As designers, we know that the work we do has a substantial impact; however, it can sometimes be challenging at times to demonstrate how it relates to business growth. When we can show the value of our work, we can advocate for bigger design teams to help focus business goals around the needs of our users. We can also start driving value to focus on building on design systems so that designers can focus on higher value problems, moments of delight for our users and product quality.
Before we jump into ways we can start demonstrating the value of our work and the value of Design Systems, let’s first clarify what a Design System is.
How will we measure?
Measuring efficiency starts with setting a baseline. Here are some quantitative measurements:
Time spent designing/developing components and patterns
Time spent on design handoff to development
Time spent designing/developing doing QA
Time spent on designing/developing reviews
Time spent redesigning components and patterns
Time spent training and onboarding new designers/developers
Here are some qualitative measure:
Do you feel that the work you do impacts the client experience?
Do you feel like design and development are aligned?
How would you rate the design/developer culture?
What to do with your baseline metrics
Now that you have some baseline metrics, you can start to define the opportunity. There are some assumptions you can make based on other companies' success in implementing design systems. We have found that commonly a 25-30% increase in productivity is an assumption. Now quantify this over time spent on the above qualitative metrics.
Speed of production 30% X hourly rate; 75/hr for designer, 85/hr for developer
75 x 37.5 (hours in a week) x 48 (weeks worked a year) x .30 = 40,500
85 x 37.5 (hours in a week) x 48 (weeks worked a year) x .30 = 45,900
What might this look like for a small team of 2 designers and 7 developers
Annual savings = $402,300/year
Of course, the formula will need to be adjusted based on your company, but it gives you a way to measure cost savings to the company.
Design time saving: 31% faster with an 18% relative improvement in quality
In his rigorous article, Bryn Ray , describes how they went about calculating the prospective benefits of investing in a Design System for one of his clients. By logging and categorizing design activities of a sample of six design teams, they created a framework to evaluate what benefits a mature Design System could bring. They found out that each team could deliver their work in 31% fewer person-hours and with an 18% relative improvement in quality.
Design time saving: 34% faster on a design task
To see what an impact a Design System would have, Figma’s  data scientist asked seven design colleagues to create one screen and a screen flow for a banking app. The designers were randomly assigned to two groups and had a Design System at hand for one task, and old design reference files for the other. With the Design System available, they completed their tasks 34% faster than without it. As an extra benefit, several participants reported feeling much more confident in the final result knowing that it was created according to the up-to-date standards of the Design System.
The Lloyds Bank design system saves ~£280,000 per project
In her talk , the head of Design Systems for the Lloyds Banking Group, Lily Dart, mentions three main drivers to develop their Design System: consistency, quality and cost. When it comes to cost, the Constellation Design System saved ~£3.5mil between June and December 2018 across the projects which used it. More recently, Lily has reported an estimated £12.7mil in savings for the group in two years. 
In conclusion, it's important regardless what state you are at in the Design System continuum to track metrics of your process and culture.
Bryn Ray. 2018. How much is a design system worth? — UX Collective. UX Collective. Retrieved March 26, 2020
Clancy Slack. 2019. Measuring the value of design systems. Figma Blog. Retrieved March 26, 2020
UX Crunch Meets Lloyds Banking Group: Design Systems by Lily Dart. Retrieved April 26, 2020
Lily Dart. Lily Dart’s LinkedIn profile. Retrieved April 26, 2020