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Ways We Work

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Rob Hayes

Partner and Strategist at Heist Design

What do you do?

Partner and Strategist at Heist Design. We work with companies to solve their business problems by designing solutions for their customer’s problems.

What mobile device do you use?

I use an iPhone 5, and a Nexus 7 as an attempt to familiarize myself with Android.

Best way to stay on top of email?

What I do is far from the best way. Typically, I skim them as they come in, and if it requires anything more than a one-sentence reply, I will mark them as unread. When I have a chunk of free time, I will find the answer required and attempt to provide an intelligent response.

Top five applications or programs?

Trello – A simple project management tool that allows our design and strategy teams to manage their own work without the need for a PM.

Rdio – Putting my headphones on is the only way I can focus for any sustained period of time without distraction.

Pocket – Our team reads compulsively, so there are dozens of articles/blogs/stories shared each day. They will go straight into my Pocket to be read before I go to bed or on the streetcar in the morning. It’s the only way I can keep up on my reading.

Sketch – I’m not a designer, but I’m trying to learn the basics so I can speak intelligently about it. Sketch has a much shallower learning curve than Photoshop/Illustrator does, and is much more usable for the layman.

Google Calendar – Keeps my life organized.

What is your best time-saving trick?

In our client work, we will run stakeholder sketch sessions to kickoff any project sprint. With all team members together in the same room, we will run through a series of sketch exercises to get everyone’s ideas down on paper.

For our design team, this provides dozens of free ideas before we get started. For our stakeholders, this allows them to have their voices heard upfront, and to see their ideas reflected in the designs. Because everyone is involved in the co-creation of a sprint’s designs, we avoid the need for approvals and fair amount of feedback.

This saves us a tremendous amount of time because we are focused on the customer-facing design work, and not on doing work about work.

Favourite productivity tool?

Our team leans heavily on Slack for our day-to-day operation. The ability to chat and send files really cuts down on the amount of emails that go back and forth between the team.

More than once, Slack has been referred to as our company command line. The ability to integrate with so many other tools and allows us to automate many of the daily functions of our team.

Need something bought for the office? Add #buy to your comment and its added to our Google Doc shopping list.

One non-tech thing you can't live without?

My bike. Anything that allows me to avoid taking the TTC to get around Toronto is a hero in my eyes.

Structure of your typical day, how do you divide your time?

Like most others on this site, each day is usually different from the last. My mornings generally start by catching up any work-related news, giving Twitter a quick scroll through, and recapping last night’s Jays/Leafs/Raps game, before hopping into a short project team standup meeting.

After that, each day really is different depending on what we need to get done. There is often an hour or two spent planning for a project or the business as a whole. By noon, there will be a 15-minute Slack debate over where we should go for lunch. This conversation will end up being useless, and we will begrudgingly go to Freshii for the third time this week.

Afternoons are spent doing some combination sketching, meetings, writing and planning.

What does your workspace look like?

Who would you like to see featured on Ways We Work?

I’d like to see Pearl Chen featured here. She is a teacher/technologist/writer we’ve had the pleasure of working with previously. She manages to fit more into a day than most do in a week.