Design team

Stand with Ukraine. Stand with Eleken


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Eleken is a SaaS design company from Ukraine. We strongly condemn Russia's military action against our country. We firmly stand with Ukraine that is protecting our people and our values: freedom, democracy, and the rule of law.

What we're doing 

Over the past few weeks, we've been working closely with our teammates to help relocate them from the war zones, donate funds to support the Ukrainian military and provide humanitarian aid. All our team is safe. They're currently working from their new locations in western Ukraine and abroad.

Thanks to the pandemic, our company has become much more resilient to disruptions. Our team has working remotely for the past several months. As a business, we are ready for any situation, even war.

We are grateful to all our clients who have expressed support for us and with whom we continue our business relationships. 

We've already gotten back to our projects and will continue undisrupted service. 

How you can support Ukraine

  1. Help Ukrainians by providing humanitarian aid: NovaUkraine.org and RazomForUkraine.org 
  2. Donate money to support the Ukrainian military: Savelife.in.ua  

Here are more ways to support Ukraine.

Ukraine will win 🇺🇦

Go to our website → 

Contact us page

Where to find us

Eleken's team is currently working remotely from safe locations in western Ukraine and abroad.

+38063 344 39 35


Dana Yatsenko


Table of contents

Top Stories

Design team
min read

What's the Difference Between Product Manager and Delivery Lead in Continuous Discovery and Delivery Teams?

There are two fundamental high-level tasks each product team has to deal with: discover the product to be built, and deliver that product to market. So, when talking about delivery lead vs product manager in Agile teams, the product manager's (PM) main job is to shape the product, and the delivery lead's (also known as delivery manager) primary activity is to deliver the product (though each role takes part in both processes). 

Both discovery and delivery run in parallel, that’s why we should define the two roles as a part of continuous discovery and delivery.

Seems more than clear, but after years of experience providing UI/UX design services as a part of numerous product teams, we can state that most companies still have a process that is essentially Waterfall at its core (even if they call it Agile), where discovery is only the first step of product development. Such an approach causes many products to fail and here is why.

What’s wrong with the way most companies organize their product development process?

In most organizations, no matter what their size is, the product development process looks something like this:

the scheme of waterfall product  development process
  1. The company gets ideas from stakeholders, business owners, or customers. 
  2. Then ideas are prioritized into a roadmap. But in order to prioritize, they first need some kind of a business case for each item to learn how much value it will make and how much money or time it will cost. Based on this information they build the roadmap
  3. A product manager will then choose the top priority issue and speak with the stakeholders to develop the concept and create a list of "requirements" (user stories). User stories are needed to convey to the designers and engineers what has to be produced.
  4. Once the company has defined requirements it asks the design team to visualize the idea with UI/UX design (if the company decides to onboard a design team at all).
  5. Next, engineers get the requirements and design specifications to implement the idea (that’s where Agile finally comes into play, as engineers usually divide the work into sprints to develop and test the idea in parallel).
  6. If the QA testing isn’t included in those sprints, the QA team will do additional testing to ensure the new concept functions as intended.
  7. Finally, when QAs approve the implemented idea, it is deployed and introduced to real customers.

Such a process doesn’t look much like Agile and serves as a reason for many problems:

  • It takes very long for the idea to reach the actual customers. 
  • Roadmaps risk to turn into a list of features that different departments want you to implement (and most probably at least half of those ideas aren’t going to work as you expect).
  • Product manager turns into a project manager who only gathers requirements and passes them to developers.
  • The company can’t get the full value of UX design, as designers are introduced into the process too late (if introduced at all).
  • The same problem is with developers. Though they can make a great contribution to product innovation, in many companies engineers are asked only to write the code and are brought into the product development process very late. 
  • Customer validation happens far too late. As a result, businesses invest time and money in activities that don't actually benefit them.

What is the way out of this situation? Both product discovery and product delivery should run in parallel and continually. In strong product teams product managers, designers, delivery leads (if any), and developers work closely together to build the high-quality product that users love.

Now let’s define product manager and delivery lead roles in terms of ongoing product discovery and delivery.

