Every day since June 2014, I have been working on Bambu. In that time, I have learned a ton about designing and scaling a web-based product from scratch. Our original team of 3 has grown to 18 and counting. It has been an incredible journey and there is still plenty to accomplish. Read on to learn more.

Elevator Pitch

So what is Bambu, who is it for, and what does it do?

Bambu is an enterprise software platform built as a standalone product by a small team at Sprout Social. It is intended for large companies who need an easy-to-adopt and easy-to-use employee advocacy solution. Our customers’ employees are able to login to the Bambu application on their desktop or phone, read content curated by their employer, and share with their personal social network accounts. This improves communication internally and increases the marketing reach of the brand externally.

Our video guy, Jason, created the first of what will hopefully be many videos to help explain the purpose and value of Bambu:

To learn more, check out our marketing site built by my good friend, Cheech.

Role & Responsibilities

As product designer for Bambu, my current primary responsibility is to deliver visual and written assets that define and illustrate new features for Bambu. Every week, I work closely with Gil, Sprout’s Creative Director, and Kris, Bambu’s General Manager, to prioritize, discuss, explore, iterate, present, and review each feature. Once assets are approved, I help support implementation through the engineering and testing phase. I write code, talk shop with our engineers, ask lots of questions, and file plenty of bugs.

Process

An efficient, predictable process is critical to the success of my team since each subsequent phase in our release cycle relies on the assets I create in the design phase. I use Adobe Illustrator, InVision, GitHub, Trello and good ol’ pen and paper to capture and refine my ideas. Each day, I aim to complete three to five substantial tasks with each task restricted to 90 minutes. Each week, I set aside a day for hacking my process, exploring things we haven’t tried before, and working on our design systems. Bill is my design partner in crime when it comes to hacking process, thinking about the future, and getting deep and philosophical about our work.

What’s Next?

Although it hasn’t been a significant part of my role to date, I hope to be more involved with supporting our marketing, sales, and services teams. I believe there is a huge opportunity to invest in internal tools like platform-level dashboards to better understand and support our customers.

I would also love to step into a formal leadership role that focuses on the success of design systems throughout the organization. Initiatives I have taken in the past to establish design patterns and style guides have ultimately failed as these things die when you stop feeding them and I have always had to shift my focus back to short-term priorities. Read about Design Systems Ops for more details on what I mean by this.

Gratitude

I am blessed to work with awesome people everyday. To Gil, Kris, Bill, Sundeep, Matthew, Jordan, Dave, Lorena, Travis, Dex, Greg, Andrew, Josh, Patrick, George, Greg W., Jenny, Dominick, Andre and all the rest of the folks at Sprout, thank you!