Design team

How to Hire UX Designers: What Works and What Doesn’t (A Designer’s Perspective)


mins to read

One day each product company comes to a point where they need to hire a designer. But then comes a question: how to hire a UX designer? The user experience has become a priority for a wider range of companies, so the demand for UX designers is rising. And apart from the competition being much more fierce, the expectations of the professionals are not the same as they were 5 years ago.

As a product design agency, we have been observing these changes closely. We are always on the lookout for new UX talent. For this article, we've talked with our lead designers who participate in the hiring process and asked them to share some green and red flags to look out for when you're interviewing potential candidates.

How do you know when your team needs a UX designer?

Remember the question we asked in the intro. Let us rephrase it a bit. The first question to ask yourself before moving any further is: should you hire a UX designer or someone else? 

Here's a thing: there are so many design-related jobs that it is easy for employers to confuse one for another. To make sure we’re on the same page, UX designers work with the product to make it easy and enjoyable to use. They work closely with the rest of the product team at all the stages of product design: from research to developing user flows, building structure, wireframes, prototypes, and testing them. You can read our other article to learn more about what UX designers actually do.

A UI designer works with the visual side of the interface. If you want someone to change illustrations, typography, and animations on your website or user interface to make it trendier, you might be looking for a UI designer. And when you're for a so-called "universal soldier" who can help you with both UI and UX, look for a UI/UX designer.

Product designers follow the product at all stages of design and development. They typically have more responsibilities. Product designers follow the product at every stage and their work does not stop at the launch.

Interaction designers are close to UX designers, but have narrower responsibilities: they focus only on the moments of interaction between the user and the product.

Now that you are sure that you need to hire a user experience designer, let's move to the list of skills one should have.

What skills to look for?

Here is an essential but not exhaustive list of both hard and soft skills needed for UX designer:

  • Familiarity with UX design tools such as user flows, user journey maps, wireframes, and so on;
  • Mastery of software: graphic editors (Figma, Sketch, Adobe products), prototyping tools (Invision, Framer), animation software (optionally);
  • Knowledge of UX research methods and tools, such as usability testing and Google Analytics;
  • Understanding of design thinking methodology;
  • Knowledge of basic principles of psychology and their application in UX design;
  • Understanding the importance of design metrics.

So as we’ve discussed what skills are needed for a UX designer, let’s move on where to look for designers.

How to find UX designers?

If it's your first time looking for a designer, you might not know where to start at all. Fortunately, we have a couple of tips for that.  

Platforms with references

Eleken's profile on Clutch

In a perfect world, when you start looking for an answer on how to hire a UI/UX designer, a friend or a colleague will immediately recommend you one. That is how it works with many other specialists at least, like hairdressers, dentists, and so on. But if you don’t happen to know the right person, consider visiting reference platforms. For example, some of our favorite clients came from Clutch, a B2B reference website. If you are looking for freelance UX designers with reviews, check platforms like Upwork, Fiverr, 99designs.


Although LinkedIn does not work for all professions, with UX designers you can give it a try. To get an idea of what a perfect candidate would look like, find accounts of experienced designers who work for companies that are a point of reference for you. On LinkedIn, you can see work paths and references, while most designer profiles would have a link to portfolios.


Behance is the ultimate designer pool. This website focuses on the most important thing, the designer's portfolio, and there are tons of great design cases. 

The format of Behance cases encourages people to share all the working process, behind-the-scenes, when designers showcase their works and explain their choices, and how they influenced the final result, and so on. Be sure to read this part carefully. The things that you should be paying attention to are: how the user research was done, how the user flow was improved, and how much design relates to the business goals.


While Behance is a place for all kinds of designers, photographers, and creative professionals, Dribbble is a platform mostly for UI/UX and web designers. Compared to other design platforms, it has a higher number of UX designers, but the downside is that the images there only give information about the visual aspects, leaving aside all the essential information about the project.

Also, if you lack time for a long-lasting hiring campaign, a good practice can be to post a message on your company’s social media asking for recommendations and see what happens. That way, you are likely to get candidates who are already interested in joining your project.

