A brief update:
Two years of Product at Boiler Room


Nov 2017
 

I have been lucky enough to spend the past 2 and half years building and working in the Product team at Boiler Room. Sadly, our time has come to an end. I will be putting together my thoughts and experiences into more detailed case studies soon, but in the mean time here is a short introduction of my experience.

 
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After gaining over 10 years experience of working for agencies on accounts such as The National Trust, Tesco, Vodafone and BT, I decided to make the switch to the startup world. Moving to Boiler Room just over 2 years ago has given me a hugely wider skillset in Product design from a process, management and design perspective.

 

Building a team from the ground up


My time at Boiler Room has allowed me to develop my knowledge in Lean UX methodologies and work with a much more user-focussed approach. Joining Boiler Room as the sole designer alongside one lead developer, I was responsible for building a Product team from the ground up after the company received an initial round of investment.

Recruitment ranging from junior designers all the way up to our first Head of Product gave me a great understanding of the workings of an entire product team and its necessary processes. Having the opportunity to employ a small design team from scratch allowed me to find individuals who were passionate about the processes and methodologies that were beginning to take shape as we introduced the concept of ‘Product’ to a company such as Boiler Room.

From myself and a developer to a 13 strong Product team in 2 years

From myself and a developer to a 13 strong Product team in 2 years

 

Defining a way of working


With a design team in place, we were able to introduce a culture of regular user research and testing with an ever-growing community of fans and outsiders to the brand alike.

It was also important to begin defining clear measures of success if we were to continually iterate and improve on the products we were building. This was an ongoing collaboration between our design team, development team and Product Managers.  

Over the past year, we have been able to establish a way that design and development collaborate in an efficient and productive way with an open and transparent roadmap, solid sprint planning, backlog grooming, reviews, clear acceptance criteria and design documentation.

An affinity map session with our commercial team

An affinity map session with our commercial team

 

Leading the design vision


In addition to the strategic planning and organisation of the team there is obviously the important role of leading the design direction and vision that has required me to mentor junior UX/UI designers and researchers, while setting clearly defined design and UX principles. This has allowed our team to create a suite of products across multiple platforms that have always been focussed on well defined user needs.

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Company wide strategy


I have gradually become more and more involved in the wider strategy of the company as a whole. Working closely with the CEO and other key stakeholders, we have introduced the company’s first ever vision statement, strategic pillars and department-level objectives.

It has been my responsibility at times to communicate these shifts to the global team, as well as present this level of thinking to external partners.

Part of our brand values workshop with the wider company

Part of our brand values workshop with the wider company

 

Achievements


Just a few of the key things we have achieved in our short lifespan include:
 

  • Mobile apps launched on iOS and Android

  • Apple TV app launched

  • New multi-platform CMS and content strategy

  • App store features on iOS, tvOS and Play Store

  • 60% increase in dwell time on www (Oct 2017 compared to Jan 2016)

  • 40% reduction in bounce rate in www (Oct 2017 compared to Jan 2016)

  • Avg. of 50,000 monthly mobile app users

 


 

I am currently working with Boiler Room to help establish a plan for the remaining team and the near future objectives. I am also working on some more detailed case studies of my time at Boiler Room. Check back soon.