Today’s Tech Role Model is Ruzanna Rosman. Ruzanna is a UX Product Designer with Alchemy, a P&G company. She’s a story-driven designer with a soft spot for emotional connections. Ruzanna moved to the US from Malaysia and studied graphic design at the Savannah College of Art and Design in Georgia before finding herself in Cincinnati, Ohio for her first big-girl design job. Since then and through different design roles, she’s learned what she loved (and hated!) about being a designer and made it her goal to work in a role where she can thrive.
What’s your official title and how long have you been in this role?
I am a Product Designer (UX), and I’ve been at Alchemy for 1.5 years.
What attracted you to this role?
I was also a Product Designer in my previous role, but my responsibilities were very graphic design-like (marketing and UI design). In looking for my next step, I sought out a role that would allow me to be more user-centered in my work to create something meaningful.
Walk me through a typical day in your role. What activities do you engage in? What types of meetings do you join? When’s lunch?
I get in the office around 8:30 and I start my day with non-work, either catching up on emails/messages or reading design articles. This sounds super serious, but it’s my most casual time of the day — most of the time, I’m really just looking for the right GIF to send. My team’s daily stand up starts at 9:15, so I get into work-mode then.
If I have meetings to attend, it’s either a design share, a stakeholder check-in or a chat with a fellow designer on internal initiatives. Otherwise, I’m going through research and updating our work log with UX design notes before jumping into wireframes. Lunch is 12-1, and there should never be a meeting at that time. I make sure to leave work around 5 and I don’t look at my phone past 7:30. (That last one is very hard though.)
What skills/technologies help you succeed?
What’s been most helpful for me is adopting a flexible outcome-driven mindset, which is probably easier said than done! This has helped me determine which skills and technologies to work on. When I was new to the UX field, I spent my time learning about and practicing design thinking, from frameworks to workshops. Now that I’ve been in my role for some time, my most useful skill is workshop facilitation and aligning everyone’s expectations of the work (and getting them excited for it!)
What’s the most fun or creative part of your product designer role?
My role gives me the privilege of freedom to try different methods of research and design thinking for my team. There are a lot out there and it can seem overwhelming, but this is where being outcome-driven helps — I find the right tools to use based on what I need. I love being able to try out new things and see where we can improve in our process.
What are the biggest challenges you face in this role?
Two years in the field is not a long time, and my previous experience in other fields typically doesn’t count. My biggest challenge always involves proving my worth in some capacity. There could be many factors contributing to this, including lack of tenure and biases, but I continue to learn and do my best to implement my learnings in ways that help my team, which is always my goal.
What teams/individuals do you work with cross-functionally? Can you give an example of a time when you collaborated with another group/individual?
In my team, I work very closely with my pair product designer (UI), front-end developer, back-end developer, and product manager. Our team works in two-week sprint cycles — the designers start research and wireframes, and then the developers start to build those once they’re ready. Finally, our product manager checks the build against the predetermined requirements. While this process seems pretty linear, the reality is rarely as such, so we are constantly communicating any obstacles and changes (and wins!) we encounter to keep everyone at the same pace.
What’s an area where you’re trying to grow in your product designer role?
I’m always learning to communicate better, and this is especially important to me now as I work my way towards becoming a senior designer. I’d love to lead an effort with a team from start to finish, and I know that keeping momentum will be crucial. How might I engage my team in a way that is sincere but focused? I have Radical Candor on my list of books to read for this!
Aside from technical skills, what personality traits/characteristics make for an ideal candidate in your role?
A strong sense of curiosity, and a desire to make things better. Our teams are fairly small so we have to be very driven! We don’t just see the opportunities for improvement, we also work hard to actively solve those problems.
What skills (tech/non-tech) have you improved as a result of working in this product designer role?
I learned a lot about how a product is built! Working so closely with developers has taught me the intricacies of building something holistic and subsequently taught me how to design for it. It’s also taught me how to break down parts of the design in the process so that the product can be built in tandem, in the true spirit of Agile.
In your role, what metrics define success?
This is a tough question because it also depends on the definition of success. My role has specific metrics that define the success of the business, but personally, I’d consider something successful if our product resonates with a user in a way that is meaningful and beneficial.