Product discovery at its best develops a deep connection to the customer, by engaging them directly and interviewing them expertly. While discovery is not to be confused with formal research study, it requires some of the same skills. And a certain mindset that can be honed with self-awareness and a little practice.

A Tale of Two Product-led Discoveries

Marty Cagan, the leader of the Silicon Valley Product Group, preaches to product owners everywhere. If your company has ever hired an SVPG trainer to speak to your Product org, chances are it led to an immediate uptick in discovery conversations with users.

In one such company, SVPG trained the company’s Product and UX teams together, plus some Dev leaders. Two very different behaviors emerged following the conclusion of this training.

One product manager perma-camped in glass conference rooms, calling customer after customer after customer, week after week. The glass walls were not particularly soundproofed, which meant the cross-functional team…

I resolved to step out of my comfort zone in 2021 and start sharing my thoughts as a leader outside of my company. My goal is to give voice to the underrepresented, as a minority working mother and introvert leader in tech, and use these experiences to strengthen my own thinking.

So when Jay Melone of New Haircut asked if he could interview me for his video series on design sprints, I was energized and took my first step towards my resolution.

[Transcript from New Haircut interview by Jay Malone on January 19, 2021]

Jay: Mina Jonsson is the Head…

One day, I realized that I belonged to the 23.1% of moms in my state who have exclusively breastfed their babies to the 6-month mark. Of these moms, roughly 45% (based on this and this) are working full-time. If you only filter in the tech industry, my rough guess is that I might actually be in a group of 5% or smaller of the total mom demographic. And as I’m writing this and approaching my 1-year milestone of exclusive breastfeeding, that percentage is even smaller.

This chart helps to depict the rate at which breastfeeding drops off in the first 6 months of a child’s life.

Why is this group so small? Because exclusive breastfeeding while working full-time is, for reasons…

In 2010, Obama’s Affordable Care Act updated the Fair Labor Standards Act, providing a year of protection for new moms who express breastmilk throughout the work day. There are two main components to this protection: private pumping space and reasonable breaks.

For those who aren’t savvy about the mechanics of nursing, breastmilk must be expressed throughout the day to keep a mother’s milk supply at a level that can sustain her baby. While formula is an acceptable and popular feeding choice, breastmilk provides added benefits to both baby and mom’s health and emotional well-being.

“Investing in a dedicated space for…

What makes a bigger impact on your colleagues — the first weeks at your new job, or the last weeks at the job you’re exiting?

First impressions are important, but last impressions…will leave the most lasting impression. — Shep Hyken, customer service oriented speaker with the amazing title of “Chief Amazement Officer”

First impressions open doors in your immediate future, but last impressions have the potential to help your career for years to come. There’s no shortage of advice on how to find the right job, but people seldom speak openly about how to leave one.

I was glad to…

8 tips to help you emerge from your next design presentation feeling energized

Whether you’re a UX designer, visual designer, or product manager, you’ve probably had to present design work. Sometimes you emerge feeling stronger than ever about your design solution, or inspired by a new revelation. And sometimes your mind goes into overdrive devising a quick design pivot while tracking a giant hairball of open questions.

Here are some methods and tips I’ve picked up over the years that can help place your average design critique experience somewhere between the first two outcomes:

1. Pre-discuss. If your developer and product manager haven’t seen your designs by the time you all enter the…

This past holiday season, Dustin Senos set into motion the awesome Holiday Office Hours (or as I called it to myself, HOH). HOH encouraged tech professionals mentor others during slower weeks in December. I signed up to mentor as soon as I heard about it and set aside a bunch of 30-minute time slots to meet people either in-person or over video chat. My schedule filled up at a furious rate. I was a little freaked out, but I got amped and started hosting my first office hours.

Meeting with new people is best over coffee and a snack.

I mentor designers and entrepreneurs on the regs, but this experience felt…

Mina Jonsson (she/her)

Adventures in UX research & design. Mina established and leads ADP Next Gen’s research practice. Identifies as a working mother and introvert leader.

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