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The "Growing Adoption" Lesson is part of the full, Enterprise Design Systems Management course featured in this preview video. Here's what you'd learn in this lesson:

Ben dives deeper into stage two of the maturity model, growing adoption by building a system people want to use. The relation between onboarding effort and the rate of people subscribing is also discussed in this segment.


Transcript from the "Growing Adoption" Lesson

>> You'll remember we just kind of wrapped up a deep dive on stage one and thinking about how to discover the right first scope. And you'll remember the transition from stage 1 into stage 2 is actually the only one that's very clear. Right, so you've essentially got that first version live.

And so now, your focus shifts to stage 2 thinking, which is really around growing the adoption. So in my experience, it's actually not a very good approach to force people to adopt your system, to require it. Although I definitely have seen organizations do this and occasionally they can kind of make their way through it.

It's actually really tricky to do that and to have that adoption last. So instead, I think it's much better to make a system that the people want to use. And we've talked kind of a bit about that throughout the day, but really if you've done the work to understand what's important to your subscribers.

Remember that's that engagement piece. If you've listened to their input, if you've listened to their feedback and asked them to participate to help shape the project, you're gonna build something that solves their problems and doesn't make their work harder. And that's kind of the key to making something they're gonna want to use.

So the top challenge here in stage 2 is to evolve the system to show value to potential subscribers, right? You're trying to not only support the ones who are on board already, but you're now thinking about who uses the system, or who could use the system that doesn't yet and what are the things that are important to them.

So this means you've gotta be really strategic about how you approach the evolution of your system. And actually the same kind of approach, you kinda remember this approach that we took early on, right, where we took that color system for one specific subscriber group, and maybe we made that work across a whole set of subscriber groups.

Now, if you've followed that same pattern, you've taken that work and you've maybe expanded it a little, and maybe you've found some other areas where you could do the same kind of thing. And that maybe was your first release. So now you're trying to grow that adoption, right?

You're needing really to kinda push hard on engagement with those potential subscriber groups and understand what they need and keep expanding into other areas. Your goal is to be really kind of selectively filling out this area as much as makes sense for your organization in a way that helps you organically grow the adoption.

This is kinda how you take the approach of building a system people want to use. And if you're really creative, you can make a lot of progress here. I remember one story that I had with one gentleman I was doing an interview with, and he was a designer, and it was kind of a design-led system and he had gotten the budget to hire one front-end developer.

And he had done a bunch of work and some design tools and the front end dev came in and they actually coded out some really cool components, HTML only to start with, web only to start with, and they were having a hard time getting devs to really be interested in using it [LAUGH].

And so he just started kinda showing up to the open door stuff their dev team had. He was just sitting and listening to the conversations and before every meeting started, he noticed they were talking about wanting, the devs really wanting to do open source work. And so he heard that in several meetings.

So he went back to his boss and he was like, how would you feel about us open sourcing the design system? [LAUGH] And his boss was like, sure, they kinda took a look at it and made sure there was nothing in there they couldn't release. They got a version of it out in open source, and literally within weeks, he had developers interested in not just using it but contributing to it.

So that's just a really creative way to kinda figure out what is it that these folks want? What is it that they actually need? And how do we come alongside them, understand those needs, and evolve the system in a way that makes sense. I love that, but I'll also just say that's not enough.

It's not enough to build a system that is just what people want, because you're also asking them to change, and changing their workflows does take time, right, it does take effort. When I first did this work, one of the things I thought I would be able to identify was a percentage threshold of some measure of adoption.

That means you've got enough people using the system that you can move on to other stage three type concerns. But it turns out some teams move into stage three very quickly. And some, they'll get lots of people using the system, but they still aren't actually thinking about anything other than adoption.

And it turns out that the thing that sort of really actually helps you identify when that mindset shifts is actually not what you thought it would be, it's not some threshold of users or adopted or subscriber groups or something. Instead, it's actually thinking about the level of effort that it takes to onboard a single subscriber.

And over time, what we see is if I do the work to make the level of effort for one subscriber to come on as a new user to the system, over time that means I can actually allow for more users to come on, and my time is saved because it's easier for them.

They're more willing to come on because it's easier for them. I've also made the job easier for me and my team. It's like a weird sort of thing, but this is actually one of the keys to getting users to come on board and stay on board of your system.

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