Hi. I'm Sónia
I'm looking forward to getting to know you, and this document is not intended to replace or override the relationship and mutual understanding we will build as we work together.
What is this?
This is a bit weird, I know.
This is meant to help you understand me better and set expectations about what you can depend on from me as your coworker. I ask you to hold me accountable to my promises, and to call out anything that might be missing from this document. Without your guidance, I will not be able to improve as a manager.
Who am I?
I got my first job at the age of 20 in an agency as a design team of one, being responsible for branding, graphic design and web design with a pretty shitty paycheck. Since that time or in the last 14 years I’ve been a self-taught designer focusing on the fields of user experience, user interface, and product design. I have been lucky enough to spend the latest years passionately designing with awesome people at awesome companies like Devscope, Betfair, Blip, Tigerspike, and Net-A-Porter.
In the last couple of years, I have been developing another passion for working processes and design teams. As soon as I had an opportunity to develop and contribute to making a design team more efficient and happier I grabbed it and made it happen. That was a key moment in my career because I discovered that more than my passion for UX, I am much more passionate about creating the environment for other designers to be the best they can be!
As a Product Design Manager, I am here at Prozis primarily to do five things:
- Building the team - Attract and retain world-class talent (that's you)
- Managing the team - Make sure that you and our team is successful, happy, and working on the things that are most important to help our customers and improve our product and our business.
- Operationalize design - Put a process in place, tools and workflows that allow the team to be more productive.
- Forging alliances - Gather allies and build relationships with engineering, product, support and more.
- Shaping design vision - Provide context on your work and make sure everyone is aligned and pointed in the same direction.
If I fall short at any of these, you would be doing me a huge favor by letting me know as soon as possible.
My team comes first, the company comes second. Obviously I have a responsibility to the company, but without a well operating, well staffed, and well functioning team, I am unable to live up to those responsibilities. Your success is ultimately my success - so I will go out of my way to try and make you successful.
Therefore I assume that:
- You’re very good at your job
- It's not my job to do your job
- You’ll let me know if you can’t do your job
- You feel safe debating with me
- All models are wrong but some are useful. There is no prescribed way of doing things, we take what makes sense in our context, try it out and keep it or discard it.
If I describe my ideal for our team and each person on it, it is that we:
- Take control of, and responsibility for, our own destiny
- Have each other’s back
- Hold each other accountable
- Expect excellence in ourselves and each other
- Always question, always ask “WHY?”
- Constantly learn from both our failures and successes
- Laugh and celebrate together
I am a deep believer of extreme ownership, that is why I dedicated a section just for it.
The principle of ownership is simple. When you don’t like something, you can decide it’s important enough to change, or you can try to ignore it. There is no other option.
Basically, You. Own. Your. Work. Whatever it is, from the moment you are take a task, through discovery, problems, analysis, ideation, prototypes, iterations, testing, deliverables, QA approvals and all the way back to a reopen, you are responsible.
Personal and career development. You are responsible for it. Your career is yours. You know best how you’d like to grow and in what areas. I can provide feedback and an outside perspective. I’ll do my best to provide growth and learning opportunities, it’ll be up to you to seize them. Let’s work together on this. At the end of the day, it is your career. You set your goals. You set your priorities. Let me know how I can help you achieve them.
I know what you’re thinking, what if I fail? I most definitely have the expectation of both failure AND ownership of the follow-up. In turn you should expect me to have your back 100% of the time. We will all win together just as we will all lose together.
Very few things are more important than talking to you if you want to talk to me. Feel entirely free to try to catch me ad-hoc via Slack or in person, or put time on my calendar to talk whenever you want.
You may not find a slot on my calendar in any given day. If you want to talk, let's talk. Catch me or let me know via Slack and I'll make up the time
One on Ones
1-1s are very important to me because they are dedicated space for you to talk about anything and everything you want They are meetings primarily for you, and only secondarily for me.
Whether it's your career development, team strategy and opportunity, etc. Feel free to come with a topic you’d like to discuss. I’d love it if you spent a few minutes beforehand preparing and let me know what I also need to prepare, so that we can get the most of our time.
And please, don’t save urgent matters for a 1-1!
Feedback is another thing I consider crucial to the sucess of teams and individuals. I will constantly ask you for feedback, and expect you to do the same with your peers and me. Please make sure that all feedback is:
- Given with the intent of helping the other person grow.
- Aimed at behavior, not the person. “You are dumb” is not feedback, it is an attack on the person.
- Actionable and explicit as to what improved behavior looks like.
- Given as quickly as possible. Timely feedback provides a tighter loop to reorient behavior.
This document is new and still a wip. I’d love your feedback.
- Did you find the time you spent reading this valuable?
- Was something critical missing?
- Was there any content that you didn’t find useful
If you see me not living up to anything included please let me know. It’s possible that I’ve changed my mind (