Matthew Ström

Matthew Ström

Head of design at SimpleHealth

Head of design at SimpleHealth

14 action items

Create a process to measure the impact of product changes

    • Plan your product changes around metrics

      When you begin working on a new feature, improvement, or even a simple fix, attach an intended outcome to the work you do.

    • Make hypotheses and keep track of them

      Encourage your team to estimate how your work will affect your KPIs (or OKRs or whatever you choose to call your metrics). Write them down, and check back often.

Where to start as a new manager

    • Have a point of view

      Tell your team what you will and won't do as a manager. Write it down, too! Creating a stable and reliable baseline for your reports and your own manager is a valuable aspect of management. Read this post from Lara Hogan for inspiration: See more

Reduce the overhead of freelancing

    • Time management!

    • Most painful things can be automated or offloaded.

      Invoicing, taxes, health insurance, expenses, and many other things can be done by other people for a small fee. Get an accountant you trust, and leave the rest to services like JustWorks, Oscar, Freshbooks, etc.

    • Over time, strong client relationships make contract negotiation less painful.

      Focus on doing great work for first-time clients. Repeat clients are significantly easier to manage.

    • Time management will always be painful.

      When you're your own boss, you can't delegate. You have to get really good at prioritizing and keeping track of your responsibilities, and unfortunately, that's what freelancing is all about. Practice, be mindful of what you spend time and energy on, and give yourself a lot of slack.... See more

Know how to work with people who seem arrogant

    • Get to know them well

      Many times, arrogance is compensation for vulnerability. When someone feels threatened, they may exhibit arrogance to protect their ego. If you can find what situations make them uncomfortable, you can avoid arrogant behavior.

Establish transparency for design within your company

    • Lead the way.

      Designers may feel uncomfortable with transparency because there's no precedent and lots of unknowns. Find a safe opportunity to demonstrate the value of transparency by volunteering to open up your own work, process, plan, or experiences.

Have an effective 1:1

    • Focus

      Don't bring your laptop, put your phone on do not disturb, and try to listen actively.

    • Keep it short

      Long 1-on-1s can get into the weeds, and cover too much ground to be actionable. I like to keep mine around 15 minutes.

    • Don't skip them!

      Regular cadence is important. Don't let the other person skip, either — reschedule if needed.

Give helpful design feedback

    • Understand your intentions, and the intentions of the person receiving the feedback.

    • It’s natural to have a gut reaction.

      Maybe it’s “I don’t get it,” maybe it’s “This is so cool!” Hold on to that reaction. Take time to ask yourself: “why am I having this reaction?”

    • Make sure the recipient is ready for critique.

      Even feedback with the best intentions can be unhelpful if it’s given at the wrong time. If the designer hasn’t asked for critique, but you still want to share your thoughts, reach out and suggest that you discuss when it’s the right time.

    • Understand the goals, audience, and constraints of the design.

      If you can’t find this information, ask questions.