This past week, a few people asked me about what should a design leader’s portfolio / presentation include. Here’s my answer:
First of all, know that the continuum between IC skills and leadership competencies depends on the role, the size of the company, the altitude that you work at, and the maturity of the product.
I recalled at my own interview, a design leader gave me the simple ask of telling a story about how my design leadership made an impact.
An IC’s work is always reflected in craft, output, and localized outcome. A leader’s work is reflected in operations, capabilities, culture, practices and teams they grow and outcome at higher altitude.
The story should show how you played the long game. It should be evidence of your leadership principles.
I’d want the case studies to show:
- Context (what was there before you enter the picture)
- What were the problems and it’s challenges?
- An intersection between problem & the operation/systems/norms/practices you created. What value did they provide?
I’d want to see samples of the product over time and its impact. I’d like to see examples of artifacts that communicate playbooks & practices such as dashboards, experiment documentation, design system, IA / service design maps — evidence of the types of practice you grow.
I want to understand where you lean between strategy & discovery, operations, advocacy for people, and business.
Finally, I want to ascertain if your storytelling is up to snuff and who you are as a human.
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