🏡 City: Salvador ➡️ Madrid ➡️ Barcelona

💼 Job title: Head of Product Design

🎓 Studies: Graphic Design at Universidade Salvador and Master of Editorial Design at IED Madrid

🔮 Languages: Portuguese 🇧🇷 English 🇬🇧 Spanish 🇪🇸

👣 How do you commute to work? I usually ride my bike, it takes around 15 minutes door to door. Some days I take the subway.

🧳 Travel dreams: I’ve wanted to come to Europe since I was a teenager, and now that I live here I’ve had the chance to visit most big cities on my list. Lately, I’ve been thinking about travelling around Brazil, because despite being from there, I always end up going to the same places.

📚 Favourite book: I don’t think I have one, but I always think of re-reading “The immortality” by Milan Kundera. He catches a casual gesture of a woman and creates a novel of intersecting stories that mix reality with fiction. It explores the meaning of immortality, love, death, self-image, and fame.

📌 What is your role as Head of Product Design?

I joined Stuart as a Product Designer and became the Head of Product Design earlier this year. This role is new both for me and for Stuart, which is exciting because I get to set the groundwork. I’m currently working on building the team, operationalising the work and shaping a design vision. I agree with a definition written by DesignBetter, they point out that this is about “designing an environment and structure that brings out the team’s best work to serve both the company and its users.” Product Designers should be able to understand the context they are working in, so they can make decisions that are well-informed and feasible, and will ultimately create a meaningful product. In that sense, this role is no different, only in this case the product is not a software but the department itself.

In that sense, this role is no different, only in this case the product is not a software but the department itself.

📌 What do you find to be most challenging about your job?

I’d probably have a different answer to that every week, so I’ll simply say that everything is challenging to a certain degree. We are trying to do a lot, in very little time. I’m trying to find the best people for the team, designing a culture, balancing management and execution daily. Meanwhile, the products are live, and we have new responses to every part of them every day. Keeping up is a job itself, and nothing is ever as simple as the first rough estimation. Luckily I’m surrounded by people that trust me and help me move fast. With the right environment, you can learn quickly how to be pragmatic while respecting the product’s quality, keeping the bigger picture in mind. At Stuart I’m being allowed to work on strategic projects, addressing all sorts of challenges, whilst having space to grow individually, and also grow a team from scratch. It’s cool to be part of an environment which empowers you with trust, it incites you to do continuously better.

📌 How do Product Designers and Product Managers collaborate on a daily basis?

We are all on the same team, the Product Team. Our goal is to do what’s right for the people who are using our product. We study the products from business and design perspectives, and we bring engineering very early into the conversation to make sure we make the best use of our technology. Since I arrived, I have the feeling that the collaboration between all of us is becoming more natural as we do more missions together. As we are learning, we are iterating on our processes in the same way that we are doing it on the products themselves.

📌 What technologies and tools do you enjoy working with?

I’ve been enjoying Abstract for a while, it simplifies the workflow in such a way that it has become essential for us. It’s a strong product. On top of that, they produce content that clearly relates good workflows with meaningful design work, I think this is a useful and positive contribution to the design community. On another note, it’s interesting to see how a product can change your habits permanently. Right now I’m using Grammarly to make sure my writing is the best possible, and I was thinking about how tough it was for me to write something this long 3 years ago.

📌 What have you learned so far since you joined Stuart?

I joined Stuart less than 2 years ago. Before that, I was basically freelancing for a while. The first thing I had to work on was probably building relationships with teammates, and that’s still something I work on daily, as I am an introvert by nature. But this learning has been the most valuable to date. By creating relationships with people around me, I could share ideas, process feedback, propose new ways of working, find support, nourish empathy and trust. Without this kind of awareness, it’s very hard to get anywhere.

📌 How do you feel about evolving in an international team and company?

I recently heard that we have more than 40 nationalities at Stuart: that is a way to bring different perspectives to the table and enrich our conversations. Although I think culture and diversity are not exclusively related to belonging to different countries, I think it means simply living life differently. For instance, it’s nice to have the flexibility to work from home, remotely or in one of the offices, it gives us a chance to find a way of working that fits us. Overall, I think we have a healthy work environment, and collaboration and empathy are widely shared values.

Ágata Rocha — Head of Product Design [image 4]

📌 What do you do in your free time?

A bunch of stuff, I move a lot and I’m also at home a lot. When I’m travelling I usually go visit family and friends, watch the ocean, check museums, try new food, do some shopping. When I’m at home, I’m listening to music, moving things around, cleaning, trying to make sense of the space, and while I’m doing that, I’m processing the stuff that’s been going on in my head lately. Once I’m done with that, I go out, I meet people, I FaceTime people and try to convince them to come to visit me in Barcelona.

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