Liz Khoo · UX Design

Team Building

A series of deep dive workshops


At the start of 2022, I was leading a team where 6 of 7 designers had joined Shopify within the past 6 months. The team was the outcome of a major re-org that happened the prior year, and we still didn't really have an identity.

To begin nurturing a culture, interpersonal relationships, and alignment around mission, I hosted a series of workshops throughout the year.


Based on a company-wide, anonymous employee survey, my team rated higher than company averages on some traits related to onboarding, trust, and belonging: 28% higher than average on "New people joining my team are getting spun up effectively", and 20% higher than average on "It's easy to have conversations about tough topics with my team."

I also feel proud about the higher than average ratings I saw for attributes directly about my impact: "My lead recognizes me when I do great work, "…provides timely, constructive feedback," and "…holds me accountable for delivering on my performance goals," "…ensures that important work is prioritized," and "…has the technical skills required to lead the team."

Mission alignment

Our first two sessions focused on unpacking the annual company themes and goals. ICs each defined how our day-to-day work ladders into the bigger mission.

Rituals and norms

Rituals are how shit gets done! In this session, we debated and defined team rituals, like stand-ups and design crits, and norms, like respecting no-meeting-Wednesdays and calendar etiquette.

I’m a big fan of iteration in process, and we revisted our rituals quarterly, adding, removing, and changing it up on a regular basis.

Performance reviews

Understanding how performance reviews are conducted, how to interpret the competency matrix are critical to one’s career trajectory but often mystifying as a young designer.

In this workshop, we unpacked how Shopify specifically defines performance and impact.

Design quality

Following a popular Medium article by Shopify UX on the topic of design quality, we identified and discussed the uncomfortable realities about the roadblocks to ship quality design.

An outcome here that I’m happy to note: an enterprising senior designer on my team felt empowered to then start a quality ritual in his product group, which resulted in many UX improvements shipped continuously.


I shared with the team my own story on my growth journey, outlined my perspective on what separates a junior/senior/lead+ level designer, and hosted a conversation with a guest speaker Senior Staff designer.