How I manage to work on two startups at once

I find it tough to make people understand about my work, mostly because of working at two companies distributedly. When people ask me “Where do you work?” The answer usually is “I work at two companies named Dingi & Cookups.” Then the whooing, wowing and whatnot starts. I manage to explain them with my time & day distribution. Eventually, they get it and think its like normal one place work, just in a different way. But Only I understand that it’s more than that. Managing two products distributedly is a bit more challenging than your regular job. This article is about facing those challenges for any of you who are trying to face the two-face(pun! anyone?) challenge like me.

FYI, Dingi and Cookups both are startups based in Dhaka, Bangladesh. Both have a small team & different vision. Dingi is working on making life better with state of the art location services & Cookups provides home cooked food in your doorsteps. As they both have small tech teams, I am the only designer in both companies,

The Problem

Managing two products at once might seem easy in the first place. I assumed it as well. When I was working in a digital agency (Beatnik Designs) I used to work on multiple projects at once. I thought, this time it won’t be an exception. But in case of a digital agency, the product or the project is based on clients requirement and description. The usual work at a digital agency is mostly digitizing the client’s company or redesigning the digital infrastructure of the client’s company. I am not saying that there is no other work in digital agencies. But mostly you get to solve the client’s problem. But in the startups, products are more unique and the target market is a much bigger part of people or multiple enterprises. We solve the problems that have never been solved before. Also, when the focus is much larger demographic, we have to take a lot of things into consideration. We run usability tests continuously to find out the customers problem.

Also as I mentioned earlier. The products of two companies are totally different, Which makes my work much harder.

Then there is the memory problem. I work at Dingi 3 days per week & I work at Cookups 2 days per week. I usually forget about what I was working on after few days of working on another project. So, When I came back to the first project, finding out about things with a fast-paced development team is also a bit tougher for me.

The Solution

You might be wondering that if there is so much problem then why I am still working in two companies? Is it the money?

Well, the answer is no. I work as a UX Designer because of my passion. I still manage to do work at 2 companies and solve their problem keeping the fast-paced development team happy & not blocking their work. How? Here is the answer, ( Which might help you at your regular work as well)

1. Team Co-Operation
This wouldn’t be possible without Team Co-Operation. They always keep the work prioritized and keeps the pipeline going. So, when I am at one office after 5 days, I always find myself assigned to new tasks & lot more things to do. Both teams cooperate with me and make my work more manageable.

Shout out to Team Cookups & Team Dingi (yeey)

2. Employer’s Flexibility
Thanks to my amazing employers to allow me working with flexibility. Managing two works would be much tougher without the flexibility. They offer me amazing workspaces, working environment and flexibility to work from home. Also, weekly sprint meeting timing is there as well.

A lot of Bangladeshi companies and/or employers become designers when it comes to giving feedback. They sometimes take illogical decisions and we have to work based on that(You know how boring it is and how you feel). Although I’ve planned for writing an article to manage and handle this type of buyers.(So stay tuned for that). But in case of my employers, They Both believe in discussion, real-life tests and understands logic. This makes me feel much confident & stress-free while working.

You might be wondering While Talking about my employers I am always saying both. Are they the same person? of course not. But they both are professional and amazing in case of work.

3. Fast Paced Technology and Workflow
When I got my hands on Sketch & its plugins, I found out my old workflow with photoshop was much slower and boring.(I was a sketch hater once, just because they don’t provide support for windows. Still, I blame them for it though).So, I fully moved to sketch after a while. Things like Craft , Invision, Zeplin, Sketch-Measure, Runner Made workflow much faster and quick.

Not all of my teammates have a mac. So for an amazing front-end workflow with sketch Zeplin or Sketch Measure is must have. (Those who are asking for not transitioning to sketch because of the developer’s Windows or Linux, Please give these a try)

Also, there is Craft for content & Image. And Sketch Runner is an amazing tool. “Spotlight for Sketch” (In my opinion)

For managing things and transitioning I keep two excel files for my own task management. Also, there is Jira for the team.

Conclusion

If you are competent & confident enough, working on two companies shouldn’t be a problem. But try to stay focused on one thing at once. When I am at Dingi, I usually don’t think about Cookups workload and when I am at Cookups, It’s the other way around. The benefit of this type of work is gaining experience of developing two products in less time, which will help you to be a better designer in a short timespan.

That’s all for today folks.Thanks for reading my vague(I know I use this word in every article.LOL) Article. See you next time. Let me know your questions in the comments if you have any.

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