How product manager and delivery lead fit into continuous discovery and delivery

To begin with, let’s see what these two processes are supposed to look like.

the scheme of continuous discovery and delivery process

Product discovery aims to distinguish between good and bad ideas and, as a result, let the team get a validated product backlog. The close cooperation between product management, user experience design, and engineering teams is a key component of discovery. Before building the solution, these specialists work together and conduct experiments to eliminate risks by finding answers to the following questions:

  • Will people be willing to use this solution and pay for it?
  • Is it possible to build the solution/feature from a technical point of view?
  • Will software/feature be easy enough for people to use?
  • Will stakeholders back the concept?

When the team has evidence that the idea they are going to implement is valuable enough from the customer’s standpoint and technically feasible, it’s time to deliver it.

The purpose of product delivery is to build and release high-quality technological solutions that people will buy and business will benefit from. Continuous delivery enables teams to produce products/features in short cycles, ensuring that they can be reliably released with greater speed and frequency. 

Continuous discovery and delivery mean that the team is doing all the above-mentioned activities weekly, as a part of their regular duties. Such processes cover everything, from determining if enough consumers want this solution to developing impactful products that benefit both clients and the business. This way, spending time on solid research impacts the development positively, and that’s how companies should work. 

Continuous discovery and delivery work especially well for product-led companies, as they tend to focus only on those products/features that bring more value to the end-user.

We’ve best experienced this connection between discovery and delivery when working as remote designers on Haven Diagnostics, the software that allows evaluating the risks of disease spread in offices. They wanted to learn who their users are before developing the product. Our designer was constantly communicating with the CEO (who performed the role of a PM as well) and an engineer discussing their vision, expectations, and brainstorming design ideas to form the final product. Best concepts were then tested with users.

During the brainstorming, together we came up with ideas on how to improve the calculations' accuracy and better adjust the results to individual clients’ needs. Although this procedure didn't directly affect the design, it influenced the back-end and raised the product's quality.

the product created in continuous discovery and delivery
A piece of Haven Diagnostics’ interface

Here’s the quote by Marty Cagan, a Silicon Valley-based product executive, that best summarizes the essence of two processes:

“The discovery track is continuously generating product backlog items, and the delivery track is continuously building, testing and deploying these items.”

There are numerous tasks within the two continuous processes that the team has to perform day-to-day. The product manager and delivery lead should assist the team and ensure they’re building the right thing for customers and the business.

responsibilities of a product manager and delivery lead

The tasks the team has to complete during the product development process. Image credit: presentation “Continuous discovery in Product-led companies” by Pendo and GLIDR 

Let’s take a closer look at what PMs and delivery managers do day-to-day as a part of the continuous discovery and delivery.

Product manager role and responsibilities

We’ll start with a role of a product manager as the one most engaged in the discovery part.

A good product manager is someone most aligned with defining the scope, the product vision, the target audience, and the problems a product should solve. These people serve as a voice of customers to the whole organization. So, in traditional project management, PMs’ job is to ensure the team of developers has a product worth building

Here is the list of their main responsibilities:

  • Collect user feedback (preferably from a direct source such as self-serve comments, Customer Success Team, and such). 
  • Categorize requests into specific ideas and themes so that the company can track the number of requests on each.
  • Let customers know when an issue has been resolved to make them feel heard.
  • Deeply research the product data to understand the true picture and recognize patterns.
  • Define those users that interact with the relevant elements of the product and study them deeper.
  • Conduct generative interviews to help the team understand what data can’t explain.
  • Encourage clients to share their experiences to provide the complete context.
  • Come up with multiple solutions and test them to understand which best leads to the desired outcome.
  • Try different solutions with different segments to see if they are solving the problem in a desirable and usable way.
  • Choose the best option by comparing and contrasting, and ensure the solution solves a real problem.
  • Share the “why” with the engineering team, not just the “what”, so they can make decisions that align better with the customer needs.
  • Together with developers, present the product to small test groups to collect feedback and usage data.
  • As the release improves, test on additional customer segments.

By the way, most of the activities described above are done in cooperation of a product manager with a UX designer.

Delivery lead role and responsibilities

Many product managers in growing companies are getting overwhelmed with project management tasks, which distracts them from their primary duties. And that’s where delivery managers come in handy.

