Starting from scratch — how I’ve approached building my new team at Flo
It’s just a few weeks since my first day at Flo, though it feels like I’ve been here a while already! I was hired to lead and grow the UX Content team (which includes our conversational design team), and I’ve thrown myself into the challenge. I thought I’d share my approach to establishing a new content team in a fast-paced start-up.
While Flo is an incredibly successful start-up, until now, they haven’t had any UX writers, and with more than fifteen established product teams continually creating or optimising the app, there’s a ton of work for us to get stuck into. As a Flo user, and someone keen to empower women to better understand their health, this amount of opportunity is a great problem to have — but it’s also meant spending quite a lot of my first few weeks defining the role of content at Flo.
My first task was to welcome two new starters into the team. Going through the onboarding process together (which at Flo is great!) involved meeting stakeholders and design team members, and understanding company’s goals, org design and different product streams. This provided a great opportunity to work out how we could fit into the organisation, so I dedicated time and attention to asking questions, taking notes, and considering who I’d need to work with the most to establish our discipline.
As a team we decided which regular meetings we needed, and what the cadence of those meetings should be. In parallel, I started collating a list of all the work needing our immediate attention and thinking about how we could align ourselves with the product verticals to make sure our small, centralised team could provide the best focus and have the right impact. Even with a small team, I was already defining team structure and considering how we could align ourselves better as we scale — it’s never too early to plan for team growth!
We joined the design team crits, and set up intro sessions with our research colleagues too, starting to embed ourselves into the design practice. A lot of them had worked with UX writers before and were pleased to see us, but others wanted to understand more about our process. To help them, and others understand this, I set about creating a ‘Lunch and Learn’ presentation with the team, so we could introduce UX content to the whole organisation and explain how we’d be working with product design teams. We wanted to set the right expectations up front.
My next task was to create a central backlog for new incoming content work, so I have a view of all the initiatives that need content input in the coming months and can assign them into our content sprints. This also enables me to assess the initiatives against the company priorities…with only three team members I need a ruthless prioritization process.
Aligning the team
Initial 1–2–1 sessions helped me learn a bit more about my team members (for example what motivates them and how they like to receive feedback), and I booked in some time for us to meet in person — as we’re mostly remote right now. We spent a day together in the lovely Flo offices, creating our team mission and principles.
To generate these, we went through a series of brainstorms and mad-libs. Our stimulus: the overarching content strategy and vision for Flo, the business goals, and the things we wanted to be known for. We also considered the fact that we’re a small team and would need to create the conditions to allow us to democratise some simple content creation (such as training or UX content guidance). The team mission we’ve landed on is:
“To design content that provides an engaging, connected and trustworthy experience for our users, based on their needs and those of the business — and to empower other teams to do the same.”
The mission and principles have been combined into my strategy deck which outlines how UX content will help Flo achieve its goals, and outlines our focus and team-specific objectives for 2022. I’ve since shared these with our senior leadership team. It’s been so refreshing to get buy-in for UX content from the c-suite!
In addition to this, I’ve been developing role expectations for my team (so they have clarity on what’s expected of them over the next year and beyond, and so I can help them develop their careers) — and as I add more roles to our team, these will be super-useful.
We also coordinated a big journey flow mapping exercise — so we now have the most common app journeys mapped out visually. This helped us get to know the app and the content better, and also brought us together with the design team for some collaborative work.
Looking to the future
So it’s been a very busy couple of months, but the future of our team at Flo looks great. We’ve already had some good content wins (some quick conversion improvements have been really handy to demonstrate the impact of content), and we’re defining what’s next as we head into the year — establishing workflows, developing basic UX writing training for other teams, and creating a UX style guide.
I’m currently juggling socialising our strategy, establishing work relations, making sure product managers get the content input they need, and most importantly, making sure my team have the support they need. This makes each day fast-paced, interesting and rewarding. Starting from scratch is hard work, but it’s also a lot of fun.
If you love the sound of what we’re doing, and you’re a content designer or UX writer passionate about women’s health, I’m looking for a UX writer to join our team. If you’d like to know more, head here to see the job description.