We are starting the process of redesigning the arrangement of our design teams, and I’ve been very interested in pursuing something along these lines. Currently our ID, Prototyping and Packaging teams all share a studio, the Graphics team has a dedicated space across the building, and the Design Engineering folks are located in the corner of the building.
All of these groups make up a shared service product development team, servicing our three internal brands. Because these three brands are quite different, the model of creating an internal PD consultancy is appealing. I’m very intrigued by the environment (both organizationally and physically) that YO created at Sound United:
“We modelled it on the flexibility of te old Eames studio. Nothin is ver ly permanent, everythin can be moved to host different types of activities. We host multi day workshops with engineering, product line management, ops, finance, marketing and so on to define brand strategy, develop product definitions and roadmaps and so on. It also functions as our design studio, houses a decent (growing) design library…”
Of course, the physical arrangement of people isn’t the only thing required to create the scenario YO described, and we’re constantly pushing to create and develop that relationship with the brand teams. It’s a perpetual work in progress.
As for the physical arrangement of the teams, we have tossed around a bunch of concepts, including
- Arranging teams to reflect PD work flow (Starting with ID, ending with Packaging)
- Arranging based on brand alignment/specialty (Graphics folks are highly brand related, ID/Proto/Pkg float across brands, DE are tied to factory specialties)
- Arrange based on product market channels
- Flexible project pods – difficult due to relative project timelines (Graphics is short, ID long, DE longest)
YO, I’m curious who is on the ‘permanent resident’ list inside your GDC? Is it strictly ID, or is there a mix of disciplines? Part of my struggle is that the teams listed above is close to 30 people, which feels way too high a number for a nimble, flexible approach.
Maybe I should be considering a pair of studios, one ID focused and flexible, the other Graphics/Packaging focused and more production oriented. Essentially placing the more conceptually focused folks in the more flexible space, and the teams that are towards the ‘resolved product’ end of the dev cycle in an environment that reflects the production nature of their work, while still leveraging them in the flexible space as needed.
Thoughts? Input? Corrective direction appreciated…