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What I’m good at

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This is my view of my own strengths. You can hear about what other people think here.

Design

I am, at heart, a designer and I bring a design mindset to everything I do, including management, leadership and relationship building. There’s very little I can’t apply the double diamond or design thinking methodology to. I will always seek to empathise, start from first principles, avoid assumptions, prototype and test and seek feedback.

I am a visual thinker and find diagrams, wireframes, drawings and post-it notes help simply complex concepts and draw out insights. I use facilitation and workshops to navigate conversations and bring people into alignment (or seek out areas of divergence).

I am much more a first-diamond designer than a second, specifically because my strengths are concentrated around discovery and concepting, with refinement into the high fidelity UI layer less and less my jam over time. There are many amazing Figma geniuses who I think do a better job than me.

Product

When I use the word product here I am using it to means products (as opposed to agencies) and product management as a specific discipline, as well as product thinking more broadly.

I have spent almost all of my career working on products. The product mindset is one that I find compelling because it promotes a custodianship view and allows for long-term thinking, which in turn allows teams to make smarter, more sustainable decisions.

Projects are great and I think any good product organisation has a great project delivery machine that drives it forward, but the holistic product thinking model is still critical.

Part of why I have found myself as a person in product leadership roles is that I ask a lot of questions, but also because I find strategy compelling. I’m also a very effective facilitator and translator, allowing me to empathise with the diverse groups (from executives to developers and everyone in between) who collaborate in product teams.

In the past perhaps I was drawn to where the decisions are being made — now I care less for this but find that product still sits in the nexus of the areas I have worked in, namely design, research, development and business. With my diverse background, product (management) feels like a good way to use my skills.

Research

In many regards I find research a little difficult to disentangle from design and product above, but as a discipline it is something I am passionate about. If I had to choose between design, product and research I would say research is the area I think I find most engaging.

In particular,

Technology

I have worked across development (PHP, React, Clojure, Ruby, Typescript, Xamarin, AWS, etc), design, research, product and leadership — all in the technology space. I am a technologist at heart, although I would say my approach is not to fetishise tech for tech’s sake, but to figure out how to leverage its power to improve the world.

Leadership

Coaching

Communication

My background, prior to tech, was in writing and editing, and my academic background is in English literature and art history. Before I got my first full time job I wrote fiction, for which I have been awarded various prizes and published in various publications. As a technologist, I have found speaking and teaching to be effective communication modes and have built a deep practice around facilitation and workshop design. Most importantly, I believe in using plain language and explaining things effectively in order to build healthy cross-functional collaborative relationships.

Synthesis

Getting shit done