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Pessoas na praia




management 3.0

ux design

ui design




Structuring a Design Department in a Company

Perhaps something more complex than creating products and interactions is organizing the structure to make it possible. This case is a report on how I participated in the creation of the User Experience department at Fitcard.


This structuring was done together with my esteemed friend Jojo (link in bio), in a co-creative manner. The achievements we made here were not accomplished alone.


In fact, this text was created by both of us, with exceptions for the parts where a personal view appears or there is an "I" in the text. Overall, it was a joint effort.

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the company and

general context

Fitcard was a company with many developers but no Design professionals in its Technology department. As its products started evolving rapidly, the lack of a user-centered design professional resulted in products with some usability deficiencies, along with a lack of metrics to analyze the impact of new features or fixes.

In 2021, I was invited to join the team responsible for new products at Fitcard. The invitation came from my friend, who was working as a front-end developer. My previous experience working in various environments as a freelancer and my business knowledge were key factors that led the team leaders to entrust me with this responsibility.

As the first designer in the technology team, my first step was to understand the products and connect with people. Little by little, I managed to integrate the design process into the team's daily work.

At times, I acted as a consultant, assisting in the development of products that were already in their final stages. However, after a while, the first major project came in.

In this project, I was able to incorporate all the relevant UX stages while co-creating with the developers whenever possible. As a result, I established a very good relationship with my colleagues and also encouraged user-centered development.

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change of objective and

department establishment

Over time, the results achieved by the team responsible for new products began to show, even having an impact on other teams. The demand for research, usability tasks, and the impact on functionalities became increasingly crucial for delivering quality products and driving their evolution.


Naturally, the need for a team to support these decisions emerged.

With the assistance of our squad leader, Felipe Alecrim, we took the first steps in establishing this new Design department within the company.

The initial step was to centralize the UX/UI demands within the department on a team board. This allowed us to have a clear understanding of the required scope of action for the team.

In addition to that, we needed to define the objectives of the new department, aiming for a sustainable structure ready to welcome new members. It was essential to provide insights to consider the best way to organize the team within the existing squads in the department.

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objectives of the department:

the famous OKRs

When we began mapping out the points that needed to be addressed for establishing the department, we realized it would be a long-term endeavor.

Our primary objective was to create a space where new designers could join and have a solid foundation of work already in place.

To achieve this, we used OKRs (Objectives and Key Results) to have clear metrics and manage the stages effectively. We divided them into different secondary objectives and assigned various tasks to each of them.

This step was crucial in organizing and prioritizing our focus.

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organizational model

ux/ui in agile environments

Each organization is different, and integrating a new experience team into a pre-existing model requires something that is present in several Agile principles: iteration.

Design was something new for the company, but at the same time, it was not new for the team creating new products. The key consideration here was scalability. For this, some pillars and foundations were necessary to allow the team to grow organically.

One of the initial steps to organize the new team within the company's Agile process was Desk Research. We reviewed available literature on the topic and outlined the point we wanted to reach in order to plan the steps to get there (even knowing that we could change it in the future). The ultimate goal was a blend of design professionals working within cross-functional teams and separate teams in silos to handle long-term projects and structuring.

In this context, we would use the Dual-Track Agile approach. This would allow the design team to work simultaneously with the development team, particularly during the discovery stages.

We arrived at the following three steps:

1st Step: Short Term

Establishing the Pillars for the Future

In the short term, the team would be structured as "silos" for the following reasons:

  • Organize design processes.

  • Facilitate smoother interactions with stakeholders.

  • Act as "consultants" for the squads, evangelizing without needing to be exclusively tied to a single project. The goal here would be to resolve various "smaller problems" to demonstrate value through action rather than just words. Show, don't tell.

2nd Step: Medium Term

Blending Cross-functional Teams and Building Culture

In the medium term, the "silos" team would remain active, while we would also have professionals embedded in each squad. The reasons for this approach include:

  • Design professionals within each squad would become experts in the products they are responsible for, ensuring agility and delivery quality.

  • The "silos" team would continue to work on structure and projects that could involve the entire organization.

  • At this stage, the need for design leaders focused on Product-Design Integration (PDI) would arise.

3rd Step: Long Term

Specialization and Agility.

In the long term, the "silos" team would evolve into "Research," "Design Ops," and "Strategy." Simultaneously, the number of professionals in the squads would increase, potentially leading to the need for a UX Manager to organize the entire structure.

Here are the reasons for each area:


  • While we believe every UX designer should be capable of conducting research, some methodologies may require more time, making it impractical to have a dedicated professional in each squad.

  • Some holistic research needs to integrate all teams due to the company's requirements.

  • Specialized research professionals would provide day-to-day support to professionals within the squad.

Design Ops:

  • With the team's scalability, there is a need for professionals focused on organizing design processes.


  • Given the constant creation of products in the company, the strategy team would enter the process at the beginning to ensure a smooth flow for professionals in the squads.

It is important to note that many things could change over time. However, we used this plan to illustrate some potential future scenarios to our stakeholders.


Regarding design teams in an agile context, it is also worth mentioning how this organizational model was designed to be scalable in an organization that may have squads following the Unfix model: a model created by agility expert Jurgen Appelo, which aims to create flexible and adaptable organizational structures in companies.

Unlike other models, Unfix does not impose processes or serve as a framework, but we were able to map its application in the company's Technology sector, envisioning a future where we could have facilitation and empowerment squads, in addition to the Design squad.

