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Meet Wrikers: Adriana Rybarova, Senior Product Designer

Before coming to Wrike, Adriana was designing in startups, creative agencies, and large product companies. Check out her personal journey of going from a university of economics dropout to a Senior Product Designer, what’s the most rewarding part of her job, and why she decided to join Wrike! 👇

Hello there, 👋 I’m Adriana! I was born in Slovakia, but I’m based in Prague, Czech Republic. I joined Wrike in February 2021.

What made you want to join Wrike?

When Wrike and I first started talking, I was already in more advanced rounds with other companies. Still, Wrike quickly made a strong impression with their flexible and personalized approach. They squeezed the entire recruitment process into a week and a half, and my recruiter was lightning-fast with answering all my questions and providing feedback after each interview round. They even managed to set up an extra round per my request between me and their future Head of Product Design (who had already accepted Wrike’s offer but hadn’t started yet). I really liked his vision and communication style, so that helped solidify my decision to join.

TL;DR: flexibility, design vision, and empathetic culture.

Another thing was that product design seemed to have strong support from the leadership. The team could easily ask for access to important resources to make their job more efficient or educate themselves. I also appreciated the strong focus on hiring UX researchers, UX writers, and other design roles.

Also, thanks to my former coworker from Avast, who joined Wrike about a year before I did, I knew that Wrike treats their employees fairly and with empathy, especially during the pandemic. This was a very important factor in my decision.

TL;DR: flexibility, design vision, and empathetic culture.

How did you become a Senior Product Designer?

When I was younger, my mom used to own and run a florist business. I worked there so often as a child that when I was 10 years old, I would take care of the entire shop by myself. I quickly realized that I loved seeing happy returning customers, and this experience planted the seed of my future love for service design.

Photoshop was like magic to me, and I started learning it by doing plenty of editing, like adding this fake New York background (now I’m #TeamFigma)

Later, when I was studying economics, I couldn’t decide what career I should choose until I randomly stumbled upon some articles about graphic design. I started playing with Photoshop, completed a few pro-bono projects (mostly promotional materials for animal shelters), then joined my first agency as a junior graphic designer. After a few web design projects, I realized I was actually more interested in UX and product design and started heading in that direction.

The next several years were a mix of overlapping jobs. First, I spent some time in a research agency as a researcher and learned how to deliver actionable insights instead of just handing off data. Then I was a lead designer in a construction startup where I focused on inhabitant experience. After that, I spent a long time as a senior UX and creative designer in a digital creative agency launching new products and ideas for startups and corporate innovation hubs. Eventually, I started focusing on product design.

My first product design-only position was as a senior UX designer at Avast Antivirus, and I was super lucky to work with an incredibly talented team that I learned a lot from. After a reorganization partially dissolved the team I had grown so close to, I decided it was time to learn something new again, which led me here.

How does Wrike support your career goals?

There are multiple important things that make me feel supported:

  1. My manager actively supports me in shaping and following my own path.
  2. Important processes are set in place (or are being created as this article is being written) to support career advancements, like transparent career tracks and regular reviews.
  3. Product design is considered essential by a lot of people at Wrike.

This brings opportunities for self-improvement and experimentation.

What is the hardest part of your job? What is the most rewarding one?

The hardest part is dealing with the growing pains. The team is expanding very quickly, the product is robust and complicated, and lots of teams were just created recently. All this can sometimes feel overwhelming, potentially leading to inconsistencies, no clear ownerships, and communication mishaps.

The rewarding part is when I can make all this easier! 🥳 There are so many things I can focus on, like: rebuilding my part of the product, improving team operations, supporting our design system… if I think something could be better, and I can convince other people that it will help, I can usually pursue it. The satisfaction of seeing my coworkers and customers happier and more productive thanks to my work puts a smile on my face.

Explaining the importance of UX writing at WebExpo 2019
Explaining the importance of UX writing at WebExpo 2019

How would you describe Wrike’s Product Design team and culture?

Since they let me fix stuff I think needs fixing, I think it’s great. 😃

For example, I felt a bit stressed and confused during my onboarding. After finding out that I wasn’t the only newcomer who felt that way, I shared this with my team and manager. I proposed a new onboarding process and revived our buddy program (all while still completing my own onboarding!). It was an amazing opportunity to improve the first months at Wrike for all our future product design newcomers, and I really enjoyed working on it.

So, another one of the most rewarding parts of my job is that the onboarding satisfaction ratings have skyrocketed since we launched the new version! 💪

It was an amazing opportunity to improve the first months at Wrike for all our future product design newcomers, and I really enjoyed working on it.

I was also surprised to find out that we barely had any online presence even though we were quite a large team (25+ people) with a ton of interesting experience. So I, along with our recruitment team, started developing a new promo initiative (and we even made it a part of my OKRs). You’re actually reading one of the results now. 😎

As a team, we’re very diverse (right now, we have people from 11 different countries, with even more coming in the next few months). So while it can be both challenging and fun to work together, the great thing is that people are engaged, and we’re building Wrike’s design culture together.

How do you think the team will continue to grow and mature?

Rapidly. We’re getting so many new people and establishing a lot of helpful processes right now. We’re on a track to be really great. This is a fantastic time to join for anybody who wants to help build a large, mature design team.

This is a fantastic time to join for anybody who wants to help build a large, mature design team.

What does a typical workday look like for you?

A typical day consists of lots of communication with my coworkers across teams (like design and product teams), time zones, and platforms (mostly Wrike and Slack). This is why my lunch breaks are sacred. 😃

What’s something that people would be surprised to learn about you?

I’m a huge fan of barefoot shoes, including the seriously weird-looking five-toe ones.

Showing off my fancy Vibram Fivefingers before going to a jazz concert
Showing off my fancy Vibram Fivefingers before going to a jazz concert

If you were going to give a new Wriker one piece of advice, what would it be?

If you like building connections and meeting people, join our virtual coffee ☕ Slack channel and meet a new coworker every week!

Wondering about what’s like to work at Wrike? 🤩 Watch this video about Wrikers.

Would you like to join our team? 😉 We are searching for Product Designers, Product Design Manager, and more. Check all our open positions on the Citrix career page. 🚀



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