(Remote, Full Time, Anywhere)
(USD 55-80K annually - see compensation plan details below)
PLEASE NOTE: This is not a UX designer or a UI designer position. This position is primarily concerned with the functional design of the software solution and is focused on making business applications that meet business requirements. Ability to figure out how to create a functional solution is most important in this job. Good UX skills are also necessary for the position but they are secondary.
We are a company that makes custom software solutions for small businesses with complex operational flow. The purpose of our software solutions is to automate parts of their business operations by having the software solutions either completely automate the execution of various business tasks or automate the organization, delegation or management of such tasks. These solutions are custom and are composed of internal business systems (such as heavily customized and functionally extended by us CRM and ERP systems) combined with the external systems (such as client portals) and various back end connections that allow to interact with external parties as needed.
The product designer in our company is an individual who makes functional software decisions for each of our projects, designs and defines all of the functionality and how it needs to be carried out based on the well defined business requirements and detailed business processes that are put together and documented by our business consulting team. The designs produced by the product designer are also serving as functional specification for the software engineering team that builds the software solution based on these functional designs. As such the product designer is fully responsible for all functionality of the software solution they are in charge of and it is their job to make sure that the produced solution fully meets the business requirements and ends up doing the business job.
We are looking for responsible people who are genuinely interested in designing quality working and functioning software products and want to work in our no-nonsense environment focused on production and results with straightforward management and rewards for meaningful completed production.
Context of the Job
About the Company
Deep Consulting Solutions ("DCS") is a provider of high quality automation solutions for small businesses in custom manufacturing and concierge services industries. Our clients have businesses that require a lot of decisions to be made for servicing each of their clients and a lot of manual work has to be done in order to deliver their offering because their services are very personalized to each client. They have trouble growing their operations as it is hard to control these complicated services at scale and without effective supervision they will not be able to provide high quality. What we offer them is the ability to have automation do the supervision and management of the work that needs to be done (by deciding what needs to be done, instructing the employee what to do and then monitor completion), and in some cases carry out the work itself (when tasks can be entirely carried out by software, such as collect and process information) removing or lowering the dependency on humans in the process.
We deliver these automations by creating a custom software solution for each client based on the situation of their business and what will make sense for it. The produced software solution itself is a custom solution that combines several pieces of software such as CRM and ERP systems used for internal organization and processing in the business (which we heavily customize and extend functionally to accommodate our business requirements), custom applications (such as web portals for clients, vendors, partners, etc.) connected to them, and various integrations with third party solutions used in the business process (e.g. data sources, payment gateways, etc.). The overall solution works like a well coordinated integrated system and executes the needed business processes and requirements well and effectively.
In our delivery model, we put a very high emphasis on proper separation of responsibilities and division of labor. We make very clear the distinction between business model and business process decisions, functional software decisions, and technical decisions and we delegate each of them to separate kinds of professionals.
Before we start making any software solutions, our business consulting team will carry out an extremely thorough study of the business operations of the client and build out a detailed business model of their company. The business consulting team will evaluate the business, lay out the business improvements to be implemented by DCS and then create detailed business models and processes which would have all of these business improvements implemented into the actual business process, with all the business model issues sorted out, and detailed business requirements formulated for the software solution that is to be added to this new set of business processes, laying out precise logic and making all the decisions about any unclear business processes. This package of business processes and requirements is thoroughly reviewed and also verified with the DCS client to make sure that fully relevant requirements are formulated for the software team and that no significant ambiguities or requirement changes will need to follow. Only when everything is cleared and approved is the business requirement package passed to the software solution making.
The software solution then is made.
First, the functional design team (consisting of Product Designers assigned to the project) evaluates business requirements and makes sure all is clear and then proceeds to make a detailed functional design of the entire solution, which is carried out through our multi-step process beginning with a high level concept and ending up with highly detailed designs with fully defined functional logic and production ready wireframes. The process also incorporates well-defined review points and involves both the business consulting team to verify business requirements match and the software engineering team to make sure that technically the most sensible and feasible solution is chosen. The process is designed to minimize the need for any refactoring or changes to produced designs and is supposed to catch errors or misunderstandings early on. On completion, the final product is reviewed and approved to go to the engineering team for build.
The engineering team then builds the software solution based on these designs, and should any issues arise during the build process, the engineers will escalate them to the Product Designers and resolve them as needed. The design documentation is also used by Quality Assurance team to test and compare the solution to ensure successful build by the engineering team. Once engineers finish their build, the software solution is tested and assessed for its durability with all bugs subsequently fixed. On completion of build and testing, the Product Designers themselves will assess the solution and approve that the build met all of their expectations.
Following that, our business consulting team will plan the business rollout of the solution, once the client approves the implementation. The functional design and engineering team will then be required to carry out the needed steps in the process (e.g. plan information transfer, etc.) such that a functional solution will be implemented.
