Product Thinking
Investing in Internal Tools with John Athayde
October 26, 2022
Melissa Perri welcomes John Athayde to this episode of the Product Thinking Podcast. John is a design team leader, strategist, and individual contributor, as well as VP of Design at PowerFleet. John and Melissa discuss how he shifted focus to the importance of internal tools at Living Social, how he got buy-in from leadership to prioritize internal tools, the process of creating a design system for a scaling organization, the benefits of design systems, design systems vs. style guides, and the tools and org structure he recommends to get set up for success.  Here are some key points you’ll hear Melissa and John talk about: What led John to PowerFleet. John shares how he started pushing for improved internal controls. “As I was working on the front-end screens, [I realized] we could make this a little better.” He convinced some product people and engineers, and they collaborated to do a bunch of mockups. They presented them to the CTO, who gave them his blessing. Designers should know how to code, or at least know how code happens, according to John. “You can’t design a building without knowing how a building is built.” You can use product thinking to design your internal tools. It’s less of just a design issue and more of an issue of creating a product, which is a complex internal operating system. This is necessary to actually scale. A UX engineer is a front-end developer who is primarily focused on the look and feel as opposed to functionality. They are the bridge between functionality and design. It's a person with the design sensibility who can speak code and help implement, but they're not doing the implementation. Now that almost everyone has some kind of experience with software, UX and UI have become more essential. Consumers are going to subconsciously compare their experience with your user interface with others. Every company needs a source of truth for their operations, that is, documentation for all the relevant information needed to continue operations. In the event of key people leaving, the work they did would still be there for the next person to take over. We often take for granted how important the role of a UX designer is in a high-growth organization. Resources John Athayde on LinkedIn | Twitter | Website
Melissa Perri welcomes John Athayde to this episode of the Product Thinking Podcast. John is a design team leader, strategist, and individual contributor, as well as VP of Design at PowerFleet. John and Melissa discuss how he shifted focus to the importance of internal tools at Living Social, how he got buy-in from leadership to prioritize internal tools, the process of creating a design system for a scaling organization, the benefits of design systems, design systems vs. style guides, and the tools and org structure he recommends to get set up for success.  Here are some key points you’ll hear Melissa and John talk about: What led John to PowerFleet. John shares how he started pushing for improved internal controls. “As I was working on the front-end screens, [I realized] we could make this a little better.” He convinced some product people and engineers, and they collaborated to do a bunch of mockups. They presented them to the CTO, who gave them his blessing. Designers should know how to code, or at least know how code happens, according to John. “You can’t design a building without knowing how a building is built.” You can use product thinking to design your internal tools. It’s less of just a design issue and more of an issue of creating a product, which is a complex internal operating system. This is necessary to actually scale. A UX engineer is a front-end developer who is primarily focused on the look and feel as opposed to functionality. They are the bridge between functionality and design. It's a person with the design sensibility who can speak code and help implement, but they're not doing the implementation. Now that almost everyone has some kind of experience with software, UX and UI have become more essential. Consumers are going to subconsciously compare their experience with your user interface with others. Every company needs a source of truth for their operations, that is, documentation for all the relevant information needed to continue operations. In the event of key people leaving, the work they did would still be there for the next person to take over. We often take for granted how important the role of a UX designer is in a high-growth organization. Resources John Athayde on LinkedIn | Twitter | Website

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