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Hi. I'm Jake.

Can I tell you about my first 180 days at your company?
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I'll focus on 3 areas.

1st: PEOPLE

(Or maybe, people first.)

ONE

I believe that teams are only as strong as the relationships that exist on those teams.
  • Building trust and relationships is important. Especially in a socially-distanced, remote environment. Luckily I have experience with that having started my first 100% remote design role in 2018.

    • In the first 30 days I will have had meaningful, genuine, conversations with the people I work closest with. 

  • As a Design Instructor and mentor, one of my passions is to help others in their career. I believe anyone can be a leader, regardless of title.​

    • In my first 90 days​ I will have had several opportunities to positively affect the career or personal life of a colleague. Whether that be through radical candor, project advice, or being a friend.

  • I pride myself on being a person that others can count on. I have consistently proven that I can be trusted with tricky stakeholder relationships, owning complex products, and navigating unknown problems without guidance. 

    • In my first 180 days I want to establish myself as someone who can be trusted to perform and deliver value. Someone who can own a product and direct its success. ​

MY PERSONAL CODE of ETHICS

After reading Die Empty by Todd Henry I came up with a personal code of ethics that I use at work:

  1. Be helpful: I will aim to help people solve their problems.

  2. Be proactive: I will bias towards action. I will take voluntary initiative.

  3. Be skeptical: I will never accept the status quo, but reasonably question all proposed truth.

2nd: PROCESS

(Or maybe, principles.)

TWO

Principles will always outweigh process, but that doesn't mean process isn't important.
  • For a growing design team one of the most important pieces is the design system. Its value goes way beyond just the speed of designing.

    • In my first 30 days I will learn, understand, use, and seek to contribute to the design system. I will be an evangelist for its use and, if needed, research and design for its expansion.​

  • I believe that the most important relationship a Product Designer can have is with their Product Manager. And I don't just believe it, I practice it. I advocate regularly for the improvement of this relationship. I even wrote an article that explains who has the final say in design decisions.​

    • In my first 90 days I will have partnered with Product Management to not only build a great working relationship, but to understand the processes and procedures we use and how I can contribute to them.

  • Success in design comes from collaboration and iteration. The best designs don't happen in a vacuum. That's why it is so important to involve as many people as possible in the early stages of design. This obviously means Product Management and Engineering, also means other teams: legal, marketing, compliance, and executives. And involving the user in this stage goes without saying (but I said it anyway.)

    • In my first 180 days I will have demonstrated that I involve the right people at the right times. Iterating quickly, consulting engineering and tech leads early on, pushing for product discovery and solution validation, and using metrics to deliver and prove value for the business.

BONUS: I've never limited myself to my role/title. I am always willing to help and pitch in with projects or process when I see that I can.

3rd: PRODUCT

(Or maybe, production).

THREE

Outcomes over outputs. Design for the sake of design doesn't deliver value to the business.
  • "Why?" That's the most important question for a designer to ask when given a design problem. This translates to the product vision. The product vision is the foundation of all that a product team does. What are we trying to accomplish? How does this help the business? What is the short/long-term goals for the product? What's the state of the industry? I will ask a lot of questions.

    • In my first 30 days I will become incredibly familiar with the product vision. Ideally the Product Manager is fully equipped to communicate this, but I would also talk to leadership, executives, marketing, and whoever else ​can help me learn.

  • If the product vision is about where we want to be, the product metrics and KPIs are about where we are. It doesn't make sense​ to start blindly designing solutions without first understanding what the problems and opportunities are; this is done with metrics.

    • In my first 90 days I will become an expert on our problems by understanding what we're measuring, how we're measuring it, and maybe even suggest things that we should be measuring. With this information, I will be better suited to design solutions that we can measure the success or failure of.​

  • I've never been afraid to lead. Even without the title. (I believe there's a difference between manager and leader, anyways.) ​With my natural bias towards action I believe that I will be able to partner with product management and engineering to own problems, recommend solutions and see results in our KPIs and other metrics.

    • In my first 180 days I will prove, through cooperation with other roles, that I can be counted on to create solutions that work for our users and our business, and that deliver value by positively affecting the most important metrics for my products.​

FAIL FAST, FAIL CHEAP (That's one of my product mottos.)

I will empower myself and my product team to:

  1. Own a business problem.

  2. Ideate and validate a solution (before development work starts).

  3. Design a usable and feasible product.

  4. Deliver the product to market.

  5. Analyze metrics.

  6. Optimize for users and the business.