Building a new team in Manchester
Setting up a collaborative design system and instilling modern human centred design processes.
All good things must come to an end and sadly Condor & Thomas Cook Airlines came to end. In the 9 months I spent at Thomas Cook we created an exceptional team – and many of us still work together now. This is probably ranks as one of my favourite achievements to date.
So what did I do? I was brought in for my combination of expertise and knowledge around design, UX, brand and team building. The new leadership team was asked to create a new UX team in Manchester and transition the knowledge of a London based contractor team up north.
We had a blank slate in regards to implementing process but we had to continue with business as usual – which centred around iterative improvements on the “search and book” journey and working towards the launch of the new App which sat upon a new shiny API.
I did a fair bit around design operations. Exploring the design process and introducing and normalising Figma was a key component of my first few months. Figma not only helped connect the team together but would allow us to build a modern design system which was much needed. To document and share the design system we used zeroheight.com which also connected to the storybooks component library – we aimed to create a cutting edge code connected design system & brand toolkit. As the wider company got used to the new UX team we had particular bottle necks around focus and capacity as ideas and requests kept landing in our inbox’s.
We workshopped the best places we’ve worked to create our base process – a physical Kanban board with daily stand-ups and weekly prioritisation with the PO. This gave us our priority and focus and our effort started to drive more valuable solutions.
It was quite a management heavy role but I did still manage to get hands on from time to time… Working on the design system, using data and research to improve pages and journeys, covering for holidays etc.
Best day? Running a design sprints with the board. Showing them how quickly you can move. From hypothesis (Our search interface could be better), into idea’s and sketching, and then creating and testing a prototype… Within 6 hours.