By Ruta Gokhale, January 31, 2019
It's been a month since I started working as a High-Tech Anthropologist® (HTA) at Menlo Innovations, and I continue to learn new things every single day. I love what I do, really!
The work gives me satisfaction, the process boosts my efficiency, and the people bring me joy.
Even as the newest HTA on the team, my opinion has always been valued. Be it writing emails to clients, having important discussions with developers or making crucial design decisions, my input is taken into consideration. On my very first day, I shipped design and in the first month, I have presented our work to a client. In short,
From day one, I have felt empowered to make impactful decisions at Menlo.
Here are some things about Menlo, which I genuinely appreciate:
- Everyone at Menlo works in pairs. The ability to work with a partner, bounce ideas off of each other and contribute to a collective goal, truly make for an enjoyable experience. The motto is “make your partner look good.”
- Designing with a partner is fun. The quick feedback and additional suggestions lead to better, confident decisions. This back and forth of ideas and thought process produces high quality work.
- The developers, HTAs, and PM on a project work very closely together. We sit next to each other, literally! This allows the team to communicate effectively and have a shared understanding of things as they come up.
- When it comes to resolving issues or getting clarification for a project, we do it the old fashioned way! No slack channels or well-drafted emails, we rely on verbal communication. I’ve realized instantaneous, in-person communication is the best way to help each other in a fast, efficient and unambiguous manner.
- We have a daily 15-minute stand-up meeting in the morning, where each pair updates the rest of the Menlonians about their work for the day. It also becomes the perfect opportunity to share project-specific updates, significant company milestones or any personal tidbits with everyone in the office.
- We ask for feedback from each other. It helps us to improve faster and do our jobs better. This culture of sharing feedback is instrumental in accelerating professional growth.
Transitions are never simple, and it takes some time to figure out things. These are a couple things that have helped me (and they can help you too!):
Ask for help
I am new and hence unaware of a lot of things, be it the design process, client details, names of colleagues or simply using the coffee pot. Admitting that you don’t know something is always a good place to start. You begin by asking questions and finding the right resources. At Menlo, I am encouraged to ask questions about anything and everything. I’ve noticed people are willing to help you, however, you must take the initiative to ask for it. Ultimately, getting the right information equips you to do your job better.
Collaborative decision making
I had never worked as cohesively, as we do at Menlo. And now I cannot imagine any other way! This style of collaboration has taught me to think out loud and consider a different point of view. It is very important to give someone the opportunity to speak and to listen to what they have to say. Sharing ownership of a decision can be rewarding in terms of the accuracy of work as well as a sense of accomplishment. I try to bear that in mind with every aspect of the process.
I look forward to my time at Menlo - learning and growing into a better professional, designer and consultant.