Archive for the ‘Work method’ category

My secret to remembering my achievements — write them down

7 May 2019, in Work method | Add a comment »

Since starting 5th Grade in Portugal in the 90s, I dread self-evaluations. To this day, every time, I feel I minimise (or just forget!) my achievements—and never guess what “bad stuff” I did (I’ve heard everything, from the classic “be less aggressive” to “eat lunch with your mates” and “learn to let go”).

Blogging and keeping to-do lists makes things a little bit easier, as I can go back and remember what I’ve done for the past 6–12 months by glancing at articles and notes. But it always feels rushed and like I’m missing the bigger picture.

So I’ve started writing down my achievements and advise anyone that feels similarly about performance reviews to do the same.

How I keep track of achievements

I keep a note on Simplenote with the title “Achievements”. Then once every few days, usually at the start/end of the week, I write down what I’ve done. I divide the list in quarters (Jan-Mar, Apr-Jun, etc.), so it’s easier to scan.

I don’t write down every little task, but things like small projects that I helped complete, that I did on my own, or that I championed.

I also write down achievements that I expect to complete within the next few months — things that will make me happy and good to do, and things that will have a positive impact on my team and my company. It’s good to have this regular reminder of what I think it’s important, as we can easily get distracted and lose focus on our day to day.

Since I’ve started doing this I’m surprised at how much I have achieved (not what I have “done” or “delivered”). I’m certain I would forget many items on my list if I had to think about it while looking at a blank performance evaluation form.

Try it, and tell me if it works for you too.

Designer interview tests: should designers write?

17 January 2018, in Design, Work method | Add a comment »

Knowing whether a candidate is right for a role isn’t straight forward. Jobs are different, teams work differently, and assessing someone’s ability to adapt to a different set of circumstances can feel like an impossible task.

I’m not particularly fond of design exercises. They can easily feel like spec work, especially when the recruiter’s expectations aren’t clearly set. Are you expected to work on an answer for 30 minutes, 2 hours, a week?

The subjectivity of the process in contrast with the typical engineering hiring process also bothers me. How do you tell a correct answer from an incorrect one?

With this in mind, other day I had this idea that, if good designers write, could a written exercise be part of a designer’s recruitment process? Because, truthfully, if you can’t write, can you design?

I must confess, I did no research whatsoever before writing this post, so the possibility that there are several companies doing this already is very real.

Nevertheless, the idea is worth exploring. A writing exercise could be the only exercise, or part of a series of steps (screening — take-home writing exercise — in-person whiteboard exercise — portfolio review — final chat?).

Would this cause issues to certain candidates? Could this be an exclusive process that puts some at a disadvantage? Would there be any accessibility issues?

I think this is an idea worth trying. I’d love to know if anyone has tried it before, and if it was successful.

Stand out from the crowd

11 February 2011, in Work method | 30 comments »

Lately I’ve been going through lots of CV’s, as Canonical, the company I work for, is hiring a multitude of visual designers, user experience architects, front-end developers, etc.


From print to web: avoiding common design mistakes

14 July 2009, in Design, Work method | 7 comments »

Moving from print to the web is not as easy as it may seem. I had to do it myself a few years back, so I can speak from my personal experience of the process and also from my experiences coding designs that have been created by print designers that were new to the web.


In Dreamweaver’s defense

9 July 2009, in Rants, Tools, Work method | 57 comments »

One of the things that causes me great frustration being a web designer is how my coding tool of choice is constantly looked down on. That tool is Dreamweaver. Tired of all the nasty comments that are constantly thrown at it, I’d like to explain, to those who don’t mind reading a quick rant, why I like it. Bear with me.