It is difficult to define design management just like it is difficult to have a normative definition of design or management. Best  tries to explain design and management as separate entities to start with. According to her design is a people-centred, problem-solving process. It is both a ‘verb’ (to plan, to create or to advice) and a noun (a form and function). On the other hand management deals with the people and processes involved in managing, organising, controlling and administering a business.
She argues that when the world of business and management focuses more on financial rewards and profit-making incentives and invest little in people-centred, problem-solving process of design, the advantages of design may be lost if not sheltered from the traditional controls and incentives. Therefore, businesses need an appreciation of inter-disciplinary design processes and practices but equally design also needs the protection and restraints of an efficient and effective management framework. Designers need to be aware of the standard business and management processes and practices, equally design management needs to look at the successful management of the people, projects, processes and procedures, services, environments and experiences as well as of the relationships between different disciplines and different roles .
Design management is the business side of design. Design management encompasses the ongoing processes, business decisions, and strategies that enable innovation and create effectively-designed products, services, communications, environments, and brands that enhance our quality of life and provide organizational success.
On a deeper level,
Design management seeks to link design, innovation, technology, management and customers to provide competitive advantage across the triple bottom line: economic, social/cultural, and environmental factors. It is the art and science of empowering design to enhance collaboration and synergy between “design” and “business” to improve design effectiveness.
The scope of design management ranges from the tactical management of corporate design functions and design agencies, including design operations, staff, methods and processes—to the strategic advocacy of design across the organization as a key differentiator and driver of organizational success. It includes the use of design thinking—or using design processes to solve general business problems .
Traditionally, design management was seen as limited to the management of design projects, but over time, it evolved to include other aspects of an organisation at the functional and strategic level. A more recent debate concerns the integration of design thinking into strategic management as a cross-disciplinary and human-centred approach to management.
Some examples of professionals that practice design management include design department managers, brand managers, creative directors, design directors, heads of design, design strategists, and design researchers, as well as managers and executives responsible for making decisions about how design is used in the organization .
Design Management is the management of design projects, team and processes and is an intricate subject area. Currently, organisations all over the world are increasingly looking for ways to employ the power of design in product innovation, in every day management processes, and in the creative development of their companies. When design effectively and creatively engages with business agendas, the results are of benefit to people, products, processes and organisational cultures as a whole.
 Best, K. (2010). The Fundamentals of Design Management, AVA Publishing, SA. pp-8