UX operating focus at CareRev

Quarterly focus planning workshop for Design team | Remote | CareRev 2023

Project Summary
At CareRev, the Design department faced significant downsizing, and needed to recalibrate priorities and support remaining team members. To address this, I designed a 1-hour, remote workshop to identify key concerns, and assess the team’s emotional state. Through the workshop, actionable “How Might We” statements were created concerning work quality, prioritization, the design system, and preventing burnout, to be addressed in future weekly meetings. Despite the challenges of restructuring, the workshop facilitated open dialogue, forged stronger connections, and provided a solid foundation for future growth.
The task

Surface problems or items to focus on to evolve the operating model and focus of UX going forward into 2024.


  1. Surface and prioritize known problems to solve in our working model
  2. Redirect focus away from vertical purview to horizontal purviews
  3. Address ways to avoid burnout
  4. Surface and dispel fears and distractions resulting from RIF

Back story

The Design department at CareRev had been impacted by several reductions-in-force (RIFs), the most recent having reduced the team from a team of 7 product designers and 1 copywriter down to 2 designers (not including myself).

There were needs that came out of this event:

  1. A recalibration of what the team should focus on with fewer resources
  2. Visibility on support that the remaining designers might need—both for work and for mental health purposes. 

Since CareRev is a remote company, I opted to design a workshop to address these needs, but also minimize meeting time (fewer designers meant we all were about to get a lot more meeting invitations!).


Hopes & Fears

I didn’t just want to dole out more work—I needed to see where my team’s heads were at so that I could support them as their leader. This was the second RIF the team had endured…that’s no small thing. The “Hopes & Fears” exercise helped me quickly assess my team’s emotional state, as well as their top-of-mind projects. 

How might we…?

Top insights from the Hopes & Fears exercise showed the designers’ top concerns: 

  • Maintaining work quality
  • How we prioritize work
  • The design system
  • Avoiding burnout. 

Creating “How Might We’s (HMWs)” from these concerns allowed us to address them in an actionable way. We stack-ranked these HMWs next so that the team knew how to prioritize their time.

Lastly, assigning action items to each HMW allowed the team to align on ownership and keep track of these issues in our weekly huddles.

Team names hidden for privacy.


Restructuring events like RIFs can affect a team’s productivity and emotional well-being. Though it may take some time to pick up the pieces, it’s important to quickly prepare the team for recalibration—this workshop proved to be an efficient method of doing so.

While it was never going to be a pleasant conversation, we were able to have honest and open discussion which led to a stronger team connection, and a more solid foundation for the path forward.

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