Okay, we seem to be done with a theoretical part on how to find a good UX designer, so let's dive into more practical stuff and talk numbers for a bit.. 

How much does it cost to hire a UX designer?

A middle-level UX designer in the US will cost you around $115K per year. But both an hourly rate and salary expectations will vary depending on many factors, such as experience level, location, a form of collaboration, and so on. If you want to get a full picture – as well as some tips on how to get a designer without breaking the bank – our dedicated article is waiting for you.

And now, we’re finally ready to discuss all the nitty-gritty details of the hiring process and how you can evaluate the UX designer's skills, so let’s do it. 

Hiring a UX designer: a step-by-step guide with do's and don'ts

So, let's say, a couple of Behance portfolios or Upwork profiles caught your eye. How do you determine who will be the best fit for your company? 

Evaluate the UX designer’s portfolio

A portfolio will be the first and arguably the most important thing to take into account while looking for a designer. 

A strong portfolio showcases the experienced UX designers' skills and experience, as well as their approach to problem-solving. Look for a variety of projects that demonstrate the designer's ability to work on different types of products and with different industries. Pay attention to the usability, functionality, and visual design of the projects in the portfolio.


  1. Pay attention to the structure and presentation

Design is all about structure and visuals. If a designer sends you a couple of screenshots thrown together on Google Disk instead of sharing their portfolio, they are unlikely to be a good fit for you.

A hosting platform can make a difference as well. For a UX designer, Behance or Dribble are the go-to platforms. However, hosting one's portfolio at Notion might be a good idea as well, because, just like Behance, it allows one to demonstrate their thinking process and not only the end visuals.

  1. Be very attentive to details 

Sometimes, at first glance, a project might look good, but after taking a closer look, it turns out that there are plenty of flaws. Here’s what Dasha, Eleken's designer who participates in the hiring process for the new designers, says: 

"Every great UX designer must be a bit of a neurotic. They should make sure everything's perfect. Each line and image should be aligned according to the grid, every letter should be just the right size." 

Perfectionism, attention to detail and diligence are especially vital for UX designers who must produce a crispy pixel-perfect result. 

  1. Pay attention to the designer’s thinking process and problem-solving skills 

Maksym, Eleken's head designer, says: 

"There are many designers who do cases just for the visual appeal. They see a nice reference and copy it. What you should be paying attention to is whether the designer knows why they are doing what they are doing; what problem are they solving with their design. The designer should understand how the UI supports UX."

Dasha adds to that:

"Mind the storytelling. A good designer should be able to show how they arrived at their results, and what stages they went through. Designers should be able to demonstrate the competitors' analysis, the informational architecture, wireframes, their design thinking in general, and what problems they solved with their design."

  1. Ask yourself whether the candidate knows the technical limitations of UI/UX design 

Are their cases realistic? If you're hiring someone for a junior position, that's obviously something that can be taught. For a more senior position, however, a good UX designer should have a solid grasp on whether their design will work at all. 


Prioritize aesthetic appeal over functionality 

For a UX designer, problem-solving, logical and analytical thinking are more important than trendy visuals. According to Maksym, doing "design for the sake of design" without understanding the why's is one of the most common mistakes. 

"I can teach a designer how to work with visuals, but if they lack systematic knowledge and analytical thinking, I cannot teach that."

Once you've reviewed a candidate's portfolio and are interested in moving forward, the next step is to conduct an interview. 

Conduct the intervie

In some way, the UX designer interview process looks pretty similar to interviewing any other professional. During the interview, you want to get a sense of the candidate's communication skills, their approach to problem-solving, and their ability to work in a team. 


  1. Pay attention to soft skills.

According to Krystyna, Eleken's talent acquisition specialist, during the interview, her task is to check a prospective candidate's soft skills, which will vary according to their seniority level. For a junior designer, these skills are:

  • Accountability
  • Attention to detail
  • Communication
  • Proactive attitude to work (ownership)

To define whether the candidate has such skills, consider using a STAR model:

  • Situation: Describe the situation and when it took place.
  • Task: Explain the task and what was the goal.
  • Action: Provide details about the action you took to attain this.
  • Result: Conclude with the result of your action.

