what i've worked on
Leadership & Management
2019 - NOW
SERVICE DESIGN • UX/UI • DEV
CAREER MENTORING + TECHNICAL ADVISE + TEAM BUILDING + PRODUCT TEAM MANAGEMENT
In 2019 I started as Service Design Lead, with a small team of 3 (with me). At this time, I also had my hands on projects, being part of the process; but I also had to deal with clients and manage my coworkers, helping them with tasks and organization, but also with more personal concerns relating to their jobs. In that time, the team grew and so did I.
Two years later (2021), I got promoted to Head of Operations. So things escalated quite a lot: now I had a team of 15 people that were in 3 different areas: Service Design, Product Design and Development. This was quite a challenge, still, it was a need of the company at the time, so I decided to take it on.
I had a lot of long term plans for my management. We didn't have a clear process to deal with people: from onboarding, to follow-up meetings, promotions and role definitions. Everything was done offhandedly. I want to expand what I began with the service design team, to organize and give real structure for the team to grow and learn.
It was hard. Having all those tasks wasn't easy to begin with, but I had to solve quite a lot of unexpected issues along the way. Project problems, people problems, company problems, world problems (you know the one I'm talking about). But! I believe I did it. So here's a little bit of my work on that front.
*some images in this article were redacted for confidentiality reasons
Feedbacks, mentoring and IDP method
From the start of my position as a leader, I created a routine of talking to my team members in 1-1 meetings, always with the goal to listen and understand their concerns, needs and growth. As I gained more experience with this, I also practiced mentoring them. Guiding them to work on their potencial as professionals, bringing tools and resources so they could build up more experience, and sometimes just being someone they could talk to.
At the same time, I knew they also needed feedback from their teammates. So I built a 360 feedback system. Each quarter each area answered an online form to evaluate the people they worked with and themselves. With these feedbacks, we started having metrics, but never giving up on the open answers, of course. Since this method was anonymous, everyone contributed wholeheartedly with pointing out the best traits and what needed to be better for each member.
Later on, I studied and applied the IDP method (Individual Development Plan). With all the history and feedbacks, each person chose something they wanted to learn or get better at. They had to pick a technical and a behavioral goal. As they reached that target, we moved on to others. Of course, that development always counted a lot in their promotions.
Career path and responsibilities
I drafted a first version of what were the expectations for each professional level (beginner, intermediate and senior), considering behavioral attitudes and technical know-how. Then, I sat down with each team to reach a point of agreement for everyone. I honestly believe that to be a compromise between everyone, since it would affect them directly. The result helped them understand what they had to work on to get to the next level.
I always was very conscious of my technical limitations regarding areas that weren't my expertise (such as product design), and specially areas that weren't in my knowledge base at all (such as development). I learned a lot, and still am learning). But my focus was to take care of the team, so I brought a specialist to each team, to lead technically and be a reference to the ones that were still gaining experience.
With this structure, I had time to focus on the professional e personal development of each member of the operation.
To build and grow my team, I also had to find the right people. I tested various methods related to this process: from online forms to talent hunting. I came to learn how each way would work depending of the profile I wanted to hire. I already had much experience interviewing people. But I found out how different it was, when we were talking about a job application.
Most of all, the main knowledge I got and that I keep applying, is to make the person feel comfortable enough to show who they really are. During interviews, technical tests or presentations. Because that's who the person is going to be on day-to-day work.
Project problem solving
When we put a group of people together, a lot of great things can be done. But at the same time, having different ideas, backgrounds and world views can result in complicated problems. When we put that group (team) to provide something for an entirely different group (client), things can get even more tangled up. In the majority of cases, everything is solved with communication.
My role in this matter was to be a facilitator for conversations. Understanding all sides and getting everyone to reach a point of compromise. There were many times where I had a hard time doing that, and there were times I failed. But with each experience I got to figure out what was needed in each situation, since every project, client and team is distinct.