ME AS DESIGN LEADER
I have the privilege of leading, coaching, and managing people very early in my career.
Giving people opportunities, seeing them grow, and empowering them has been the biggest pleasure and privilege in my career.
I learn how to run the team from blog posts – best practices from other leading companies from all over the world. I implement rituals, workflow, and processes based on the company’s scale and situation and what I think will benefit the team and maximize productivity.
Way of working and principles
What I tell my team.
💡 We’re not a design factory. We synthesize, define and refine design challenges to come up with the best solution for our users and business stakeholders. We’re PM’s secret weapons.
💪 Agile and empowerment. You make decisions. Even if you’re a junior. If you’re not sure seek me out.
✌️ Ownership and autonomy.
📈 Focus on impact, not activity or principles. Run user research because you need to find out or validate something not because an article on Medium says you need to do it.
Tome of knowledge for design teams
For a young design team, I find design critique most valuable. It allows us to learn from each other. We take turns walking through our design. With every design, we ask the team members to provide feedback and ideas.
- Knowledge sharing. We are able to learn from how others approach and solve a design challenge how they make design decisions.
- Improve and iteration. We can improve our own design with idea and feedback from other.
- Sync. Keeping each other in sync about any potential dependency or conflict among the design, product teams, and KPIs.
Give back to the community. Establish relationships with schools, fresh grads, and students. Interns are not cheap labor. As others empower me and do their best to let me shine, I would do the same for another generation behind me.
🤝 One-on-one pairing with the full-time designer. This makes sure everyone is not left behind.
⚽ Joining cross-functional product team. I treat everyone the same as a full-time joiner.
✋ Hands-on work in live projects. To give interns real-world working experience, I give them live projects tasks.
👂 Listen and empathize. I work together with both interns and my team members to identify the area they want to learn and improve. Then I help them achieve their goal while aligning with business needs and direction.
One on one and coaching
It’s about empathy and caring.
When it comes to managing and coaching people, I don’t think it’s much about principles. I do my best to care for and empathize with every team member.
- Everyone is different. One person might do well under pressure and love the challenge, one persona might like straightforward and tough love another might require a gentler touch.
- Giving an answer is easy. Coaching and hinting people to come to an answer is harder and more rewarding. I do my best to let my team members work on the problem and not to give them an answer straight away. Once they figure things out they grow and become more autonomous.
- One-on-one topics: How are you doing? What would you like to learn and improve? How can I help you?
As I never have a dedicated designer for design systems, I absorbed the responsibility of creating and maintaining design systems.
Having a design system makes it easier to keep things consistent. Allow simpler onboarding.
When it comes to project and file structure, there is no right answer. It comes down to each organization’s situation and preference. Right now this is my setup. We use Figma’s professional tier. A project represents one product domain. Then a file represents a screen, a flow, or a journey. Then here are the pages :
Final: Signed off, most up-to-date design. With flows, interactions, states, and edge cases.
Master: Master components used to build the Final page. This makes maintaining the design simpler and robust. This is kept in a separate screen because Dev or other stakeholders shouldn’t need to see how our design is built and maintain.
Change Request: Any pending changes. Once all parties are aware and agree on the change the request is applied to the Final page.
Draft: Designer’s own draft area.
Cover: Just the file thumbnail. This is put last because when anyone opens the Figma file they can see the Final design first which is what they should be looking at. Non-design people may not know how to navigate through different Figma pages.
Dev handoff checklist
Help check things before handing them off to developers.
Once the design is signed off and communicated to dev, PO, and QA. We need a system to help keep changes in check and keep everyone up to date. Design can be a great help in that area as we should be a source of truth.
Competitor analysis template
Fun template built with Figma auto-layout. Nice and satisfying.