For example:

To check accountability, you might ask:

  • S: Can you tell us about a situation when you missed a deadline?
  • T: What task was that?
  • A: What was your role? Have you worked alone or in a team?
  • R: How do you assess the results? What would you do differently?

Another example is:

  • S: Have you encountered an irresponsible colleague?
  • T: What situation was that?
  • A: What did you do?
  • R: What conclusion did you make?
  1. Evaluate the candidate's thinking process: 

Some of the more profession-specific UX designer interview questions include:

  • Can you walk us through your design process?
  • How do you approach user research?
  • How do you handle conflicting design feedback from stakeholders?
  • Can you share an example of a difficult design problem you solved?
  1. Make sure the candidate handles feedback adequately 

You can ask them about their experience with criticism, but there’s another way to prove it.

Maksym says: 

"Sometimes I create, well, a bit of an uncomfortable situation during an interview. I ask the candidate to justify some of their decisions. I take note of how they react to the questions or criticism in general. If they don't know an answer, I check whether they are able to come up with something on the spot based on common knowledge and logic."

  1. Make sure the candidate is actually excited about working as a designer

This is an important thing that can become a deal-breaker – especially for the entry-level candidates. According to Dasha,

"If you see the potential is there and they are eager to learn, it can compensate for the lack of specific skills and knowledge."

  1. Vibe check

Sometimes a gut feeling tells you immediately whether the person will be a good fit for the company or not. Of course, do give the person a chance. But, if you feel they won't be a good team player, or they won't fit into the company's culture, you should listen to your inner voice. A candidate in the wrong place will not only underperform, but might also disrupt the work process and drag down their colleagues and the workflow.

Maksym points out:

"Designers should be result- and client-oriented, responsible, and autonomous, but also strong team players and know their limitations. If they have an issue, they come to their colleagues and ask for help, they double check."


Exclusively prioritize technical skills over soft skills

For best or for worse, the times when a person working in the IT industry was stereotyped as a socially stunted loner who only cares about coding and hardware are long gone.

Both our hiring designers agree: for a successful designer, soft skills are a must. A UX designer working on a project must be able to communicate with colleagues and clients. Otherwise, the designer:

  • Will require a middle person between them and the clients, which will influence both accuracy, speed, and budget;
  • Won't be able to ask for help from the colleague and participate in meetings and/or calls;
  • Won't be able to work on a project requiring two or more designers.

All of it will inevitably influence the quality of their work.

According to Dasha, 

"If a person lacks technical skills but their soft skills are really good, you can work with that. Not the other way around."

Maksym agrees:

"A good designer should be able to communicate with the team, the developers, and the clients. They should be willing to learn and react adequately to the feedback."

Finally, if you feel the candidate is a good fit so far, you can ask them to do a test task.

Test task 

A test task is a great way to evaluate a candidate's skills using a real-life scenario. The task should be tailored to your product or service and designed to test the candidate's problem-solving abilities. Here are some things to keep in mind when creating a test task:

  • Keep the task realistic and relevant to the role.
  • Provide clear instructions and a timeline for completion.
  • Provide feedback on the candidate's work, and give them an opportunity to discuss their approach to the task.


  1. Make sure the candidate did what they were asked to do

It might be an obvious one, but still necessary to mention. According to Dasha, a lot of people just get carried away when inspiration strikes (or when they find a nice reference) and create an image or a prototype that has nothing to do with what was asked of them.

"We ask some of our candidates to design a page consistent with the style of Eleken's website, and they do something that isn't even close. They just design a nice picture. But it isn't functional, it isn't practical. To create a good UX design, a person should be able to answer the question "why" are they doing these visuals, not just create a dribbble-worthy aesthetic picture."

The accuracy of a designer's test task indicates their attention to detail, diligence, and analytical thinking. You don't want to work with someone who will be unable to process the brief correctly. 

