We’re planting a seed inside each business unit at IBM that gives them a vision of how the system helps them. We show how it accelerates development times and improves quality. Once someone in a business unit sees that, they tend to tell others about it and help them to solve problems.
I find that it helps to let market forces encourage adoption: Start with something small and make it really valuable to one group of people. If it proves its value, then you expand it. So, you’re adapting to feedback from a market — even if it’s just internal people. Market forces help adoption grow faster on its own through better quality, support and self-service documentation.
I’m a huge proponent of discoverable self-service, not just in end-user experiences, but also in the design system itself. If someone has to have a meeting with you to figure out how to get onboarded with your design system, then you don’t have a design system — you just have some assets people have to be introduced to.
When we started our design system, we knew it had to be discoverable. It can’t just be some hidden asset that nobody knows about. So, we made a website that people could find. We open sourced it to make it even more discoverable. IBM has 400,000-plus employees and we’re helping everybody at the company find it.