Swapna’s Working Manual

Hi,

I am Swapna, the Product Design Manager at Fyle. I am glad to see you here and looking forward to knowing you.

I have created this doc to introduce myself, how I think and how I work here so that you will get a better handle on me as we work together.

I firmly believe relationships are bi-directional and we should adapt to each other's working styles as we build things. Hence this doc is not intended to replace the mutual understanding that we will develop in the future.

My journey at Fyle

I joined Fyle in 2019 as an IC (Individual Contributor) in the design vertical and after a year, I took the responsibility of building Fyle’s Product Design Team and later on moved to the Design Manager role.

My Responsibilities

  • I am here to make sure our Fyle Product Design Team is successful and happy, enjoy autonomy, and work towards helping customers, products, and business.
  • I am here to make sure that our team is well-aligned with the company’s mission and has the business context as the product decision-making framework revolves around it, and so are our design decisions.

Overall, I contribute to these major levers.

  • People - Hiring, coaching & retaining high-performing individuals, (Like you 🙂) and helping with your career aspirations.
  • Purpose and Process - Clarity on what success looks like, Clarity on how we best work together.
  • Product - Contribution to the product roadmap discussions.

Working with me and What you can expect

  • My key responsibility is to make sure you are successful and happy and you are aligned with the team and the company’s mission. I will ensure that you are challenged enough as it is the only source of growth.
  • You operate with complete ownership. I will never tell you how or what to do in your job.
  • Over-communication plays a vital role in the remote world to keep everyone on the same page. I will do it frequently, and I expect you to loop me in any design discussion thread.

Decision Making

  • You are empowered to take decisions and not afraid of any undesired outcome.
  • I will ask you questions, may need to understand the reasons behind design decisions, and may try to persuade you to go in a certain direction during the conversation, but will never impose my decisions.

On Disagreements

  • Disagreements are a great way to learn different perspectives and build new ideas on top of it. Hence you should feel safe while debating your decisions. I expect you to debate based on data, insights, context, and hypotheses. We should resolve the conflicts in a respectful environment.
  • Irrespective of the disagreements, we will commit to the decisions that bring more value to customers, products, and businesses.
  • In case of an unintended outcome, I expect you to stay away from the mindset of I told you so… and display a solution-oriented mindset instead.
  • Once a decision is made, both of us should not go back to discuss the same thing again.
  • You share work progress periodically on public channels.
  • The updates give me a sense that the work is on track or not.
  • This helps us course-correct early on when needed.
  • You let me know when things slip through the cracks asap.
  • My top responsibility is to make you successful. I can help when you are transparent with me and let me know things early on so that we can investigate and look for different ways to solve the problems.
  • I expect you to do a self-reflection here to take the learning forward and make a promise to not commit the same mistakes, again.
  • It is okay to send gentle reminders to people multiple times to unblock yourself and you should do it proactively.

How do I view success?

When I deliver on my responsibilities, that is a success for me as a Manager.

At a granular level

  • You are transparent with me,
  • You enjoy your work and are challenged enough at the workplace.
  • You deliver amazing work. You are rewarded and recognized for the same.
  • You disagree with me and feel safe.
  • You tell me when I screw things up.
  • You refer your friends to work at Fyle.

Meetings

  • When you suggest a meeting, please ensure it does not clash with other meetings and you schedule it within office hours i.e 10 am to 6 pm.
  • When I suggest any meeting, I will block your calendar keeping your office work hours in mind, and share the agenda early on.

If you need something urgently

  • Please DM me in Slack. I will make myself available for you and try my best to help you.

Effective Communications

  • I communicate in Slack and I am relatively responsive here.
  • When I am the meeting host, I share the meeting notes on the respective Slack channel to keep everyone on the same page. I expect the same from you.
  • Repeated follow-ups frustrate me. I expect you to close all open-ended items on you as you are the owner of the items.
  • I expect an ACK text in the thread where you are tagged to understand you are aware of the recent development and will get back to it as per the priority of the tasks on your bucket list.
  • I prefer resolving conflicts in a respectful environment.
  • I am big on work-life balance and never ping people outside of office hours unless it is urgent. As we work together, I will get a sense of your office hours and adapt to yours.

Our 1:1s

  • This is your time and your agenda and it is the most important time of the week.
  • I use 1:1s to check in on how you are doing in general, blockers, and personal issues or discuss any feedback, your career aspirations, past 1:1s action items, skill development,  product direction, design, and vision.
  • When both of us have no agenda for the meeting, we can skip the meeting.

Your Career Development

No one hands you personal growth here, but it's there for the taking. It's being able to try hard things; that you might not succeed at every time. It's seeing the practices of the talented people around you; practices that you're free to steal. Or it's the advice that others will give to you; advice that you didn't always ask for but is usually a good idea to take - Steven Noble
  • I am not the best person to decide how you want to grow and in which area. It is your career. You should take the charge. You should set up your goals and plan for them. I can give you an outsider's view.
  • I am more like a helping hand who will provide resources and opportunities for the same at Fyle.
  • Together we will ensure, we are working toward fulfilling each other’s goals and advancing ourselves.

Bi-directional Feedback

  • I am always direct during feedback sessions and give a specific example to set the context.
  • Feedback happens in real-time, always. I inform you about the meeting and the agenda beforehand.
  • Sometimes I need to lead a difficult conversation that you would not like to hear. I expect you to take it sportively even if it is uncomfortable. I need to communicate the feedback as I care for you and your career.
  • Upon hearing the feedback, pointing the similar problems in other people — is something I don’t find in great taste and I act on it after seeing a pattern.

What I value

  • Health & Family over work: Health & Family are more important than work and without them, we will lose everything.
  • Customer Focus: Being customer-focused will help us build the finest products.
  • Empathy: Being empathetic towards customers and teammates will help us get to build the right solutions with a strong team.
  • Self Reflections: We will commit a lot of mistakes. It is important to learn and move forward.
  • Ownership and Solution-oriented mindset: I value this trait in the workplace where people are motivated enough to take up different initiatives on their own and display a solution-oriented mindset instead of complaining about a lot of things.

I am learning to be better at

Joining meetings on time

  • Sometimes I get late to the meeting by 5-7min because of the over-committed calendar.

Remembering the things

  • I am forgettable by nature and may end up asking you the same thing twice.

Not messing up your designs on the Figma file

  • During the design review, I have a tendency to edit the designs to showcase some ideas. This is a big red flag if I am doing so without your permission. I am trying to be very conscious here.

This is the End;

Not really. I am still learning about myself. This is a living doc.☘️

Please offer me your feedback on these 2 things

  • Anything important that I have missed here
  • If you find reading anything irrelevant

Thank you!

Swapna Nayak

Swapna is a developer-turned-designer who is characterized by the sound of roaring laughter. She often dreams about beaches and Mars.

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