06 / Scaling Product Teams & Processes, Music in a Voice-first World, Constraint Layout (for Designers), Ask The Right User Research Questions
Welcome to Issue 06!
There is so much growth happening right now in the tech industry it’s hard to keep up. Not only with the introduction of many new startups looking to disrupt industries, but also established companies which have been around for years, fighting to hold market share and continue to grow.
There is a lot of talk about being the first product manager or designer at a new startup and what it’s like to grow a team from the ground-up. There seems to be less talk of joining a team that is established, growing and going through the process of change.
I remember Diógenes Brito getting up at Front and talking about how Slack had grown from 40 to 800+ in his almost 3 years, at the time. With growth, more people provide the ability to do more, but it can also bring more complication if you don’t have the right vision, strategy, and process in place. Communication becomes very important, internally. Nikita Dyer Miller understands this well, as someone that has joined companies very often (3 out of 4 times) as the fourth product manager.
Nikita shares her story of how she approaches being a part of the evolution a product team has while wanting to preserve some of what has worked in the past, at the same time as moving toward what they’d like to do better in the future — all while also growing the team in numbers. It’s not at easy task.
Also, Kintan Brahmbhatt from Amazon Music share’s how we have to look at problems differently as we move into a voice-enabled digital world. Linzi Berry from Lyft Design shares how creating constraints for ourselves as designers for better communication cross-functionally can improve design consistency in execution. Finally, Fabricio Teixeira reminds us of how to ask the right questions during user research so we don’t make decisions based on misleading feedback.
I hope you enjoy these articles as much as I did.
— Ben Peck
*Please let us know of anything else you think would be valuable to share in the newsletter.
“In this exclusive interview, Miller shares her well-honed insights into successfully leading a product team through that unique transition, from scrappy early-stage startup to a company with processes that can scale. She shares the three strategies product leaders must implement to successfully bridge that gap and come out thriving. And she offers advice for both grounding and getting the most out of a rapidly maturing team.”
Interview of Nikita Dyer Miller
Living in a voice interactive world.
“Finding the perfect song can be hard. You might know the lyrics of a song you like, but you don’t know its name. You might want to play a song from the newest Ariana Grande album — but only the one you heard on the radio that morning. Or you might want to listen to happy funk music from the 1970s, but don’t know the best tunes from that era.”
Guide to handoff responsive mobile layouts.
“Now with nifty tools like Zeplin and Abstract, designers spend little to no time on handoff. Unfortunately a lot can get lost in translation. Is this button a fixed size or responsive to the screen size? Is it this specific amount from the bottom or centered within a larger object? Let’s bring back the craft of the handoff with constraint layout symbols.”
…when you invest in aligning and co-ordinating designers, design does scale.”
Ask better questions.
“Interviewing users require a lot of effort and planning. Depending on how extensive the research is, you might spend several weeks preparing for the sessions, several days talking to your users and several hours capturing and organizing your notes. You want to make sure all that effort won’t be thrown away because you didn’t take the time to properly plan your questions.”
// Job Openings
Vivint Smart Home // User Researcher // Lehi, UT
Pluralsight // Principal, Product Management // South Jordan, UT
Pluralsight // Product Designer // South Jordan, UT
Podium // Product Designer // Lehi, UT
Podium // Sr. Product Manager // Lehi, UT
Workfront // UX Manager // Lehi, UT
Workfront // Senior UX Designer // Lehi, UT
Axis41 // Freelance UI/UX Sr. Manager // Salt Lake City, UT
— CONFERENCE SPEAKER ANNOUNCEMENT
Frank Yoo, Director of Design, Google Cloud Apps
Everyone has a personal history. Happy growth, as well as formative struggles and insecurities mold and teach us how to navigate our day-to-day. As a California-born Korean kid, Frank will talk about his experience as a second generation American, and how early questions of assimilation and identity, and subsequent phases of introspection and self-reckoning shaped his career and perspective on effective teams, leadership, and succession.
Frank Yoo is a Director of Design for Cloud Apps, overseeing UX for Gmail, Chat, Google+, Groups, and other emerging products. Previously as Head of Design at Lyft, he was a member of the original team that built the v1 and would go on to lead the product design teams responsible for each version of the product through 2018. With prior posts at LinkedIn and Yahoo!, Frank’s experience has traversed consumer content and social networking, to transportation and marketplaces, settling now into enterprise software.
Beyond the workplace, he’s a husband, a dad to two hilarious girls, and principal frisbee-thrower for Arial, the family Boston terrier.