The delivery manager is the kind of project manager most responsible for delivering the product on time and to quality and standards. Their main duty is to speed up the development team’s work by eliminating the obstacles (impediments) that may occur during the development process. For this purpose, delivery leads may communicate with the marketing department, delivery leads from other teams, designers, and more.

The delivery manager is a role, not necessarily a separate position in an organization. Very often delivery leads have a title of a Scrum Master, project manager, or program manager. It doesn’t matter how you call this person if there’s someone to do the job.

Here’s what delivery managers do on a regular basis:

  • Monitor and remove impediments, manage risks and dependencies.
  • Define optimal team structure and assign people to product delivery teams.
  • Ensure that projects and products are regularly delivered according to Agile methodology.
  • Promoting continuous iteration on deliverables.
  • Maintain contact between the Founder and the team.
  • Mentors QA and Tech leads.
  • Facilitate and lead main Agile ceremonies such as stand-ups, sprint planning, backlog grooming, and retrospective meetings.
  • Maintain projects' timelines and budgets.
  • Foster a cooperative, creative, and effective work environment and team performance.

To sum up, the delivery lead position is all focused on assisting the team in pushing projects forward more quickly—not by yelling at them, but by getting rid of roadblocks.

How do I know if I need to hire a product manager, a delivery manager, or both?

When talking about the necessity of hiring a product manager, the short answer would be “yes, you need this professional in your team”. Product managers are primarily responsible for the product’s success, communicating a clear vision and strategy, so they play an essential role in the product development process. In small companies, the role of a product manager is often performed by CEOs, founders, and so on.

As for the delivery manager, we’ve already discussed that this person can have the title of a Scrum Master, project manager, or program manager. If your organization doesn't have a delivery manager (regardless of their title), then the product manager or engineering managers often handle this function. And for small startups, it works completely fine. Though, in case your company has more than five product teams, we’d highly recommend you hire both a product manager and a delivery lead.

After all, it all comes down to the product development team structure and what works better for each specific project.

Design team
min read

Guide to Different Types of Designers for SaaS Product Owners

Last Christmas I had to choose some headlamps for my family. And it’s not about me lacking creative ideas for Christmas gifts, but as my family lives in Ukraine, they experienced long electricity cuts caused by shellings. So headlamps became more important than ugly Christmas sweaters.

Getting flashlights seemed like an easy task until I started the search online. First, I discovered that the intensity of light is measured in lumens. Then, there were the batteries-powered headlamps or the ones having the USB charger, and numerous options like strobe or red light or red strobe. Then I realized I need one that was simple enough for a grandma to use. Also, let’s not forget about the weight, as it might be hard to wear it on the head for hours.Long story short, it took me a few hours and a few dozen buyers’ reviews to pick the right one. 

Same process can relate to hiring designers for your project. If you ever tried to hire a designer, you might know that it’s much harder than you thought. And one of the hardest parts is figuring out what are the types of designers and why there are so many of them.

As a professional design agency, we can confirm that this is not the easiest question. But we’ll try to make some sense of all this mess. We don’t have the ambition to make a complete “types of designers list”, but we can give you an idea of the types of designers that are most relevant for a SaaS business owner. But before that, let’s figure out the roots of such diversity in this profession.

Why are there so many design professions in digital business?

Among the designers themselves, there are polarized opinions regarding professions’ titles. Some say that these names don’t make any sense and make people focus on small differences rather than the main objective of designers' work.

Once we started discussing this topic in our work Slack channel, one of our designers, Aleksandra, said that having several people working on a project can make work go faster if everyone focuses on a separate set of tasks. However, it requires excellent management and coordination. Then, her colleague Natalia sent this picture to the chat.

Designer job titles: Graphic designer, product designer, interaction designer, Once upon a time in Figma, The lord of the fonts, etc

So you got it, inside the community opinions on the topic vary a lot, and that makes the story even more interesting.

We have to understand that this is not the HR department that decides to make a profession rebranding and start calling all the designers “informational architects” or “user experience analysts”. Many designers choose to name themselves in a certain way because they feel that this word represents them better than just “designer”. What are the reasons for that?

  1. Narrow specialists earn more (on average).
Graphic designer average salary $52,771 Visual designer $79,787, UX designer $110,392
Data on average salaries from Glassdoor

Naturally, big companies can afford to have big branched departments, while in small companies, where the product team consists of several persons, there is no space (and resources) for such a division. And often, in big companies, the average salaries would be higher.