  1. Check the portfolio against the test task 

Dasha notes: 

"A designer can spend a year on their portfolio, making sure everything is perfect. Or, in the worst-case scenario, they can even copy someone else's work. Make sure the portfolio and the test task are at least on the generally same level of skills. It happens quite often that they are really, really not."

While some mistakes can be pinned down on nerves and tight deadlines, if the test task is of significantly lower quality than the portfolio, the candidate is unlikely to deliver a consistently good performance. 


Underestimate the form of delivery 

Did a candidate send you a link to a Figma file or a pdf on Google Disk? If it's the latter, ask yourself why they did it.

According to Dasha, test tasks as a pdf are somewhat a red flag. Figma files allow interacting with the content, as well as checking the editing history. If a candidate goes for a pdf, there's a chance they did not deliver a high-quality work or even plagiarized it. 

Final thoughts 

Depending on the size of the company, their industry and project complexity, the demands for UX designers and responsibilities associated with the position might vary. To avoid miscommunication, be sure to define clearly and explicitly what is expected of the candidate and what their job description will be.

If you're not sure you want to go through hiring and onboarding an in-house designer, consider hiring an agency. 

Eleken is a pragmatic design agency whose priorities are goal-oriented functional design, not just flashy visuals. We have a team of experienced UX designers who can jump on your project as fast as a week after you contact us

Masha Panchenko


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min read

Scrum Master vs Product Owner: Can It Be One Person?

Product management is a complex field that involves many roles and positions whose duties seem to overlap. This is especially true when it comes to Agile environment, where the pressure to complete product sprints can blur the lines between who is meant to do what. And when it comes to the Scrum Master vs Product Owner dilemma, some business executives are unable to distinguish the two roles and can’t decide whether they need a Product Owner, a Scrum Master, or both in their team.

So, what exactly is the difference between Scrum Master and Product Owner? 

As a UI/UX design agency for SaaS that has had some luck to work with Scrum teams, in this article, we want to help you understand what tasks both people have to perform during the development process, so that you can decide who to hire.

Understanding the Product Owner's role

To start with, the Product Owner (PO) needs to have a strong product vision. They don’t dive into details of how the product is going to perform, but they have to understand why the product is being built, what problems it’s going to solve, and who’s going to use it.

For this purpose, POs communicate with stakeholders (customers, investors) and transform their needs/challenges into user stories, which are then implemented by the team of developers. Unfortunately, it’s impossible to satisfy all the stakeholders’ needs (otherwise the development team will be overloaded with loads of tasks), therefore user stories form a backlog — the list of features a product should contain.

The PO’s task is to collaborate with developers and stakeholders to prioritize the list of features in the backlog and 

  • estimate the value and size of each user story and define which are worth building and which are not
  • decide which features are critical to build first, and which can be developed later
  • define how long the product backlog should be.

So, product ownership is all about communication. POs should make sure everybody understands the product vision, the development team is in direct contact with the stakeholders, and there’s a short feedback loop in terms of frequent deliveries to real users.

Understanding the Scrum Master’s role

The Scrum Master (SM) bridges the development team and the Product Owner and is primarily in charge of empowering the team to accomplish the sprint goals. Their main objective is to make it easier for the development team to deliver the project’s outcomes timely.

SM heads the development team and ensures that everyone there adheres to the Scrum principles. By doing so these guys make sure that the entire team is familiar with the Scrum guide, methodology, and Scrum events and, as a result, can perform at their highest level.

Besides, SM is responsible for coordinating all the project activities aligned with business objectives and

  • acts as a facilitator for both the Scrum Team and the Product Owner, managing them as a unit and removing obstacles that block sprint progress
  • manages the process of information exchange between the team members
  • facilitates meetings by questioning the team “What was done yesterday?”, “What will be done today?”, “Are there any obstacles in your way?”.

Scrum Masters work to increase team efficiency and recommend changes to the product vision, roadmap, and backlog.

