Building Product Teams

Building Product Teams

Lead and manage people and teams in order to grow their impact and scale their effectiveness as the company grows.

People

CompetenciesDesign Manager IDesign Manager II In addition to Design Manager ISenior Design Manager In addition to Design Manager IIDesign Director In addition to Senior Design Manager
1.1 Leadership
Start having impact through people by developing great relationships with designers helping and challenging them to succeed
Help designers grow their skills, expertise, knowledge, and understanding of how they can level up
Grow and deliver outstanding designers by guiding them through many levels of career progression
Uplevel the team by defining performance standards, strategy, and evolving the team to scale
1.2 People management
- Provide clear feedback and coaching to individual designers - Ensure designers have clear goals that support them in delivering impactful work - Help designers to understand our wider mission and vision
- Provide clear feedback, coaching, and career development guidance - Ensure designers perform well and have clear, ambitious, impactful goals for product work and career progression - Motivate designers to focus on delivering their best work and ambitious about raising the bar
- Provide clear feedback to designers, managers & directors - Ensure designers exceed ambitious goals (both in product and career), maintaining a steep upward trajectory of impact - Motivate designers to be curious and ambitious
- Provide clear feedback, coaching, and guidance across the Design function - Grow the team’s performance, set clear expectations and goals, ensure we reach them - Inspire and motivate the team to deliver the once-in-a-career opportunity we have
1.3 Team management
- Manage designers effectively by helping them achieve maximum impact with minimum effort - Help recruiting by referring and interviewing candidates - Onboard new designers to understand our philosophy, process, and values - Ensure designers are aligned with our beliefs and process to ship high quality work quickly
- Manage designers effectively by tactically routing work to the people best suited to succeed - Act as hiring manager for design roles, interview candidates at all levels - Onboard and mentor designers to understand our philosophy, process, and values - Ensure our process is followed and improved by identifying problems and solutions
- Structure teams so that we have the necessary balance of designers, considering business priorities - Act as hiring manager for design/design manager roles, interview candidates at all levels - Onboard designers, continuously improving our onboarding process - Define and iterate our process to continuously improve quality and speed as we scale
- Design the org structure/shape to meet the business needs - Create clear definitions of responsibilities at all levels - Recruit people at senior levels, influence R&D headcount planning with a hiring strategy - Ensure our process is delivering good work for customers and company, highlight ways it needs to evolve

Grow your team’s scope, influence, knowledge, and skills to have an impact on both design and product strategy.

Product

CompetenciesDesign Manager IDesign Manager II In addition to Design Manager ISenior Design Manager In addition to Design Manager IIDesign Director In addition to Senior Design Manager
2.1 Scope & influence
- Manage and develop designers on one team - Understand and embody how we design and build product - Have impact and influence the direct product team(s) where designers reporting to you work - Deliver design in support of team goals and roadmap items - Collaborate with other functions within your product team
- Manage and develop designers on many teams - Improve how we design and build product - Influence direct teams & some broader strategy decisions across the Design function - Deliver design across teams in support of company strategy - Build successful collaborations with other functions and teams
- Manage and develop designers across teams or an entire group - Evolve our design thinking, process, and culture, influencing teams, design strategy, and other functions - Drive design of cross-functional, company goal-level projects - Build successful collaboration across the business, supporting peers and managing up & down
- Scale the Design function, evolve our thinking/culture, driving new ways to engage - Influence company, business, and design strategy & decisions - Ensure all teams are set up to succeed - Work with leaders across to company to get functions aligned, motivated, & shipping
2.2 Strategic thinking
- Think and plan for next quarter - Understand and execute on established product direction - Understand where the team is at, any gaps, planned next steps, and clearly communicate these to designers
- Think and plan quarters ahead - Influence product direction and help designers to innovate - Understand and support our journey toward becoming a world-class design team
- Invent the future by driving strategic design decisions for products in alignment with company goals and roadmaps - Improve capabilities of the team by defining and driving top areas for development
- Think and plan years ahead - Map out the future through strategic design of our products - Further the role of design at the company level by improving how we collaborate with other teams, and evolve our team
2.3 Functional knowledge & skills
- Grow experience in design management - Meet the bar for delivery of design work within your team - Connect with the craft of design, especially high-quality, modern design - Give useful design feedback in a clear, respectful way
- Master the fundamentals of design management - Improve the standard of work shipped by your teams - Help teams ship high-quality, modern design - Give design feedback supported by clear rationale, not opinion
- Be admired for design management excellence - Improve our execution and discourse, help the team meet new standards - Help define and evolve what great work looks like - Give feedback that helps all teams better understand design
- Lead design at the company level to advance our craft - Further the place of design at the company level - Push the team in innovative and effective new directions - Provide managers with a framework for giving feedback to designers

How you represent yourself, your team, the design function, and the company as a whole and live our values in all your behaviours.

