Collaborative design in Fanduel's globally distributed team
How the fantasy sports tech company uses Abstract to manage a remote crew of designers and engineers
FanDuel is a daily fantasy sports company founded in 2009 with the vision of making sports more exciting. Offering a multitude of one-day game options for NFL, NBA, WNBA, PGA, and more, FanDuel has over six million registered users.
Challenges of managing a distributed design team
FanDuel’s interdisciplinary design team is distributed across New York City, Edinburgh, and Glasgow. The team is responsible for the product experience across web, Android, iOS, and Apple Watch. The team works in squads. They move fast. They work independently and collaboratively. “It’s not only important that we work as a cohesive design unit on a day-to-day basis, but that we’re also contributing collaboratively to a larger vision of where we’re headed,” says Chris Leckie, Product Design Director at FanDuel.
FanDuel was growing and the pains they were experiencing were related to scaling fast. It was difficult for all designers to have visibility across projects. It was challenging to share Sketch files without fear of their work being overwritten or lost. They tried to use Github to manage design files because their engineering team was already using it. “We have quite an eclectic team. Some can code and some can’t, so we needed a system that was usable by everyone,” he adds. He and a principal designer signed up for the Abstract alpha. “Once we tried Abstract, it really resonated with some of the pain we were feeling as a team.”
Once we tried Abstract, it really resonated with some of the pain we were feeling as a team.
Chris Leckie | Product Design Director
Improving visibility and collaboration
Abstract solved two problems for FanDuel:
With Abstract, there was now a centralized, controlled area where the team could share their Sketch files without fear of work being overwritten or lost. “We were storing our files in Egnyte and constantly having to deal with conflicts,” says Chris. It was also difficult to enforce a clear process because each designer was storing and naming files differently and they were recreating assets all the time. “By providing a controlled area, Abstract removed that sense of personal ownership and helped foster team ownership,” he adds.
With a distributed team, peer reviews were not easy. It was not easy to know how a design evolved or why a designer had made a certain design decision along the way. Abstract made it easy for the team to see the progression of a design and provide timely feedback through iterations.
Working with speed and confidence
FanDuel’s 22 designers are now using Abstract and they have rolled it out across more than 100 engineers. It was easy for the team to adopt Abstract as they were already familiar with Branching, Commits, and Merges from having used Github before. With all Sketch files in Abstract, it’s easy for the design team in Scotland to collaborate with the team in New York. Collections made it even simpler. Peer feedback is given in Abstract, saving the team significant time spent on all the back and forth. Abstract also makes it easy for Chris to ensure design consistency across the teams he manages. He can quickly view all the Artboards and Commits without having to open Sketch. “It saves me time and gives me peace of mind knowing that there is a single source of truth for our Sketch files.”