Sponsor Spotlight: Productboard

We’re honoured to have Productboard as our Showcase and Keynote Sponsor for the Vancouver UX Awards this year. We had a brief chat with Scott Baldwin, Community Lead & Product Evangelist at Productboard, about the company’s interest in Vancouver’s UX community, their design philosophy and potential job opportunities in their growing and international company.

Scott, why has Productboard decided to sponsor the Van UX Awards?
Productboard is growing quickly, especially our Vancouver presence and team. We have a strong design culture, including roles in designing user experience and user research. And design is an important part of Product Excellence and a key differentiator — it’s a foundational part of our product.

In Vancouver specifically, I’ve been a long-time UX and product person and have watched this community grow and recognize the talent we have here. Productboard wanted to make sure that we support the industry in celebrating elegance, clarity, innovation, impact, and emotion in the experiences you all create.

It’s also worth mentioning that we’re looking to grow our local design team and we’re excited to connect with the local community at the Van UX Awards.

Can you briefly introduce the company and tell us what has become a central theme for Productboard’s work in the past year? Where is the company is planning to move forward in the future?
Productboard was founded in 2014 by Hubert Palan and Daniel Hejl with a simple mission: to help companies make products that matter. In the years since, we’ve grown from a handful of people to hundreds, backed by some of the biggest VC firms in Silicon Valley.

Today, Productboard is recognized as one of the hottest tech startups, appearing in the 2020 Enterprise Tech 30 list and being named the most valuable startup in the Czech Republic by Forbes Magazine.

One of the biggest moments for Productboard in the past year was raising $72 million in our Series C. We believe this is a testament to the power of product-led organizations, and soon we’ll continue to focus on scaling and building out our presence by opening a new office in Dublin and by growing our Vancouver team.

What is the UX design culture like at Productboard?
We’re proud of our ratio of design system managers to designers at Productboard, which is about 1:18. The designers on our team find it easy to relate to our mission — to create products that matter. They say working here is equal parts exciting, challenging, and rewarding. And they point to a few key reasons why. These include:

The chance to make an impact
Designers see a super fast turnaround between when they work on a feature and when it’s released in the product. “I remember the mixture of excitement and responsibility I felt, knowing that the work I was doing would soon affect the way customers interact with the system,” writes product designer Zdenek Kuncar. “It was intense!”

Empowered teams
At Productboard, designers get direct access to customer feedback and requests, they have opportunities to interview customers, and they can observe customers using the product and examine analytics. This means designers are empowered to make customer-centric decisions.

A collaborative approach
The design team has regular critiques where they give each other feedback on ideas and solutions. They also work closely with company leadership (including CEO Hubert Palan), having weekly sessions where they show wireframes and other artifacts and discuss emerging patterns. Product designer Adam Amran believes this process of sharing early, unpolished ideas is key. He writes, “They often spark great conversations that will help you move forward with decisions. Seeing ideas come to life can also lead to the creation of new approaches or catch any problems that were previously invisible.”  

If you’re interested to hear more from our designers, be sure to check out their blog — they share their professional stories and challenges and offer great insight into what it’s like to work at Productboard.

What trends have you seen of developing digital products in the industry? 
Rather than try to answer that question on my own, I’m going to turn to the wisdom of the product community at large! In partnership with Product Collective, we recently released the 2021 Product Excellence Report based on a survey of 850+ product managers and leaders.

This report offers some significant insights into trends in the digital product world and the way product teams are working. Here are a few of the trends that I find especially noteworthy:

Most teams believe they are catering to customer needs, but few have processes and systems in place to back up those claims.
Cross-functional collaboration is critical and product teams must ensure that valuable insights from other teams across the organization don’t slip through the cracks.

When teams actually take on customer-centric practices like validating user needs and solution ideas, they reap the rewards in terms of well-received products and features.

Productboard started off as a company in the Czech Republic, and has now grown as an international company, including a small office in Vancouver! What about our city has caught your eye, and is there anything you’d like to know about the design community here?
It’s hard not to let Vancouver catch your eye — it’s one of the most beautiful and livable cities in the world! But beyond that, it’s an incredibly exciting place for a tech company with its reputation as Silicon Valley North (don’t tell Toronto), the proliferation of unicorns, there’s a thriving startup ecosystem, a diverse community of people who bring a variety of expertise and strong capabilities. Our office here has been steadily growing and adding people from different teams. Now, in addition to customer success, sales, support, and community team members, we’re expanding to include people from other teams like design, product, and engineering.

For the local design community, we’re curious to hear your tips on where designers congregate and where you find the best new talent. What would you say are the problems and challenges the Vancouver design community, specifically, is facing? And finally: Are you using Productboard, and if not, why not? Because everyone else is! 

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Come meet Productboard at the Vancouver UX Awards on November 18th! 
This year, we’ll be hosting the Vancouver UX Awards both online and in-person (at Earls Yaletown). Get your tickets here to meet Productboard representatives and network with other talented industry professionals that makes up Vancouver’s thriving design community.

Interested in becoming a sponsor?
The Vancouver UX Awards is an event that recognizes the incredible work and contributions created by members of Vancouver’s design community. This would not be possible without the support of our sponsors. Check out our Sponsors page o learn more or become a sponsor.