My Week showcases one of our expert’s work week – the highs and the challenges they are facing, and what the role actually consists of.
Today we dig into the world of Design with our UX Designer Matias Näveri. Matias has been at Zure for almost 2 years and worked tightly in developing Zure’s Design practice alongside many customer projects. Let’s have a closer look at what Matias does these days!
What customer work do you have?
I currently have two projects ongoing. The bigger project I’ve been working on for over a year now, and we have just deployed the first version in production in June. I have to say, this has been a super interesting project with so many different aspects to consider. We needed to replace an outdated global rock crushing equipment management system that was pure manual work for hundreds of users to upkeep with a more automated, smarter, and controlled system. We built the system on Azure & React technologies while utilizing the customer’s Design System. It is pretty exciting to see users get really excited and happy with a daily tool doing the heavy lifting for them and they can get much more accurate work done and time goes to other useful matters! Love it.
I started the project in the UX/UI Designer role with a Discovery phase, but became also the Team Lead for the entire project in January. I want to highlight that it is not a default role that a Designer takes at all, but for me, it felt natural, as I have worked tightly with this project since the very beginning and possessed the most knowledge of the whole development team (and I do enjoy the people and teamwork building part :P).
Discovery phase at Zure means that we workshop with important stakeholders of the customer such as business users, IT architects, and product owners, along with our own technical experts to get a common understanding of what magnitude of a project we are dealing with here. In multiple workshops, we together create use cases, identify user roles, create a journey of a product through availability to warranty, and more. Fuel the discussion with visualizations of the app when needed and create architectural diagrams and models. All good complex fun! 😀
The smaller project has been about modernizing an old Visual Basic work management app. I facilitated 3 workshops in a few weeks using Miro and Teams. We discussed the premise and business aspects, created site maps to map all features and actions, wrote use cases, and figured out the scale based on the demos and discussions with our customer. Naturally, I have two Zure architects in the team with whom we create together the plans, designs, and work estimates based on what’s technically smart to do and productive for the users themselves. Now we have just finished the proposal for the actual delivery of the renewed app and went through it with the customer. They were really happy with the knowledge and plans we were able to create in a short month!
What internal stuff do you have?
I would want to stress that I’m not maybe the best example of a typical Zurean, as I am involved in quite many internal shenanigans: Project Mentors, UX Guild lead, Zure Brekkie, recruitment… I genuinely just like to help people and improve things around me 🙂
Every Wednesday afternoon we have a Project Mentors session. We each have one or more projects we mentor at Zure; we have regular one-to-ones with Team Leads and members and try to see from a neutral perspective if the team needs the help of any kind. It could be very technical help or perhaps some team communication improvements. We don’t try to micromanage anything, simply give external eyes to different challenges and our individual expertise.
Another internal responsibility is leading our UX Guild for this year. The guild consists of our UX/UI Designers & Front End people, and for example last Thursday we discussed how to develop the ways we work together in improving our Front End Template (which is the basis of all our projects React Material UI front end) and how we tie our Design Figma/UI kit to it. As part of the UX Guild program, I also just held the last training of my five-session-long UX Beginner’s Course, which brings the basics of the area to all Zure employees. Showcased a lot of fundamentals that people can use as they see fit.
What has been most challenging lately?
Honestly, the most challenging stuff comes from internal development. The growth and balancing of comprehensive projects that involve great design, quality assurance, and top-notch software development. It needs a lot of attention to keep ourselves competitive. Of course, projects bring new challenges every week, but they are just an integral part of this job. After years in the industry, I’m happy I have learned quite healthy ways of handling them. Also, experience brings confidence, which helps too.
But what I feel is most difficult at the moment, is recruiting. Everyone is looking for great people as designers and as Zure is more known for its technical skills still, we have this extra mile to show to designer candidates that we also connect the users to the heart of software development. Nevertheless, I have high hopes of getting more Design colleagues this fall! We just took out learnings and renewed our Design recruitment process during our Design Day in June.
The best thing this week?
The best feeling from this week was definitely when a developer in one of my potential new projects commented that “Shouldn’t we first try to understand what we are trying to solve, before starting the work?”. This mindset is absolutely great and I’m glad I have such colleagues!
Our Design team has been working hard for a few years now to raise the internal design maturity and skills in the design aspects at Zure. The work is slowly paying off and I’m hopeful for the future. Colleagues are understanding the benefits of planning, researching, and experimenting with design work, and actually see UI and UX design as an integral part of all development projects.
Another high point was facilitating the Zure Finland retro called Brekkie last Friday. We have that every month: breakfast combined with a country-wide retro. I’m happy we have processes in place that enables everyone to raise topics that need improving in our work life and discuss them openly. Of course, it’s always a thing that requires constant cultural nurturing, but I’m happy that Zure encourages us to challenge the status quo and is willing to learn, from fails and wins both.
What does it take to be a UX Designer at Zure?
There are numerous ways to be a Designer, also at Zure. Your expertise can be in UI, Service Design, workshop facilitation, or accessibility – there is no one skill that we value the most. At the moment we are looking for people with at least a couple of years of experience in Design work with good communication skills – but the most important aspect is purely the eagerness to learn new and grow yourself as a designer, as we grow our team.
In case you could be interested in working with our Design team, check our open UX Designer position!