To sum up, a Scrum Master has more of a supervisory role. They play their part by ensuring the Scrum approach is implemented during the product development process.

Product Owner responsibilities

Here are typical responsibilities that a product owner job description may include: 

  • Capture and write user stories, explain product vision and user stories to the team to ensure they understand requirements and customer needs.
  • Create, manage, and priotirize product backlog, so that the development team can clearly understand what they are to build.
  • Approve each feature and continuously communicate with the development and business teams to ensure adherence to product vision and to evaluate risks proactively.
  • Collaborate with a product manager to develop the product vision and product roadmap.
  • Work with the Scrum Master to make sure the product's development aligns with the original goal.
  • Work with team members to ensure requirements, pain points, hidden needs, and expected outcomes are properly documented.
  • Decide on project deadlines and determine the release date.

Scrum Master responsibilities

After analyzing the Scrum master job descriptions on Linkedin and Upwork, we formed the following list of responsibilities for SM:

  • Facilitate adoption of the Scrum framework.
  • Assist the Scrum team in meeting sprint goals and delivering software solutions in an iterative manner. 
  • Support the Product Owner in creation, improvement, and prioritizing of the product backlog.
  • Proactively eliminate barriers, instruct team members on optimal practices.
  • Organize Scrum rituals (daily Scrum, sprint planning, sprint retrospectives) and make sure each team member attend them.
  • Protect the team from any kind of distractions and allow them to stay tuned.
  • Deliver activity and progress updates, mentioning all lingering obstacles and problems that influence team productivity and sprint efficiency.
  • Make sure the project is completed on schedule and within the allocated budget.

Main differences between the Scrum Master and Product Owner

There are three key perspectives you need to keep in mind when working on project: build the right product, build the product right, and build the product fast. But, usually, it’s difficult to find the balance between the three. Therefore, there’s a healthy tension between the Scrum roles:

  • The Product Owner focuses on building the right product.
  • The Development Team focuses on building the product right.
  • The Scrum Master focuses on shortening the feedback loop that accelerates learning, so that the team can quickly discover what the right product is and how to build it right.
scrum master vs product owner scheme

So, let’s sum up key differences between the roles of Scrum Master and Product Owner. 

  • Scrum Master is focused on maximizing the value and potential of the Scrum team and extending eventual return on investment (ROI), while the PO is focused almost exclusively on building the best possible product for the customers.
  • Product Owner forms a link between the Scrum Team and the customers. They are responsible for maximizing the value of the product after analyzing and prioritizing product features using sprint reviews and other similar methods. The role of the SM is more of the supervisor that coaches the team to ensure that everyone is aligned with the Agile process. They host daily stand-up meetings to sync with the development team's progress and note any obstacles that may keep the team from completing tasks.
  • Product Owners are accountable for project completion and providing timely updates to clients, while the Scrum Master is accountable for the entire quality of the project, as well as keeping the team on track towards meeting project’s completion timelines.

Scrum Master salary

According to Glassdoor, the Scrum Master in the United States is a highly-paid professional that earns about $108,571/year, while the average salary in the US is $95,831/year. 

scrum master salary according to Glasdoor

Now, let’s take a look at the average SM salary around the world, according to Glassdoor.

scrum master average salary by countries

Product Owner salary

The average salary of a Product Owner in the United States slightly differs from that of an SM and is around $107,478/year.

product owner salary according to Glasdoor

Still, when we look at the average PO salary around the world we see that the situation here is different: while SMs earn the most in the United States, Product Owners are better paid in Singapore.

product owner average salary by countries

Can PO and SM be one person?

If you asked whether a Product Owner and a Scrum Master can be one person the answer would be “Yes”. If you asked if they should be, the answer would be “No!”

Now, let’s get to a more detailed explanation.

In our practical experience of creating UI/UX design for various SaaS companies of different sizes and structures, we’ve encountered cases where one person performed the role of both PO and SM. Such a situation is most common for small startups at the early stages of product development. It works well for them, as usually their team consists of a CEO (who plays the role of PM/PO/SM), a developer, and a designer, so there’s no sense to build a strict organizational structure.