  1. Some people feel that the word “designer” has some negative connotations or simply doesn’t explain to other people what they are doing. It may be easier to present yourself mysteriously rather than say a common word knowing that everyone will have their associations.
  1. Differentiation of roles comes naturally in big companies that employ tens and hundreds of designers. It is the consequence of the increasing importance of design in modern digital products. Although there are theories proving that small teams work better than big ones, it’s hard to go and tell a giant like Google or Dropbox that they should have smaller teams. I bet they know what they are doing.
  2. The invention of new titles is a sign that the professional field is developing and different types of design tasks require different types of designers. Design teams are growing and people can dive deeper into one specific field knowing that their colleagues will cover other tasks.

Many professions change their names, and it is a very common case for the ones that are closely tied to technology changes. Think of HR managers who started calling themselves “people department” instead of “human resources”. It reflects the shift in attitude towards employees: nowadays companies want to demonstrate how they care about their workers and treat them as human beings, not just “resources”.

Similar things happen with designers.

So, why people are frustrated? 

Some designers feel that those different words just blur out the true meaning of the profession, which is creating solutions. And for people who need to hire a designer for a SaaS, all this diversity comes as a confusing factor that complicates the hiring process. 

Image credit: Slava Shestopalov

This article aims to help with the latter: we’ll go through the most common design professions that a SaaS business owner may come across when browsing LinkedIn.

Graphic designers

Even though this designer position is not the most common to find in SaaS teams, it’s a good start for a designers overview, since the profession of graphic designers is much older than others that are described later in this article. 

It is much more common to meet a UX or product designer with a background in graphic design than the other way around. Graphic design degrees, or visual communication, as it is often called, are easy to find in many universities, while very few have options for product design or UX/UI design.

Flyers we designed for SeoCrawl

What can a graphic designer bring to your SaaS product?

Graphic designers are great at creating original visual concepts, developing unique style, and helping with a variety of tasks apart from product design. As your company grows, there might be a need for presentation materials, T-shirts, banners for conferences, you name it… Graphic designers typically have more experience with these compared to their colleagues who specialize in digital products only.

Web designers

This one needs a little explanation. Their specialization is designing web pages, creating the layout, and filling the content. Their main task is to present the information in a way that would be clear and easy to find. Web designers can be very creative and experimental if they want to catch users’ attention and show clients that they can do more than Wix or Squarespace.

Web designers commonly use HTML and CSS, but with modern tools like Webflow and others, web design becomes more and more accessible.

Website we designed for Cheerity

What can a web designer bring to your SaaS product?

If you are still at the very initial stage, you may need a website even before the prototype is done. For that, a good web designer is a good hire.

Motion designers

Motion design becomes more and more popular nowadays when the tools for building responsive websites become more efficient. As many years have passed since the dawn of the internet when websites were loaded with epilepsy-provoking GIFs, animation has gone a long way to an elegant and unintrusive component that doesn’t leave the lists of design trends.

Motion design has become very common on web pages, even if sometimes it’s not very obvious when micro-interactions and micro-animations are used. If you are looking for someone to create a modern website, search for designers with skills in animation software.

At Eleken, we also value when our product designers have such skills. However, if you want to build some heavy motion products like our YouTube blog, for instance, you would need a professional motion designer to do the job.


What can a motion designer bring to your SaaS product?

Motion designers are essential if you want to make engaging tutorial videos for your product, develop some animation characters to add a playful element to the product, or build a cool website.

Beyond this, motion designers can work closely with your UX and UI designers to ensure that your product's animations and interactions are smooth, seamless, and intuitive. Of course, they wouldn’t be your first hire, but when you want to take your product design to the next level, having a motion designer on board is a good idea.

! Note that Animation designers are not the same as motion designers, even though they have similar skill sets. Animation designers work more with characters and complete scenes, while motion designers work with texts and small animations, such as website elements or video design. Animation designers are less likely to be interested to work with a SaaS product.

User Interface (UI) designer

The task of a UI designer is to create all the visual elements of the interface, from icons and fonts to dark themes and button shadows. To find answers to all questions about this profession, read our article on how to hire UI designers.

