My 2nd Anniversary at Avaloq

It’s been 2 months already since I’ve hit my 2-year mark in Avaloq. It’s been the best 2 years of my professional career by far — seeing the team in Manila grow from 7 to 13, supporting the promotion of 3 designers, hearing about how our visual designers have grown their skills towards UX design — all these just makes me grateful for being with a supportive team. I’m able to perform well with them and all their achievements are based on their hard work and are well-deserved. Props to the global product design team, especially in Manila!

This year is memorable because I got the chance to meet most people in the local teams that I work with. This became possible because it became relatively safer to meet each other face-to-face. During our team buildings, I felt like I was meeting up with old friends due to the fact that I already met with them frequently through video calls.

Avaloq Philippines 2022
A collage of Avaloq Philippines team buildings in 2022. Top left: Product Development & Design Manila; top right: Product Design Manila; bottom left: Avaloq Philippines Management; bottom right: during a birthday celebration at the office.

Still wearing 3 hats

About me on one hand — how have I grown from the previous year? I thrive in my role as a line manager with our regular 1:1s that give us opportunity to touch base with each other, to have that constant support in regards to each individual’s work experience in Avaloq. In the recent months, HR had launched a better process for employee career growth and salary review — these topics, we openly discuss in our bilas. Being able to connect with designers on a more personal level is something that I find valuable in a line manager’s role.

On the other hand, I’ve also grown in my role as a DesignOps lead, focusing on capacity planning. Sure, there were bumps along this road (and will always have) and for each one, my manager was there to support me. Take for example when I first saw the annual budget spreadsheet, I must admit that I was intimidated by the complex facade of it. I put it off until I was forced to face it with less working time. Looking back, this was one of my lowlights. I struggled to communicate early and frequently with other leads. Consequently, with little time frame, I found it even more challenging to schedule meetings wherein most of them were available. Supposedly, as the glue that supports everyone together, my performance in this area was watery.

My Avaloq Roles in 2022
A diagram showing Brian Dys’ Avaloq roles in 2022

On the bright side, I was able to share these challenges with my manager and he helped me by listening and advising. I’m managing it better and proactively evangelizing DesignOps to the whole team, one step at a time. My lesson is to look for people who can help and ask for their help.

When the going gets tough with those two main roles, I ramp down in my individual contributor role — yes, I also help out in the mobile and web banking product teams. This opportunity keeps my product design chops well-oiled, so to speak. In a ramp down manner, I would be supporting the team on a high level — helping them make better decisions and communicate better with stakeholders.

Juggling three different roles sounds a lot, and it is. With better work management, I am able to take a step back, have a down time and think strategically.

What’s next?

Recruitment is a priority, not for replacements but for growth. What excites me is the fact that we’re looking for ways to support junior designers in the Manila team. I see the value in the unique kind of drive to learn and contribute that budding designers have — and that will be an awesome addition to our team.

Avaloq Product Design Locations 2022
A screenshot of Google Maps showing the different locations of the Avaloq product design team in 2022.

What floats my design boat?

Well-roundedness, is one. As you could have read, I’m moonlighting as a freelance designer since way back college. In this avenue comes various types of design work — from corporate identities, to websites, to apps, to yearbooks, and what have you. I’m also mentoring designers, especially those who are at the early start of their UX journeys. These endeavors are a symbiosis with my day job in which one enriches the other.

To cap it off, all of the things that I love doing prepares me for my dream to help, design-wise, in the digital delivery of public service in my home country, Philippines. I’m looking forward into the not-so-far future of a more efficient and more accessible online government services for Filipinos. Think GOV.UK design system for Philippines, as a start.

Stay strong, mga repapips! 👊

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