What follows is the story of my second involvement in the quest for a design system for my company.

While evangelizing across the company for a corporate level design system, some of the folks along the journey, in a single division of the company, began building their own design system.  They understood the value of a design system, but did not understand the rigid silos of the company, and the absolute need for a high level sponsor. Their approach at that time was that if we build it, others in the company will want to use it.

There was an immediate need in their division for such a system, and some well-intentioned folks willing to start to work on it.  Teams were formed and volunteers were solicited.  Over many weeks, the design of the first component, the submit button was heavily debated.  The visual designers had ideas, the developers had ideas, and the designers had ideas.  Hours of debate. Everyone had input.  Except for users. No one asked the users!

Eventually we did get buttons.
And we got reams of documentation and bureaucracy.  A large volume of documentation accompanied every component, and setup processes for leveraging the system were cumbersome.  

Pro Tip: When trying to convert a company to use a new system without a high level sponsor, from within a silo, adding this level of complexity is self-defeating.  You need the system to either be easy to implement, or heavily enforced.  Improvements could have been made.
It was not all bad though.  There were some positives.  Some of the documentation was very clear and even visually appealing.  I personally enjoyed the Do's and Don'ts portion of the documentation.
This effort lasted for around two years, and may have been used on one or two applications.  I personally hoped it would survive to success.  It did not.  Sadly, without a corporate sponsor, it was doomed.  I recently learned that the divisional team building the system, had been told to abandon the effort and to adopt IBM's Carbon Design System.  So sad.
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