UI kit we designed for Involi

What can a UI designer bring to your SaaS product?

Hiring a UI designer is fine at the initial stage when you want to have a prototype for a pitch deck, or at later stages when the design team has grown enough to the point of separating UI from UX designers.

User Experience (UX) designer

Unlike user interface designers who work mostly with visuals, user experience designers focus more on research and users, finding out how they interact with the product and how this process can be improved.

User flow of our client MindTickle

What can a UX designer bring to your SaaS product?

As simple as it gets, UX designers can make your product more easy and more comfortable to use. In some companies, UX and UI teams are separated, but you shouldn’t bother about that unless your company is big enough to have more than 3 designers on board. If you are considering this at the moment,however, read our article on hiring UX designers.

UX/UI designer

Or is it UI/UX? Anyway, as you might have guessed, they combine the functions of user experience and user interface designers, and they are way more common.

It doesn’t matter which word comes first, since UI/UX and UX/UI are not different types of designers. It is one of the most common designer professions, and they are probably the most searched by SaaS founders who are just starting to build their teams.

Desktop, tablet, and mobile screens for GlowLabs

What can UX/UI designer bring to your SaaS product?

They can create a design from scratch and ensure that it is both aesthetic and usable. Most clients who come to our agency are interested in UI/UX design services.

Visual designer

Visual designers are responsible for crafting a unified image for the brand across digital communication platforms. Among other types of designer professions, this one is kind of universal but hard to grasp at the same time.

Most people can’t really tell the difference between graphic or UI designers and visual designers, and it’s not because they are ignorant. Indeed, the tasks of visual designers largely overlap with both of them. Unlike graphic designers, a visual designer works with digital design only, and unlike UI designer, they create the visual elements of a SaaS product that are not necessarily interactive, such as logos, icons, illustrations, and branding materials.

GlowLabs visuals

What can a visual designer bring to your SaaS product?

Sometimes word “visual designer” can be used to describe a one-fit-all-design-tasks person. However, in some situations, they can be the person responsible for supporting consistent visual language when many creatives are working on the product. That way, they are kind of an art director for SaaS.

Branding designer

Branding designers’ work field includes logos, naming, color scheme, typography, and other elements of visual language that embody the brand's message and values. They can also help define the tone of voice and design all sorts of marketing materials such as slogans, business cards, brochures, and basically everything that can communicate a brand's identity so that it speaks to the target audience.

Unlike visual designers, a branding designer can be hired for a short period to kick-start the brand. After that, they establish guidelines for their brand identity to ensure that all visual elements are consistent and recognizable across all platforms. This includes guidelines for logo usage, typography, color palettes, and imagery.

Image credit: Omar Mansoor on Behance

What can a branding designer bring to your SaaS product?

You can hire a branding designer when you feel that a unique brand is essential to your product success, or when your idea needs good packaging so that you don’t have to make a complete redesign when you grow and realize that the logo designed initially won’t suffice.

Logo design process for Highpoint

Product designer

This position is commonly confused with UX/UI designer (for a reason, I have to say). The main difference is that product designers take a more holistic approach to the design, taking into account all sort of business objectives and not only usability. It requires them to have knowledge not only of user experience design, but also understand how marketing, finances, and sales operate and work in tight contact with these teams.

The work of product designers doesn’t end with the product launch: they work constantly on collecting feedback and improving the product. To learn more about different types of product designers’ tasks, read our article about product designers and UX/UI designers.

Customer journey map for Process Place

What can a product designer bring to your SaaS product?

They can create a product from idea to eternity, constantly adjusting it to changing users, market, and business demands.

Who do you need to hire first for your SaaS?

Even if you have raised a huge investment round and want to reach design excellence, it doesn’t mean that hiring a big team with UI, UX, graphic designers, UX researchers, and analysts is the best idea. 

In most cases, the wise decision would be to start with one product designer who can set the design process on track. Later, if you need faster results, you can hire additional team members and diversify the team when there is a need for some specific work and a narrow specialist.

However there are situations when the volume of work is huge, the deadlines are tight, and there is no time for a lengthy hiring process. In this case, you can always contract a design agency like Eleken — we will provide you with a team of product designers who can start working on your project as soon as two weeks from the moment you schedule the first call.

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