has taught workshops and has spoken at many conferences about the topic of improving the designers’ way of working. At ServiceNow, he is a Design Director responsible for design in the in-house startups, a team that designs one of its mainstream products, as well as for Design Thinking in the Amsterdam office in general. He is a member of the leadership team of ServiceNow’s Experience Organization which makes sure the designers are organised in the best possible manner.