Jess Martin

⚠️ Warning! This is an in-progress research note exported directly from Jess's note-taking system. The ideas in this note are still under active development.

Last Updated: August 05, 2020

Work Values: How I Like To Work

I value working with

  • a small and focused team that
  • works closely together,
  • respecting, encouraging, and challenging one another,
  • where everyone’s input is welcome,
  • and important decisions are made by consensus

to build a product that

  • is thoughtfully designed,
  • actually solves a user’s problem,
  • and is aligned with the organization’s objectives


  • creatively discovering the core of the problem,
  • building a minimal first version,
  • letting users validate as soon as possible,
  • and iterating by responding to user’s feedback.

Let me flesh these points out a little bit.

Working with a team...

small and focused

No more than 10 people, focused on maintaining internal unity. The team succeeds as a group rather than as individuals.

that works closely together

Talking every day, pairing where it makes sense, and in constant communication.

respecting, encouraging, and challenging one another

Speaking the truth lovingly, reflecting constructively in order to improve, and challenging patterns that threaten the success of the project.

where everyone's input is welcome

Different opinions are welcomed and everyone is expected to contribute in their areas of expertise.

and important decisions are made by consensus

Consensus does not necessarily mean unanimous agreement. Crucial decision points are communicated clearly to interested parties. Prior to making a final decision, seek first to understand one another. Then, arrive at a compromise. The person in the "tie-breaker" role should be clearly identified. In cases of disagreement, they still make the final decision, explaining their reasoning for doing so.

To build a product...

that is thoughtfully designed

The design and experience of the product are considered carefully, with an appropriate emphasis on form and function, as the problem dictates.

actually solves a user's problem

Addresses a specific person's or group's problem with a solution that makes their life better in some way.

and is aligned with the organization's objectives

The product is appropriate for the organization to build at this time based on their strategic vision (as long as the organization's goals are not evil) and tactical strength and forwards the goals of the organization.


creatively discovering the core of the problem

Utilizing appropriate creative processes to define the problem and to propose a potential solution.

building a minimal first version

Building only what is necessary to validate whether the proposed solution solves the user's problem and that the problem has been correctly defined.

letting users validate as soon as possible

Involving users as early as possible in the definition of the problem, the crafting of a solution, and the vetting of the first version. Always courting the user, recognizing their integral role as an ever-present, but often invisible team member.

and iterating by responding to user feedback

Seeking to learn from each release by gathering the data necessary to adapt the solution or the problem definition based on user feedback and behavior.

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