Sep 24, 2020

How can I get a bigger project?

Hi Budi, I’ve been following your blog… I am a product designer in a fairly small company. My manager always assign me to a small project that I’m not excited about. I’m quite concern with my career, for instance how can I get promotion and develop my portfolio if the project is way too small. Do you have tips for someone in this situation?

That’s a snippet from a reader – I’ll call her Nia – where she asked how to get a more significant project in their career. She felt her manager is not giving her a significant project.

I thought this is a fascinating question because I remember I had this question back then. When I read the question, I understand that she feels that she gets an insignificant project and worries about her impact and her career progress.

That’s a valid concern. But let’s explore several confronting questions.

First, you have to believe no one have an ill-intention. No one in the right mind will want to slow down your career progression. I hope this statement ease you for the next questions.

Have you demonstrate that you’re ready for a bigger project? Your manager might give you a specific-detailed project. That is actually good if you just started in the team. The design manager might want to see how you can handle that detailed project first before giving you a more complex problem. In this case, try to fall in love with the problem and dig deeper. Imagine you get a task to design an entry point, well, that itself is not interesting. But, you need to dig deeper to understand why this entry point is needed? Maybe most customers are not aware of that helpful feature which can save tons of their time.

Do you have confidence to work on more complex problem? Don’t feel small when your project is not as cool as your colleagues. I’ve seen a design manager who gives his designer responsibility too quickly and their project to fail badly. In this case, the design manager didn’t set his designer for success. See the small project as your starting point. Grab that quick win and slowly progressing to more complex problem.

Have you talked to your manager about this? I can give a few suggestions, but more importantly, you should have a heart-to-heart conversation with your manager. Before that, though, build enough rapport with your manager. Don’t rush because this is all about trust. For example, I lead several product designers. I know who I can trust because they have demonstrated that capability to drive the project and who I need to give a smaller project to boost her confidence through small wins.

So, fall in love with the problem, dig deeper, demonstrate your skill, and build trust with your manager. Remember, don’t try to be an instant noodle! It requires time to get better.

I hope this helps. Cheers!

A handshake in thought.

2020

2019

2018

2020

Sep 30

When was the last time you reflect?

Sep 29

Methods are tools

Sep 24

How can I get a bigger project?

Sep 23

Entering product design – Chapter 7: Craft and analysis

Sep 22

Entering product design – Chapter 6: Narrow collaborator

Sep 21

Entering product design – Chapter 5: Soloist product designers

Sep 17

Entering product design – Chapter 4: Product designer key skill areas

Sep 14

Entering product design – Chapter 3: Misunderstanding of business

Sep 11

Entering product design – Chapter 2: Principles over steps

Sep 10

Entering product design – Chapter 1: Silver bullet

Sep 10

Entering product design – Overview

Sep 04

SAR: A framework for concise storytelling

Aug 27

Start your design with outcome

Aug 24

New medium post: Collaboration ground for design systems

Aug 17

Action points

Aug 13

Pulse check: Listen to your team

Aug 11

You should actively apply for a new job

Aug 10

Design systems' area of influence: Service (3/3)

Aug 04

Design systems' area of influence: Offering (2/3)

Aug 03

Design systems' area of influence: Identity (1/3)

Aug 01

My mom ran me to the hospital

Jul 29

Reader question: Do we need to build MVP for every product?

Jul 27

Reader question: Do I need formal design education?

Jul 24

Recognize assumptions

Jul 21

Sandbox for your personal growth

Jul 20

Start your week with questions

Jul 17

Specificity in feedback

Jul 15

Don't sell the design. Sell the business impact

Jul 14

Overwhelming inspiration

Jul 13

The framing trap

Jul 10

Everyone vs. Specific

Jul 09

The blind horse designer

Jul 08

Set the context in your meeting

Jul 07

Let's just try and see what happens

Jul 06

Managing expectation

Jul 05

Low UX maturity company

Jun 17

A simple exercise for career reflection

May 31

The “Coach sheet” – A paper-based system for people management

May 26

Bring calm to your remote team

Feb 13

Workshops can be more efficient than meetings

Feb 07

3 questions designers should be asking

Feb 06

Walking 1on1: A refreshing way to connect

2019

Nov 21

My hope for stubborn 'Innovators'

Jul 18

Five simple actions to help you gain more time

Apr 23

Evolving Product Experience Principles at Bukalapak

Mar 09

A framework to give better design feedback: Analyze, Discuss, Suggest

Jan 28

Making a decision is hard, here's my rule of thumb

2018

Dec 04

Essential skills for Product Designers

Nov 16

Quick life update

Nov 06

Things I learned from working at Shopify

Oct 15

About design critique

Sep 17

Common icon design problems you should avoid

Sep 06

Preface: Welcome to yellowstroke.com