Role of Product Designer
As described above, the Product Designer is responsible for the functional design of the solution and is expected to figure out the most effective way to functionally meet the business requirements using available technologies, using both custom software developments and the readily available platforms we use which include ERP and CRM systems (we primarily rely on solutions by Zoho for this) along with some niche platforms for the special technical tasks (such as payment gateways, data sources, document generators, etc.). This encompasses both the front end visual functionality and the back end logic functionality. The Product Designer needs to work with the engineering team to make sure that their design will be technically implementable and sensible (the Product Designer does not do any technical development or coding but needs to fully understand how the software functions both on the front end and on the back end from a logical perspective to be able to make effective designs).
The Product Designer needs to make sure the solution is functionally sensible and simple, meets the needed business requirements in a correct business process, has sufficiently good UX for its context (i.e. customer facing parts have higher UX needs than internal and admin parts), and will be implementable in the business context as explained by the business consulting team. All decisions regarding this are the responsibility of the Product Designer and there is nothing else distracting the Product Designer - business requirements making and gathering is done by the business consulting team and well documented before the project starts and there is no need to deal with constant requirement changes or constantly go back and forth in client meetings. The only other major consideration the product designer needs to make is that for the technical difficulty of the solution - it is preferred, when possible, to use one of our platforms (such as CRM or ERP or other solutions) or one of our reusable products (we make reusable libraries and components of common functionality for internal project use) such that there will be less development to carry out and solution will be easier to maintain - however, the priority is always to meet requirements and to deliver high quality, saving engineering effort is secondary and if any conflict between the two arises, the Design Supervisor decides and assumes responsibility for decision - leaving the Product Designer with the key responsibility to deliver high quality solutions that meet the requirements of the business with available technologies.
Ways to Be Successful
The Product Designer will be assessed by the quality of solutions produced and by the timeliness and effectiveness of execution. Product Designers who show very good quality at a detailed level consistently and at the same time organize themselves successfully in such a way that they optimize their work for most results are valued by the company. The Product Designer's solutions speak for themselves, but they also need to be backed up by effective conduct that enables effective production within DCS's conduct - careful planning and effective organization of the process is essential to be successful in the role long term, of course quality still being most important.
Requirements to Candidates
- Ability to thoroughly understand of how a given piece of software works functionally - understanding how software solutions functionally operate and being able to break down the various processes involved in the functionality of a given piece of software is essential for being able to create workable solutions that follow a defined logic. Technical background can help here but is not required, however strong logical reasoning is essential.
- Ability to properly define software features and other functional requirements - an essential component of the job is to define functionalities of the software and being able to define them properly and correctly is a necessary skill.
- Good understanding of what an acceptable User Experience is in the given context and ability to implement it in the interactions with users - software solutions we make interact with a lot of different users (company staff, clients, partners, vendors, etc.) and it is essential to make sure that the user experience during the interaction is acceptable for the given situation (note that we say "acceptable" not "perfect" - in many contexts perfect or extremely beautiful user experience isn't necessarily required in each interaction, at minimum the software solution's user must at all times be clearly informed of what the situation is and what they are supposed to in the business process or what is needed from them, however in some interaction settings (such as customer portals for example) higher UX standard is expected with a higher need for visual cleanliness and appeal).
- Attention to the smallest details and ability to break everything down to smallest pieces and steps - details are critical in this business as there are many fine business requirements that need to be considered and many functional parts that need to be incorporated into a software solution. A person doing this job needs to be able to keep track of small details and effectively combine small details to make big functional solutions that can meet all of the various small requirements.
- Good documentation skill - since everything produced by the Product Designer is then used by the engineering team as functional designs for the solution and effectively as its production blueprint, it is absolutely essential that the person doing this job be able to document designs effectively and deliver them in an easily understandable and easy to break down process.
We are a No-BS small business. The company has a little over 15 staff members working remotely all over the world and the owner is very heavily involved in running the business - there are no departments, little-to-no middle management, and thus no managers' egos that need to be appeased - bottom line, the job needs to get done and the deliverables need to be produced to a high quality and the production is all that matters - and that production is closely monitored by the business owner and is then used to evaluate employees and make decisions about them - the owner rewards effective producers and penalizes or expels ineffective ones. The following is expected of every single member of the organization:
- Good self management and self organization - there is no micromanagement provided in this job and people who need to be micromanaged to get something done can't work here;
- Acceptance of responsibility for one's actions - this is a tight business and it is expected that you will fulfill your promises and be willing to be held responsible if you don't;
- Ability to handle feedback in an effective way - this business is focused on results and is not about "touchy feelings" - your work will be assessed based on its relevance and you will be provided honest and clear feedback on your work that will reflect its quality and will not be sugar coated - if you get easily offended by criticism please don't apply;
- Ability to manage your emotions and personal life effectively - as mentioned above, there is little middle management and no "nanny-like" HR managers in this company who take care of employees' feelings and emotions - this is a professional organization that produces deliverables and that's what it does - you are expected to take care of your emotional business in your personal life and treat this work professionally - and while we do welcome passion and excitement, we expect mature adults in this organization capable of managing themselves;
- Ability to persevere and get things done - the projects here are quite big and complicated and resilience is required to complete them - we employ and value people who can get things done and complete to the end.
