Leadership extends beyond managing. A good leader brings a team together; a great leader moves that team forward, into the best version of themselves and the team. I’ve had several roles where I’ve really been able to shape and lead a team to success but my proudest accomplishments as a leader have been with GoCanvas.
Designing design teams, a short case study
When I came to GoCanvas, I took over a team that had no direct manager. They had largely been operating as 5 individuals, at various times rolling up to dev manager, a VP of marketing and a product manager. There were no clear career paths nor professional development structures in place. Each individual functioned as a sole contributor within their own silo.
In the first 30-60 days, I put into place:
A fully fleshed out career matrix for each of the competency areas I was responsible for which included UX, visual design and research. This matrix included 5 levels, from junior to associate director and emphasized both soft and hard skills;
Regular, weekly and bi-weekly cadence of 1-1 meetings, depending on level;
Weekly UX team meetings to review organizational goals and priorities;
Weekly design critiques to encompass all competencies on the team, in order to open channels of constant communication and understanding between UX, design and research;
Bi-weekly design reviews with product managers and dev teams, in order to collaborate, reviews design direction and get early team buy-in;
Monthly company-wide share-outs via themed lunch-and-learn, happy hours and all-hands. These were unique opportunities to provide visibility into what we were doing as a team and how we were addressing internal and external feedback. Each month focused on a different area of the business and would include our research findings, marketing and brand updates, UX prototypes and any other project we were working on, in order to allow the entire company to have insight into the process(es) and the product(s). Later in 2019, we expanded into sharing out findings from our partnerships with sales which included win-loss surveys and interviews, churn analysis and strategic goals/roadmaps from our M&A efforts.
I had a goal of bringing up the eNPS as well as the overall OfficeVibe engagement score for my team. I also wanted to ensure the members felt safe and could trust their direct manager or lead, as well as their teammates. After 6 months, the numbers were better than I could have imagined: