Russ Unger

Design Director, UserGlue

The 3 Cs of Design – Charters, Critique, and Culture

18 mins
Design Practice & Process

Product Managers

About The Speaker

Russ Unger is an Experience Design leader. He is co-author of the books: A Project Guide to UX Design, Designing the Conversation and Speaker Camp for New Riders (Voices That Matter).

Russ is also working on a design leadership book for Rosenfeld Media that is due out soon.

The 3 Cs of Design – Charters, Critique, and Culture

I’ve worked for a lot of idiot managers in my career. And then, one day, after I had become a design manager myself, it finally dawned on me: Now I’m the idiot!

I’ve failed on many, many levels. I didn’t understand how to understand a team, and help turn their perceptions and expectations into something shared and agreed upon. I didn’t understand how to foster critique; I only knew that I was in charge of design and that I had the final say. In design leadership positions, the option to go back to the drawing board or to iterate hasn’t always been readily available–nor as painless to my pride and potentially my pocketbook.

The passing of time, the second and third chances that I’ve been given, and the sound advice that I didn’t want to listen to in the past have opened me up to a much different perspective. Oh, I’ve still got plenty to learn, and I’m excited to share some of what I’ve learned about charters, critique, and culture of design organizations.

Key Takeaways


How to align large design teams to meet common goals?


How to build a sustainable design culture?


How to run design critiques at scale?

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