- Fully Remote anywhere in the world;
- Freely Arranged Schedule - you arrange your own schedule as you please and negotiate the need to meet with other team members if necessary between you and them as needed - the expected results from you is agreed upon production and that is what the business cares about;
- Regular Evaluation of Performance By Results Only - your production is assessed by the business owner of Deep Consulting Solution, feedback appropriate is given on a regular basis, and if you deliver good results, you position yourself to get bonuses and raises.
- No Useless Meetings or other appeasement-based activities - our organization works on results basis and does not get paid for hosting useless meetings or carrying out unnecessary show like activities in front of clients. The company also isn't paid per hour or any other time related measure. The company is paid for completed projects only and offers satisfaction guarantee on its projects (i.e. the company doesn't get paid if client isn't satisfied with the quality), hence all we are interested is in getting the project done well and as quickly as possible - thus we do not make our employees do pointless things just for the purpose of client appeasement.
Compensation Plan Details
Regular Annual Pay of USD 55-80K which consists of:
- Base Salary which is paid out every month twice per month ranging USD 45-63K annually;
- Monthly Base Bonus where a monthly equivalent is accumulated in a bonus fund every month for the duration of the project you are working on - at the end of the project the fund is paid out - ranging USD 10-17K annually - conditional on you delivering the project successfully.
An exact offer will be given to the successful candidate upon completing the hiring process based on assessed candidate's ability as evaluated. Above ranges given based on assumption of Middle and Senior candidate levels.
Highly effective and result producing performance can merit additional bonuses. Hired staff is regularly evaluated with appropriate adjustments to pay if applicable. Exceptional and proven staff can get higher responsibilities as the company grows potentially including management functions which will be rewarded accordingly.
- Job Application Form.
- Online pre-screening skills assessment - self-administered.
- Short Interview.
- Practical Test Assignment.
- Evaluation of Assignment and Hiring Decision.
Q: Are specific UI Skills Required for this job?
A: Not really. While basic wireframe making skills are needed for the job along with the skills listed above in the Candidate Requirements section, the actual graphical UI specific skills (such as making icons, buttons, fields, shades, edges, etc..) won't be necessary for this. For our front ends we use readily made UI Libraries such as Material UI and we pretty much exclusively use pre-made components. It allows us to accomplish the needed results and should any need for custom UI making or UI arrangement arise, our front end software engineers are perfectly capable of making elegant and workable UIs. If we somehow will need to get some really well made custom UI (hasn't happened yet), we can always hire a freelance UI expert to aid on a project. This job is concerned with functionality primarily and with user experience secondarily - it is not concerned with UI making.
Q: Does the job involve meeting clients?
A: No (with very small exceptions). As mentioned in the Delivery Process section, the business analysts carry out all the requirements formulation that is done based upon their study of the client business and generally it is the business analyst who plans the implementations and coordinates most client related engagements regarding the project (with the rest being done by DCS Owner). The Product Designer is thus free to focus on the making of the solution and doesn't get distracted by client engagement or changing requirements (as all requirements are clear upfront). The only rare case when a Product Designer may participate in a client meeting is when presenting a design to the client to get feedback (which is what we do in some projects before passing designs to engineering team, although by far not in all of them as usually the business requirements and processes are clear enough and there is no need for soliciting design feedback from clients and thus no need to spend time on this) - in this rare case the interaction with the client will be led either by the business analyst or DCS Owner, and the Product Designer will be one of the participants of the meeting and will act as an expert of the matters of the solution designed.
Q: If everyone is remote and all over the planet, how are meetings arranged?
A: So far we haven't had any problems coordinating with everybody's schedules to get the project done. We do not have large corporate meetings going on every day (which are almost always useless in companies that have them), and the only structured meeting that the Product Designers attend is a meeting that is held twice a week on Monday and Friday to coordinate the actions of the design team and the engineering team and check in on open issues. Outside of that, the only meetings that exist for Product Designers are those that arise ad-hoc for project specific needs when something needs to be discussed or clarified and cannot be resolved through text chat or comments and those are set whenever people who need to meet agree to meet. Most communication is handled through written channels and it works very well for everyone.