I’m starting a (bi)weekly newsletter on design leadership called 9am26. Looking around the interwebs these days there are more and more good articles on leading and scaling design teams. So why am I adding to those? Three reasons: for myself to learn, for others to have good starting points and to start conversations.
Why 9am26? I imagine a design leader starting their day. After going through Slack, email and finishing the first cup of coffee, it’s almost half past nine. They need to decide which problem to work on today. There are always many things to figure out at any one point in time. It could be about bettering team ceremonies, finding new practices to adopt, setting a product direction, increasing maturity, growing talented ICs and managers… the list is endless. Getting an email with a good starting point helps in charting a course forward.
The plan is one issue - one topic. A few curated links with a short primer laying out ideas on possible directions. This should help in getting inspired and leveling up their leadership game for design leaders just starting out. Or for experienced design leaders finding new ways to improve. Or even for senior designers looking to get into a leadership pathways to learn about.
I especially intend to focus on design leadership challenges at software product companies, and the differences between good design teams and great design teams. It seems that product managers get great advice from people such as Marty Cagan or Jeff Patton, while engineering has an even larger body of good material coming out constantly (I love Gergely Orosz’s The Pragmatic Engineer). We seem to be missing such discussions of leadership on the design side. A few authors I like to read from are Jared Spool, Peter Merholz, Julie Zhou, and others, but I’d want to see more discussions on what sets apart great design organizations from the rest. With this newsletter, I intend to explore this.
If this sounds kinda like your alley, subscribe: