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A day in the life of a Product Team

How do Product Teams work at Humblebee? Take a peek into a day in the life of one of them...

Irina Balog

Irina Balog

At Humblebee we love to work together and collaborate, therefore we often go into projects as a team, a Product Team. However, for those of you who may be a bit unfamiliar with what a Product Team is, the players involved and what each team member does, you can have a little read below. I invite you on a journey to meet one of our teams consisting of a Product Designer, UX Designer, Developer and Product Manager as each member describes what a typical day looks like for them. Enjoy ;)

Pontus Brenner
Product Designer

I arrive at the office at 8.00. Enjoy an espresso and breakfast on the terrace while catching up on emails, Slack and news.

Standup usually starts at 9 where you sync up on what to work with during the day.

At Humblebee every Product Designer works in a holistic inclusive way and Figma is our main tool. We collaborate in almost every part of an assignment. No waterfall process at all.

So either I work closely with a UX or Service Designer. Or it could be together with a Front-end Developer. Or even with the client themselves.

For me, Product design at Humblebee is the process of creating digital products/services with a clear place in the market – ensured by verified user needs and a solid understanding of the market it will exist in. This is something I talk a lot with the client about. Ensuring that when we design, we do it with the user in mind and with the best practises available.

I’m a firm believer of not eating by the computer, so I usually go out for lunch with a couple of colleagues and we usually grab lunch to go and eat together on the terrace or dining area.

We do a lot of design review/iteration sessions together with the team and client. Almost exclusively all done in Figma. Or if we are more in the Research phase, we use Miro as our main tool. In this way we keep transparency at a max. So no big reveals and “ta-daaa moments”. This let’s us work at a high pace.

When it’s time to go home I actually never take my computer with me. I find it to remove stress knowing that I left all my work at the office. And should I come up with some idea or solution I write it down and set a reminder for the day after.

Olivia Chalandon
UX Designer

There is no such thing as a “typical” day of a UX designer. It really depends on the project and in which phase of the project we, the team, are in. Some periods will be more focused on understanding the scope, the users, the market etc. while others will be more time spent in Figma designing user flows and testing them out with users.

I always start my day off with a nice cup of coffee or tea. Thereafter I take a look at my task list in Trello, remove yesterday's tasks from the done list and update it with new tasks for the day. This helps me plan the entire day, and it's a really nice way of visualising my daily progress. There is no better feeling than moving tasks from “in progress” to “done”.

The project team usually has a daily stand-up. The stand-ups are usually short and all team members update each other on what they did yesterday, what they are planning on doing today and if they need help with anything that might be blocking them from continuing their work. Stand-ups are a great way of keeping everybody informed on the entire team's progress. I’m a bit of a control freak and like to know what everybody’s working on so that I know whom to go to for specific questions.

After standup I start my UX work for the project I’m in. For instance now my focus is creating wireframes and user flows for some new features in an app. I usually map out different ideas in Figma and like to discuss it as soon as possible with the rest of the team. We work very close with the devs and I always involve them early on in my design work to get their feedback and ideas.

There is always some kind of meeting during the day, internal, with the team or with the client. As a UX designer I’m part of many meetings with clients where we together discuss and define user needs and prioritise the work forward. I never really knew or thought that I would have that much client communication! My communication skills have been something I have been developing since I started working as a UX designer. A great part of each of my tasks as UX designer is presenting conclusions, ideas and solutions to the team and to the client. This helps to get everybody on board and leads to the best results!

In parallel with my UX tasks in projects I try to develop different skills and areas that I find interesting. I try to keep myself updated on the latest graphic and visual design trends. If there are new tools or features in tools I use that I think will benefit my work I try to check them out. However, it’s not always easy to squeeze this in on a daily basis as some periods are more intense than others. It really depends on the project and the phase I’m in, whether I have some more spare time or not.

At the end of my day I check my task list to make sure I have moved all tasks that I have made a start on or completed and thereafter close my computer for the day.

Florent Schildknecht
Developer

It starts with the first cup of coffee. Sleep late: wake-up late, coffee kicks me awake.

Time to wake up the computer, get ready, answer a Slack message or early mail.

Then a stand-up: first meeting of the day, which hopefully is a quick one. 99% not necessary, but you can check if your teammates are still alive, and yes, that they still work on {insert issue number here} and no, they haven’t had time yet to {insert weird client request here}.

Time for 2nd coffee: break out of the meeting and switch back to code. Create a small versioning branch, build stuff, break stuff, repair stuff, read doc, test stuff, if I’m lucky I can commit and push before lunch and get the feeling to have achieved something already!

But wait, what is this new HTML attribute on links I haven’t seen before? Gotta check that out: everyday I convince myself I know more and less altogether!

Darn, losing myself, back to it.

Time for lunch & disconnect a bit?

(Usually a good time except when I know I’m getting close to fixing that particular bug, but need just a few minutes more (!) and this is how you end up eating lunch at 14:30...)

Eat, talk, small ping-pong break, then another coffee: that one is not needed but it means getting back to it.

It’s common to have a sync meeting with the client, so we align and decide on a specific question: avoid wasting time on unclarity, hopefully won’t hear about the next big priority that we’ll need to severely break down.

Now let’s get going: more code, more bugs, a test is failing, a client sends a mail: they forgot to ask about a minor thing, or our automated deployment pipeline is failing: I need to distribute my focus on those and hope to get things back together before tomorrow.

15:00: time for a new break, small ping-pong game, leave the frustration behind and joke about it with the colleagues. It’s not like human life is under threat anyway!

Now quick internal checkup: few hours to go, what can I wrap up? Find one thing, focus on that. Mail will have to wait, we have a demo meeting coming, let’s get something ready.

Fix the pipeline, push the code, merge a small code conflict, test it live: if it works I’ll have a relaxed evening. If it doesn’t, I’ll have a relaxed evening tomorrow.

At least I did my best, if I don’t forget I will update the project status board and report my time, otherwise I’ll do it during the stand-up tomorrow.

Time to spend some energy in my football training: it helps me to disconnect and finish evacuating my internal backlog.

Hopefully I’ll get tired but I know I’ll sleep late anyway.

Irina Balog
Product Manager

Ok first things first: check email!

Although each day is bit different, they all start out the same way; I grab my coffee cup and sit at my desk, whether at home or in the office, and I have a look at all the new emails I have to get through; most of which pertaining to various updates and notifications in our team Trello board. That makes me happy, seeing things progressing, cards being moved, things getting done.

As a PM that is one of my main responsibilities, making sure that stuff gets done, that the team has what they need in order to get things done, and of course that the client is up to speed and happy with what has been done.

After checking the email and Trello board, it’s usually time for a stand-up. I really like the stand up meetings as they are an efficient way for the team to get up to speed with each other and allow for raising possible issues and concerns. It’s also nice to have a little chat with everyone in the morning and see how people are doing, not just pertaining to work but also how they are doing in general; after all being a team means that we care about each other and are there to support each other if someone is having a bad day!

After the stand-up I sometimes have some time over to go through the Trello board and check the e-mail again, but usually there’s at least one meeting to get through before lunch.

In general my calendar is quite full with meetings, both internal meetings with the team as well as external ones with the client and stakeholders. There’s planning meetings, Workshops, Meetings pertaining to specific features or functions, Weekly meetings, Retrospectives and so on and so forth. Thus, a typical day for me involves me talking to a lot of different people, listening, taking notes and structuring up the work to be done.

Time for lunch which means either going down the hill with some colleagues to collect  food in town, and bring it back up to eat together on the terrace at the office, or if I’m working from home it means heating up whatever leftovers I have, eating by the computer and getting some administrative tasks done at the same time.

I usually have loads of administrative tasks on my to-do list such as checking and approving timesheets, doing burn reports, summarizing and sending invoice documentation etc. Most of these are easy peasy for me to do as I’ve done them a million times, but some do take up a little bit more brain power and focus (such as burn reports and invoices) thus I also always double check before sending anything to clients for approval.

Throughout the day I communicate a lot with the team, we use slack and have various channels for all of our projects thus any and all important stuff usually gets communicated through there. If for instance the client is asking for some adjustments, or if anyone is stuck and has questions, we slack each other in the channel so everyone is up to speed and informed. Working in Product teams also means that I get to be more involved in the actual work which for me is more exciting than being a traditional Project manager; I get to work strategically together with the client and have brainstorming sessions with the team, my input is valued just as much as any other member and we all work very closely together and discuss everything that needs to be done as a team.

I love structure and planning, but I also love variation, that’s why I really enjoy being a PM, because I get to do a bit of everything and have a finger in every pie!

***

Now that you’ve gotten a little glimpse of what a Product team at Humblebee may be and how a typical day looks like for each team member, you may be wondering how on earth you can have the pleasure of working with us! No worries, we’ve got you covered; in fact we have created a bunch of different packages that hopefully suits your very needs, but if not you can always reach out to us directly and let us know what we could collaborate on together!

Cheers,
Irina

Written by

Irina Balog

Product Manager

irina.balog@humblebee.se

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