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We’ve been taking our first requests through the Design System Change Advisory Board (CAB)

The Change Advisory Board (CAB) helps bring requests, changes and improvements into the Design System.

In September, we processed our first Requests for Change through the CAB, approving accessibility changes that had been submitted by another team. This allowed us to put into practice our process for maintaining and updating what is contained within the Design System.

What is the Change Advisory Board (CAB)?

In order to ensure that the Design System prioritises users and advocates for its adoption across a broad range of use cases, we formed a Change Advisory team. The CAB is chaired by a Change Manager and consists of leads from User Experience (UX), Content, Design, Accessibility, Brand and Technical.

In the ITIL v3 service management blog, a change advisory board is defined as:

A group of people that support the assessment, prioritization, authorization and scheduling of changes.

ITILv3 Processes and Best practices: blog


The role of the CAB is pivotal in reviewing which changes should be approved, deferred or rejected. The members of the CAB offer experience and knowledge to point out any significant issues that a change could result in if not properly managed.

The Design System’s CAB:

  • maintains design and brand consistency
  • prevents poor design decisions – leading to usability issues
  • promotes the use of the existing components before attempting to start from scratch
  • ensures updates comply with accessibility standards
  • considers the wider context of use rather than supporting individual specific use cases
  • keeps the entire organisation informed of changes

The role the CAB plays within the Design System’s Contribution Process

A core aspect to a Design System is the contribution process and getting the community involved in its evolution. In order to avoid a free-for-all, it is important any new components, patterns or ideas are assessed by a group.

We want to ensure that the Design System:

  • does not cause serious conflict
  • affect a user’s experience
  • interfere with the performance of our technologies

How does the CAB work?


We have documented the Request for Change process on our Change Advisory wiki page.
Design System change process wiki (University login required)

Any change that comes to the Design System is first assessed by the Design System product team.

Diagram showing the CAB process

This diagram describes the CAB process workflow.

The Design System product team will be checking to see if:

  • there is not already something that exists in the Design System that does the thing that is needed
  • it is going to be of benefit to the wider University and not just for one specific use case
  • it is possible to implement technically
  • there is evidence supporting the need for change

If a change brought to the Design System meets the criteria for submission, then the Design System team will ask the contributor to fill the Request for Change form, which can also be found on the wiki page. If a change is approved by the Change Advisory Board it will be brought back to the Design System team who will look at the work that needs to happen to bring the change into the Design System. Equally, the Change Advisory team may reject or defer the change and in both instances the Design System team will get in touch with the contributor to discuss what may need to happen next.

As the University Design System continues to grow and evolve and we begin to open it out to teams to use, we will keep reviewing and iterating on our change process and as always welcome any feedback on how we can continually improve this process.

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