How to gain widespread adoption of your design system

Using documentation to cultivate co-ownership between design and development

This post is the second in a series about HubSpot Canvas, our new Design Language. Read the first here. 

I came to HubSpot as a software engineering co-op just as a movement was growing. The design team had, over the previous months, created a gorgeous set of new typography, colors, and basic components that would become the cornerstone of a major redesign of our entire platform.


How building a design system empowers your team to focus on people — not pixels.

This post is the first in a series about HubSpot Canvas, our new Design Language.


There’s an old comedy skit about a mailman who decides he’s no longer passionate about delivering mail - he’d rather deliver tacos instead.

In the skit, a man waits by his mailbox to confront the mailman about the lack of actual mail in his mailbox. Despite loving tacos, the resident says, “If I had to choose between the tacos and the mail, I’d have to choose the mail.” 

Tacos are much more exciting than bills, but the man doesn’t need tacos. He needs his mail. 


Need for Speed: Accelerating Maven Snapshots

At HubSpot, all of our backend code is written in Java and built with Maven. This code is spread over ~3,500 Maven modules, with lots of dependencies between them. We use snapshots for all of our internal dependencies, and we almost never do releases or version bumps. We pair this with a snapshot update policy of always, so that every build picks up the latest version of every library. We like that it forces people to be conscious of backwards-compatibility, avoids version conflicts when using internal libraries, and gets us closer to the monorepo mindset while still being able to use mostly off-the-shelf tooling.


How we gave SSL to all our customers in 5 days, for free

 I regularly talk about the HubSpot Product Team's culture – both internally and externally – and I always start my discussions on our culture with the following idea:

We believe that if you give a team a compelling mission, the autonomy to attack the mission the way they see fit, and the support to accomplish this, magic happens.

This is, in essence, my management philosophy. The bulk of what we do on the leadership team here involves setting up situations where that magic can happen.


Why We’re Building HubSpot’s Next Big Product in Dublin

When we opened a HubSpot office in Dublin five years ago, there were no plans of starting a product team. We were going to invest in sales, marketing, and customer service to grow our customer base and community in Europe, not in software development.


The Product Management Skill Stack

In college, my Information Systems professor told my class about a career path that sounded perfect. It involved working with technology, making strategic business decisions, problem-solving, collaborating across teams, and a whole lot of responsibility. It was a position that seemed so general in scope that any smart, willing person (that was me!) could do it. As it turns out, I wasn’t alone in feeling that way about a job in product management - and now it seems like everyone these days is thinking about starting a career as a product manager.


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