However, for bigger companies, we don’t think it’s right to hire one employee for two positions, unless it's just temporary while working with developers to "groom" someone into a Scrum Master.

This is because a competent SM will encourage the team to go an extra mile in terms of commitments while also ensuring that they are performing their tasks sustainably. While POs can handle this role, there may occasionally be situations when the Product Owner pushes for the maximum features, leading engineers to develop in an unsustainable and brittle way.

Besides, being a Product Owner is about having a vision and goals. It involves collecting information and, eventually, saying “No” to some ideas. Being a Scrum Master, on the other hand, involves identifying opportunities for growth, interacting with others, figuring out effective teamwork techniques, mentoring the Product Owner and the development team, acting as a good host for Scrum events, and setting an example for the rest of the team.

These two jobs call for quite distinct personalities, skills, and attitudes that are seldom found in one individual. It is against the fundamental nature of the roles to try to be both the PO and the SM at the same time.

Okay, seems like we’ve managed to dispel the confusion between PO and SM. However, these two are not the only roles that may cause you headaches when it comes to structuring a product team. Read our next article to learn about Product Owner vs Product Manager vs Project Manager.

Design team
min read

Leading Distributed Design Teams: 3 Biggest Challenges and How to Solve Them

Let’s face it, leading a distributed design team with no possibility to quickly look over your employees’ shoulders to check whether their designs are fine is challenging, if not hard.

Thanks to the big remote shift due to the world pandemic, many businesses adjusted and went to work fully online, but for many companies, hidden problems remain. We can group typical challenges for remote teams into three categories: broken communication in the teams, a silos mindset, and weak ties. 

In Eleken UX design company, we believe in a collaborative approach to design. Our design is not created in a vacuum, but in constant communication and collaboration with stakeholders, product managers, users, and development teams. So the infamous three we mentioned above would just impair our work.

In this article, we share the best practices for distributed teams that actually work. Here’s how we defeated the most common challenges of remote work.

Challenge #1. Broken communication 

If you want to manage a remote design team easily and effectively, first of all pay attention to how the communication is happening. 

In remote design teams, spontaneous communication is absent and text format leaves a lot of room for confusion. As a result, colleagues communicate less, and miscommunication often happens.

Problem: miscommunication. Solution: support frequent and effective communication in your team using tools for remote work

As it’s been said many times, communication is the key and you don’t want to let it become chaotic in your distributed design team. Here’s what you should do:

  • Keep the number of video calls limited as they are the most tiresome form of communication. Incorporate the culture of follow-ups after online meetings. 
  • Organize the rest of the communication channels: messengers, design tools, and calls should not duplicate one another but work as a structured communication system.
  • Ask for feedback from your team members about the communication. If people in the team are frustrated with something, they might (consciously or not) sabotage the comunication.  

After implementing these tips, your communication with the team will become more on-point and effective, people will proactively approach each other with specific questions, and it will get easier to lead a remote design team. 

But there are other pitfalls waiting for you on the way. 

Challenge #2. Silos mindset

There’s a chance that you have never heard of silos. Or heard about it in an agricultural context. You are not alone, silos is a rather new term in business language. It describes a situation when departments of the company work isolated from each other. Instead of sharing their expertise, teams store it like grain is stored in actual silos. 

Covid-19 was a big test for remote teams and it caught many companies off guard. Some teams simply did not know how to work remotely and it deepened the problem of silos, so departments started growing apart. 

Silos mindset is a serious problem, especially for product companies. When there’s no strong cooperation, knowledge sharing and such, the success of your product is at risk.

Imagine the situation: your designers and developers work as two independent departments that contact each other only when it’s time to hand off the design. As a result, the design team creates layouts without consulting with developers about technical possibilities for implementation. 

As a minimum, developers will have many questions for designers, and the work will be slow. But scenarios can be even worse, up to the need to create a new design to meet the development possibilities. This is a silos problem in action. 

