Detroit Labs is hiring a

Design Operations Lead

Detroit, United States

Detroit Labs was founded in 2011 and has built some of the most popular apps for iPhone and Android. We’re always taking on new projects in mobile and opportunities in emerging technologies. And our passion for people and teams extends to our Apprenticeship and OnSite programs, through which we educate and help guide the careers of the next generation of software developers. Detroit Labs has over 100 employees and offices in Detroit and Ann Arbor.

The Detroit Labs Design Team is a small team of experienced generalists whose skill sets cover a broad range of our clients’ needs. Team members are co-located with their project teams (or in some cases fully remote), but come together often to improve their process and their projects, and find ways to evolve Design at Detroit Labs. As the team looks to expand it wants to do so thoughtfully and is searching for someone to help lead that charge.

As Detroit Labs’ first Design Operations Lead, you will keep Detroit Labs’ Design team healthy, and running smoothly and efficiently.

The Design Operations Lead provides exceptional leadership that promotes engagement, career growth/development, and fulfillment of Detroit Labs’ Design team members. They work with others in the organization to scale and improve Design team function, and influence organizational processes to better serve Detroit Labs team members and clients.

A Design Operations Lead creates and maintains an operational foundation for designers to thrive within our growing organization. They mentor designers on process, organization and tools to work effectively, but in a way that doesn’t infringe on the leadership of their individual projects. They help to foster greater collaboration and communication between Designers and other roles on Delivery teams. They help promote a fun, highly collaborative design team culture understood by all.

A Design Operations Lead will need to understand the type of work Design team members find most fulfilling, and collaborate with the Director of Operations to connect those desires with incoming work. They have a comprehensive understanding of all of the project work, and can therefore provide input into reviews, give useful feedback, and maintain a tight collaboration with other roles. They evangelize for design, and work with all departments to identify appropriate design team integration.

A Design Operations Lead will also participate in recruiting, interviewing, hiring of Design team members; coaching others on how to best communicate and sell design work; and will help shape design culture and guidelines as the company grows.

*This is not a remote position.*


  • 1-2 years of experience in coaching, servant leadership, or people development experience (or relevant areas of experience)
  • Cross-functional design team experience preferred, or evidence of heavy involvement and/or leadership in several complex projects
  • Able to thrive in a high-transparency environment, and able to create a supportive and positive team environment where team members can bravely voice concerns and fears
  • Caring and honest, with the ability to provide insightful and direct feedback and coaching in a mature and confidential manner
  • Solution oriented, self-reliant, transparent, self-aware, and feedback focused
  • Able to understand and communicate the needs and concerns of Designers and how they interact with all sales and delivery roles within Detroit Labs
  • Able to match individual or team goals with larger business needs
  • Able to contribute to and be part of the ongoing strategy and definition of the Design team
  • Advocate for and be an exemplar of Detroit Labs’ cultural values


The Detroit Labs Services business unit offers numerous and extensive non-salary benefits to our team members. This package is designed to appeal to motivated, energetic, and self-sufficient team members, and strike a healthy balance between a high-energy startup culture and an established and mature professional services practice. Non-Salary benefits of note provided to full-time team members include:

  • Coin+Craft (“C+C”): $1,500/year budget for individual team members to use for personal development, conferences, hardware, or any other learning and development activity the team member chooses. Uses for this run the gamut from WWDC/Google I+O conference participation, new phone purchases every year, to reimbursement for registration for the Detroit Labs Warrior Dash 5K race.
  • Parental Leave: Far beyond the norm for U.S. companies, the Detroit Labs Services business unit offers 16 weeks of paid leave at 100% salary to maternity/primary caregivers, and an optional 36 weeks of unpaid leave. We offer 4 weeks of paid leave at 100% salary to paternity/secondary caregivers, and an optional 16 weeks of unpaid leave.
  • Emergency Leave: For qualified emergency situations, Detroit Labs offers emergency leave that provides 1 week of 100% paid emergency leave, and 5 weeks of leave paid at a sliding percentage based on months of services, from 30% to 70%. We also offer an additional 6 weeks of optional unpaid emergency leave once paid leave is exhausted.
  • Hardware Policy: All full-time team members are provided with a $2500 budget to purchase new hardware when they start. Hardware is refreshed every 2-3 years for developers and designers, slightly less often for non-technical team members.
  • Sponsorship Budget: Detroit Labs has a $2,000/month community sponsorship budget to support local user groups and events as well as national conferences and events that are important in our industry. Team members play an important role in identifying and suggesting where that sponsorship money is allocated.
  • Remote Work: Detroit Labs uses standard work practices that are remote-work friendly. This provides uninterrupted productivity in inclement weather (of which Michigan has a lot) as well as allowing team members the ability to setup a work structure that provides the greatest productivity and satisfaction.
  • AA Satellite Office: Detroit Labs operates a satellite office in Ann Arbor for use by any team members that wish to work from Ann Arbor.
  • All-team events: Detroit Labs organizes and conducts regular team building events in and around Detroit. These events are designed to both bring the team together in a non-work related manner but also to introduce and experience what the city has to offer. Events are wide-ranging and have included such activities as tours of the historic Masonic Temple and Pewabic Pottery, letterpress classes at Signal+Return, circus acrobatics workshops, brewery tours, a tour of Shinola, etc.
  • All-Company training: In addition to individual training that team members acquire via their Coin+Craft budget, Detroit Labs sponsors all-company training. Past training has included defensive and secure coding practices, giving and receiving feedback, and self-defense. In 2016 we introduced a Woman in Tech focused coaching program and a Diversity package.
  • PTO policy: Our team members enjoy a flexible and generous PTO package that includes holidays, vacation, sick, and convenience leave.
  • DL Sweats: Detroit Labs hosts, sponsors, and subsidizes several health related activities including a 2x/week bootcamp and every other week massage therapy. These are well attended and have created an overall culture of healthy activity and self-improvement among team members participating in these and other healthy activities.
  • Hardware Lab: Detroit Labs operates and stocks a hardware lab for tinkering and hardware hacking.
  • Flextime: Detroit Labs team members are responsible for project success, not specific office hours. Our team members can take advantage of flextime to ensure a work/life balance can be created and that time spent working is the most productive as possible.
  • Hack Time: As a Services business we often have ups and downs in individual projects, as well as team members that spend a few weeks between projects. Detroit Labs encourages active use of this downtime with our Hack Time ideology, which is a loosely structured personal development time used by team members to explore, learn, and build things that fall outside of our normal Services responsibilities. While many apps and hardware projects have resulted from Hack Time, as important is the skill and new technology development our team members invest in on their project downtime.
  • Team & Company Celebrations: Detroit Labs celebrates our successes and victories. When a project team launches a product into the App Store, or we achieve a company milestone or accomplish a company goal, we come together and celebrate. Sometimes these are small celebrations of cake and coffee, sometimes these are larger celebrations at outside establishments. In either case this prevents us from losing sight of the individual accomplishments and successes that taken as a whole provide the story of Detroit Labs’ success.

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