The knowledge about Unfix was acquired through a squad led by Eduardo Junque to address a specific organizational model problem. After completing this task, we realized that the same approach could be applied to the Design team in the future, and we immediately began seeking ways to implement it.

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day to day

team ceremonies

Weekly Forums

Every week, we had discussions to align ongoing projects, resolve potential impediments, and share information about personal studies, always in a light and relaxed tone.


At the end of 2022, we conducted a retrospective to discuss if we were on the right track towards the objectives defined earlier for the Design team.

Using the principles of Management 3.0 as a guide, we abstracted some tools to energize people, provide a path for skill development, grow the team structure in a healthy way, and improve everything (processes, methodologies, people, organizational model, etc.).

In addition, we integrated Design Thinking and Design Sprint processes into the methodology. We started with "silent voting" to identify the main points from all that was discussed. In summary, those were the non-negotiable aspects.

We gathered for two days to address the points that needed reconsideration and celebration, as well as writing thank-you notes. Subsequently, we wrote post-it notes about the profile characteristics of professionals we would like to work together with in the Design team.

Demand Organization

The team's tasks were organized in a kanban format using Asana. Our board had common Scrum stages (such as Sprint Backlog, To-do, Doing, Done), as well as specific columns for internal task validation and a column for tracking deliveries, used to evaluate whether our deliveries were addressing the pain points of our users and stakeholders through metrics.

Knowledge Base

We utilized Notion to create a specific knowledge base for the Fitcard Design team. This base was used to assist in the onboarding process, understanding the company's products and business rules, and other day-to-day tasks, such as project logs and notes.

The structure consisted of:

  • Design Team: Specific information about the Design team, such as objectives, structure, people directory (where we used thePersonal Collab Card” do management 3.0.), rituals and ceremonies, and access data.

  • Knowledge Base: Information about specific Design team documentation.

  • Projects: Project logs of ongoing or completed projects.

  • Career Path: Recommendations of materials about the field, along with specific projects for new professionals.

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Below are testimonials from individuals who had a significant impact and participation in the entire process:


final thoughts

This is an ongoing work, and it will always be, as this construction does not have an "end."

Especially because we adopt agile principles and implement an iterative process.

Usually, in a "conclusion," we can highlight the main result achieved. Thinking of something like that for this particular case was not an easy task. However, we came up with two points:

1 - The experience of building a department from scratch. This is a multidisciplinary knowledge that we acquired and will be able to apply to various projects in the future.

2 - The second, which we could even consider the most important: this structuring brought us closer to the development team, spreading Design content to all roles within the company. As a result, one of the

developers expressed interest in switching to our area.

One point we didn't mention above is that we are also building and, at the same time, discovering the department's PDI (Personal Development Initiative) structure.

We can consider this stage as the "most important," as it helps us foster growth, development, and professional progression for all team members. This, in turn, contributes to a more engaged and motivated team, enhancing the overall success and impact of the Design department within the company.

Seeing the day-to-day evolution of an excellent professional and knowing that we have played a small part in it brings us immense satisfaction and pride ❤️

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The biggest challenge of structuring a new area in any type of company is finding a balance between theory and practice. Bringing ideas to life is a very complex task, especially because it involves numerous types of expectations. Balancing all of them and linking the institution's interests with the values of each team member is undoubtedly a task for the few.

A determining factor for the success of a project like this is bringing together people who care about the collective, after all, we are talking about a new area, not just a job position. And from there, the strategy naturally linked with Bonin and Jonathan's skills.

You know the type of professional every company dreams of having? Well, they are both like that.

Focused, determined, studious, concerned about the sense of collectivity, and above all, extremely skilled to make the project happen.

From its conception, through the initial steps, and in a very natural way, reaping the rewards of a very well-executed plan. Even in moments of adversity, where the results are put to the test.

Witnessing this up close made me a better human being. Seeing their high level of theoretical knowledge combined with the dynamics of day-to-day work was very gratifying for an area I was not very familiar with until then. Supporting, helping, growing, and developing together through attempts, methodologies, rituals, events, and results.

All of this reinforced for me and everyone involved the importance of planning and applying concepts related to user experience and how all of this enriches and values processes, products, and people.

Bonin and Jojo, I just have to say: Thank you!

Felipe Alecrim 

He helped us make the most of the journey, teaching us how to lead people, communicate effectively, and which record to listen to during the week 🤘🏼

Squad Leader

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I can only express my gratitude for all the knowledge shared, the patience, camaraderie, and laughter.

Changing career paths twice within a year and finally finding my place was a professional achievement of "finally, I'll work with something I identify with," something I didn't expect to achieve so soon. But thanks to you and your efforts to structure the area, the dream of working with UX, something that was once so distant for me, became a reality.

And not only did it become a reality, but it also proved to be a complex profession in day-to-day work, with many paths to follow, readings to do, knowledge to master, and yet, whenever I needed, you were there to help me not "let the ball drop," always recognizing my efforts, valuing them, and helping me see them too.

I hope in the future I can carry you with me, taking UX and also UI wherever I go, passing on all the knowledge and providing support to those in need, just like I needed it at the beginning of this Pokémon journey :)

Mariana Bassani

Who trusted this new Design initiative to switch areas, even though we were all first-timers 🧝

UX Designer

design sprint

defining and solving a problem within 3 days


co-creation process in interface design

This was a challenging yet highly rewarding endeavor. How about diving deeper into some of the tools I used to assist in this structuring process?


workshops &


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