Problem: silos (when departments of the company work in isolation and don't share expertise. Solution: cross-functional teams and effective collaboration processes solve the problem of silos

The good news is that it is possible to deal with silos: 

  1. First of all, educate your team, explaining the importance of sharing expertise with each other and working towards a common goal as one organism. 
  2. The next step is creating easy ways to communicate and share the company's knowledge base
  3. Build cross-functional teams and effective collaboration processes. 

But even when all the processes are done right, the human factor still remains. And for the teams that are distributed around the world, it can be a serious challenge. 

Challenge #3. Weak ties

It might sound a little weird, but weak ties are the biggest problem for distributed teams. Broken communication and lack of collaboration can be solved with the right processes. But how to make people cultivate friendly relationships if they rarely see each other and spend work days apart?

  • Implement the culture of getting to know each other across the team. There are great ice-breaking tools like Donut Slack bot for random and casual one-on-one meetings.
Donut bot on Slack
Image source: Donut website
  • Know your team members and organize outstanding online activities that people will actually love. Having fun online is possible. Think outside the box and be creative as a team. You can try a Wonder platform for online creative collaboration and building the feeling of togetherness in the distributed team.
  • Corporate off-sites are a must. At least once a year bring your people together to eat, play and connect. 
Problem: weak ties. Solution: the sense of common goal and team building activities

Even if your distributed team belongs to different companies that work independently, the ideas we mentioned above will only improve your remote work. 

How Eleken leads a distributed team of designers

Eleken was among those companies that effectively worked online before it was cool. Actually, since the company was founded in 2015, we have been working in a hybrid format. Our clients are around the world, and with each of our projects, we prove that long-distance relationships do work. 

Leadership vs Ownership

Our design team leader Maksym recently shared the advice that basically sums up Eleken leadership:

  • Don’t be afraid to give people freedom of action and responsibility.
  • Don’t micromanage, but trust your designers
  • Apply product management best practices, even if you are not a product manager.
  • Surround yourself with smart people eager to learn new things.

How do we manage our remote design team and implement these principles? 

First of all, we keep our design, marketing, sales processes, and documentation tidy. We mostly use Notion for that.

Our team is growing and onboarding new people is important. Our onboarding document for new designers makes the start of remote work with the design team quick and simple. 

Eleken onboarding of new designers in Notion 

A new colleague can come back to it or study our design processes there anytime. The same approach we have to our collective expertise- we preserve and share it through design systems and inner design workshops. 

Every week we have design feedback sessions and collective brainstorming for the design team.

Eleken distributed team meeting

We recommend this practice to all remote design teams, as it brings the team together, and it’s a great and fun way to learn together.

War in Ukraine became a huge stress and emotional challenge for all Ukrainians, including our team. But thanks to great processes and motivated people who love what they do, we did not interrupt our work. Our clients were actually amazed to see how our team completed tasks in the first days of the war, sometimes from bomb shelters.

Image source: Eleken on Instagram

We all felt that clients and the rest of the team rely on us and continued to work not out of pressure from management, but from our own feeling of responsibility. My teammates say that the stability of our work helped them stay sane in that madness, and was the source of calm and security. All thanks to the great people and culture in the team. 

We hope you will never have to experience what we did with war. But here’s the lesson we learned, and you can benefit from it in any other extraordinary situation. The disaster seemed unrealistic until the very last moment, but we were prepared thanks to: 

  • Clear inner and external communications 
  • Well-established processes 
  • Strong team spirit 

This strong base was not built in one day. But in times of crisis, the investment in a team and processes returned fully. We did not lose a single client or employee and our business keeps scaling despite the war.

Final words

We don’t know how the world will change in the next five years and what challenges it will bring to businesses. But we are sure that transparent and frequent communication, as well as strong leadership and positive team culture, will help distributed design teams to overcome any challenges. 

Manage your distributed team with confidence, invest in your people and their well-being and it will result in outstanding design productivity and portfolio. And if you are looking for a skilled design team that works remotely around the world, you came to the right place. Drop us a line and let’s discuss how we can help you. 

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