Snappy title about starting a new job

Sam Willis
Aug 6, 2015 · 4 min read

I’ve been working as a Product Designer at GoCardless for about a month now and thought it would be a useful exercise to write up and share my experiences so far.

GoCardless is a service that lets organisations collect recurring payments from their customers, and we’re turning it into a global network. We now process over $1bn every year! If you’re interested in joining or are just curious as to how Design works at GoCardless, this is for you.

What was the first week like?

The moment I signed my contract the design team took me out for drinks and burgers to celebrate. This was a great way of getting to know one another before I started my role, as well as being a lot of fun (after our dinner we went to a super trendy cocktail bar and shot some pool).

You’ll always find me in the kitchen at parties

On the morning of my first day we went for a team breakfast — something we now do quite regularly — to ease me in and talk through the agenda for the day. There are a lot of moving parts that go into making GoCardless a great experience and product. As such, the team are acutely aware of how much there is to take in and are very careful not to put too much pressure on new joiners.

Once I was all set up, they plunged me straight into a project in which I was to design an OAuth flow allowing custom apps to connect with GoCardless. I was introduced to members of the dev team also on the project, and we chatted through the scope and outlined the work required. Then, when I was sufficiently clued up, I did some of my own research before starting to sketch out some ideas.

Early sketches for the OAuth project

After I had formed a flow that I was happy with, I popped my screens into a Marvel prototype so that I could run the journey by the developers. We made a few small iterations on the design as we nailed down the copy, but they pretty much got straight into building it out, which was great. Towards the end of the project I was given the keys to the code and made a few tweaks and changes to the design in the browser.

To get the most out of this kind of process it was critical to ask all of the questions. The premise was that I could learn on the go and get a taste of life at GoCardless straight from the get go. I naturally came across roadblocks & problems as I puzzled my way through the project, but the team were very patient and happy to chat things through and explain things as I went.

What does a normal day look like?

We usually begin our day with an informal, project-based stand-up. Depending on the project, the team will be made up of around 4–5 people from various disciplines (development, design, marketing etc). The stand-ups are pretty snappy and serve simply to catch one another up on the progress of the previous day.

Once this is done we separate (unless people are pairing) and head back to our desks to get cracking. We use Slack channels extensively and each project is given one so that the team can communicate and share ideas without having to get up or shout across the room.

We have meeting rooms, booths, and a whole bunch of comfy chairs and sofas in the office, so I tend to migrate to a different part of the office during the day to work with people or just for a change of scenery. Often — at least once a week — we’ll take a wander to a local coffee shop to work there for a few hours.

Comfy, comfy chairs

Whenever we complete a project, we send round an email to the whole company so that everyone knows what is being worked on and how we are progressing as a business. If the project has been a particularly meaty one, we will sometimes go out for a team lunch to celebrate and cool off.

What are you looking forward to?

There are a lot of things I am looking forward to getting my teeth into here at GoCardless.

We recently finished a research project in which we nailed down some key user personas and journeys, and looked at what we are good at, what we could be better at, and what we’re missing. From this work we have identified some really exciting and interesting projects which have been laid out on our very own design roadmap. We are also working on making GoCardless a global payment platform which means designing for the new countries we add each month.

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