Teams of all sizes struggle with their processes at some point in their lifetime. If you’re a startup, one of the your advantages is how quickly you can move in a space where the big boys take a while. But what happens when your team is in transition mode and needs to keep scaling up as quickly as it did in the beginning? And how do you this in a design capacity?
Ivan Tolmachev is a senior product designer and strategist at Onfleet, a San Francisco-based logistics company that provides businesses with a fleet management tool for local deliveries. For over eight years, he has played a critical role in various early stage technology companies and startups, helping them grow mature products. Tolmachev’s product design — and fostering a corporate culture culture that cared about great design — helped Onfleet dominate their industry.
“Focusing on product design early makes sure the company has a strong competitive advantage in the long term,” says Tolmachev, who has been leading Onfleet’s product design for two years. “One thing I’ve noticed recently is how product design roles have finally become recognized as critical positions in the success of a company. I see people hiring entrepreneurial product designers and think to myself, ‘Hey, that’s a nice name for what I’ve been doing all these years!’”
Scaling Up Efficiently
Establishing a strong product development process is something you must do early on, if you want to be able to scale your product team efficiently. “It was easier to work together in the beginning when we were tiny. Today we try to discuss and adjust our product road map every quarter. There’s a monthly product meeting where priorities are outlined and weekly sprint meetings where product owners prioritize short-term work. Daily planning is then up to the individual,” Tolmachev says.
In today’s landscape, early stage companies have to move fast to make the most out of the resources they have. Engineering hours are scarce and prioritizing work is challenging. Communication at this point becomes critical for team’s efficiency, Tolmachev explains.
“I Done This is simply irreplaceable for companies with remote employees. It keeps everyone in the loop, focused on tasks at hand, no matter what time zone they’re in” Tolmachev says. “But I was wrong in thinking that the productivity and accountability issues are magically solved once everyone is under the same roof. You have your early shifters, late shifters and everyone in between. Keeping track of their progress and prioritizing work is essential to maximizing efficiency — and this is where I Done This shines, no matter if you’re in the same room or on different continents.”
Introducing I Done This
Introducing I Done This to Onfleet’s process helped the team collaborate more efficiently. The team also uses the tool to help them plan better.
“We’ve eliminated unnecessary meetings, we keep track of our achievements and we keep track of our overall productivity,” Tolmachev says. “Something as simple as just being reminded of the bigger picture can do wonders. The discussions in the office change, people know what everyone else is currently working on and offer their help, it’s remarkable.”
Ivan’s role, he says, is a crossroads between sales, marketing, engineering and the users. Everyone have their own goals and priorities and I Done This helps him keep track of everything in one place. “Whether it’s to see if I’m blocking anyone, or if there’s an opportunity to pair with marketing to work on a new campaign, or when simply trying to figure out what I’m supposed to be working on next – I Done This is such a time-saver.”
Great product design is always a combination of things. Stunning visual design meets thorough user research, strong implementation and a good design process. “We hear it from our clients every time – the product is beautiful, beautifully built, easy to use simplifies our operations immensely,” says Tolmachev. “I can only say the same about I Done This!”
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