Behaviours

CompetenciesDesign Manager IDesign Manager II In addition to Design Manager ISenior Design Manager In addition to Design Manager IIDesign Director In addition to Senior Design Manager
3.1 Communicating
- Represent the business in blog posts, public speaking - Know, show, help designers understand the philosophy and guidance of leadership
- Represent the business in high-profile external channels and venues - Grow our reputation as having a top-tier design team - Reflect our philosophies, discuss them with teams, gather feedback, and continue growing our culture
- Establish Intercom as a world-class, future-facing, innovative, and highly respected design team - Evolve how we work and help everyone develop a shared understanding of key issues that affect our processes
- Represent design at the business - Set the bar for content, grow our public reputation, and define our image as a highly respected design org - Act as the connective tissue between design teams and leadership by clearly communicating and representing in both directions - Influence and share our internal/external positions on key issues
3.2 Living our values
- Live our values by consistently showing honesty, focus, optimism, positivity, passion, confidence, and support for others - Work hard, help each other, and have fun! 🎉
- Live our values by consistently showing honesty, focus, optimism, positivity, passion, confidence, and support for others - Work hard, help each other, and have fun! 🎉
- Live our values by consistently showing honesty, focus, optimism, positivity, passion, confidence, and support for others - Work hard, help each other, and have fun! 🎉
- Live our values by consistently showing honesty, focus, optimism, positivity, passion, confidence, and support for others - Work hard, help each other, and have fun! 🎉

Agile Team Framework

CompetenciesDesign Manager IDesign Manager II In addition to Design Manager ISenior Design Manager In addition to Design Manager IIDesign Director In addition to Senior Design Manager
2.1 Scope & influence
- Manage and develop designers on one team - Understand and embody how we design and build product - Have impact and influence the direct product team(s) where designers reporting to you work - Deliver design in support of team goals and roadmap items - Collaborate with other functions within your product team
- Manage and develop designers on many teams - Improve how we design and build product - Influence direct teams & some broader strategy decisions across the Design function - Deliver design across teams in support of company strategy - Build successful collaborations with other functions and teams
- Manage and develop designers across teams or an entire group - Evolve our design thinking, process, and culture, influencing teams, design strategy, and other functions - Drive design of cross-functional, company goal-level projects - Build successful collaboration across the business, supporting peers and managing up & down
- Scale the Design function, evolve our thinking/culture, driving new ways to engage - Influence company, business, and design strategy & decisions - Ensure all teams are set up to succeed - Work with leaders across to company to get functions aligned, motivated, & shipping
2.2 Strategic thinking
- Think and plan for next quarter - Understand and execute on established product direction - Understand where the team is at, any gaps, planned next steps, and clearly communicate these to designers
- Think and plan quarters ahead - Influence product direction and help designers to innovate - Understand and support our journey toward becoming a world-class design team
- Invent the future by driving strategic design decisions for products in alignment with company goals and roadmaps - Improve capabilities of the team by defining and driving top areas for development
- Think and plan years ahead - Map out the future through strategic design of our products - Further the role of design at the company level by improving how we collaborate with other teams, and evolve our team
2.3 Functional knowledge & skills
- Grow experience in design management - Meet the bar for delivery of design work within your team - Connect with the craft of design, especially high-quality, modern design - Give useful design feedback in a clear, respectful way
- Master the fundamentals of design management - Improve the standard of work shipped by your teams - Help teams ship high-quality, modern design - Give design feedback supported by clear rationale, not opinion
- Be admired for design management excellence - Improve our execution and discourse, help the team meet new standards - Help define and evolve what great work looks like - Give feedback that helps all teams better understand design
- Lead design at the company level to advance our craft - Further the place of design at the company level - Push the team in innovative and effective new directions - Provide managers with a framework for giving feedback to designers

Characteristic Framework

CompetenciesLevel 1Level 2Level 3Level 4Level 5
Theme
Develop their craft and professionalism
Deepen their craft, talk about their work
Transition from doer to leader, understanding the business context of their work
Establish the business context, develop strategy
Articulate a compelling vision; help run the company
Title
Junior Product Designer, Junior Communications Designer, Junior Content Strategist, Junior UX Researcher
Designer, Content Strategist, UX Researcher
Senior Designer, Sr Content Strategist, Sr UX Researcher, Design Manager
Lead Designer, Lead Content Strategist, Lead UX Researcher
Principal Designer, Design Director, Creative Director, VP of Design
Achievements
Right out of school, roughly 0-2 years experience, quality portfolio
Contributed to a couple of shipped projects, roughly 2-5 years experience
Contributed to multiple shipped products, roughly 5-10 years experience
Delivered successful work at the scope of ‘product areas,’ roughly 10-15 years experience
Lead teams in framing and solving hard problems; has driven innovative efforts that uncovered new value with new kinds of experiences
Scope
Solve specific function-level problems (e.g., add item to shopping cart)
Given specific product capabilities that need to be solved (e.g., Shopping Cart)
Lead the solution of a product area (e.g., “The Conversion Funnel”)
Leading the solution of undefined problem spaces (e.g. “How do people complete a transaction?”)
Entire user experiences (e.g., "What is the end-to-end shopper experience?”)
Process
Work within process established by team lead
Work within a process established by team lead
Develop the process/approach for tackling a problem
Develop the process/approach for tackling a problem
Establish a philosophy/mindset for how the team approaches its work (e.g., The Double Diamond)
People
Part of a team that they’ve been assigned to
Part of a team they’ve been assigned to
Leading a team that's been given to you; collaborating with cross-functional peers
Creating the team you need; defining the problem with cross-functional leads
Establishing the organisational structure, defining roles, opening headcount
Cross-functional Meetings
Attending the meeting
Contributing to the meeting
Driving the meeting
Driving the meeting
Stakeholder for whom the meeting exists
Core skills
Strong in 1, capable in 2 other
Strong in 2, capable in 2 others
Killer in 1, strong in 2, capable in 2 others
Killer in 1, strong in 2, capable in 2 others
Killer in 1, strong in 2, capable in 2 others
Soft Skills
Professionalism
Communication and presentation
Facilitation, Listening
Confidence and swagger
[No new ones, but ongoing refinement of existing ones]
Leadership Skills
(not applicable)
(not applicable)
Strategy, Empathy and Compassion
Planning, Mentorship
Vision

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