The Importance of Career Frameworks in Scaling Service Design / Doug Powell / Episode #172
How do you scale service design from 10 to 100 inside an organization? That’s what you’ll hear in this conversation with Doug Powell.
But first, let me tell you a personal story.
My car was leaking oil. It started with small drips but got worse over time. The idea of having to take the entire engine apart wasn’t something I was looking forward to. So we tried to “solve” the issue by tightening nuts, double-checking every seal, and adding fresh oil.
As you might have guessed, the problem of course didn’t go away. The car still drove, but my driveway was getting messier by the day, and the fact that I knew that I wouldn’t want to take it for a long drive didn’t sit well with me.
So after putting up with the band-aid solutions for a while, it was time to do the unavoidable and take the engine apart. It was messy, it wasn’t cheap, but it had to be done. The good news is that I’m still driving that car today.
Similarly, many organizations have “leaking engines” in the form of career frameworks that have grown organically over time and don’t account for the role of service design.
And before you say that those are just documents HR likes to look at, let’s not underestimate how important these career frameworks are. They determine salaries, promotions, and responsibilities.
So while it’s tempting to keep improvising and avoid the hassle of updating career frameworks, this approach only works for so long. Eventually, you’ll need clarity and structure to scale your team and attract new talent. That’s where Doug comes in.
In our conversation, he shares lessons from standardizing and formalizing design roles, responsibilities, and titles at IBM and Expedia.
You’ll also hear about HR's role in this process and how you can turn this seemingly unsexy task into a design challenge that excites everyone.
Regardless of whether you’re a small or a big team, the insights Doug shares will help you be one step ahead when trying to scale service design… rather than having to fix things when they eventually break down.
For me, this conversation was a good reminder that the success of service design within an organization isn’t so much about knowing how to get the most out of our tools and methods. Instead, it’s about making it part of the organizational operating system.
Enjoy the conversation and keep making a positive impact :)
P.S. If you’re open to sharing (parts of) your career framework, I’d love to collaborate and grow the maturity of our practice. Just reach out to me!
--- [ 1. GUIDE ] ---
00:00 Welcome to episode 172
06:00 Rapid fire question round
10:00 Topic of today
12:00 The backstory
19:00 What is a career framework
24:00 Where can we improve
26:30 Partnering with HR
31:00 It's up to us
33:30 Designer career playbook
39:30 Connecting to existing systems
44:30 Things that need fixing
48:15 Being the outsiders
50:15 From 10 to 100
51:30 Sharing knowledge
55:30 Lessons learned
58:15 The opportunity
59:30 How might we
1:01:15 Closing thoughts
--- [ 2. LINKS ] ---
* Notes on an Execution (book) - https://amzn.to/3Zt5g0I
* Design Career Frameworks: The Messy Plumbing of Scaled Design Programs (article) - https://go.servicedesignshow.com/mubuc
--- [ 3. CIRCLE ] ---
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