Product Design

At Quora, the teams and individuals I supported launched a wide range of features and initiatives across the platform. I supported researchers and designers who worked on the core product, ads platform, video, design system, brand design, and new product areas. The team ranged from 12 to 30 people in my time, and I usually mentored 8 direct reports some of whom were also managers.

Examples of work launched by designers I managed directly:

  • Subscription products (Quora+)

  • Spaces (Quora’s community product)

  • Full width images and video in feed

  • Contact importing

  • New logo & app icon

  • Sign-up wall improvements

  • In-feed surveys

  • Question page

  • and constant A/B tests

Quora’s design team is technical, meaning product designers launch their own experiments and implement their product work. Though I am not technical, the team structure allowed me to effectively manage individual contributors, design leads, and managers. Leads were responsible for the specifics of the product work. I discussed approaches and critiqued early work in 1:1s and later gave feedback in team critiques.

As a manager I focus on autonomy: How effective is this person in their role and in the organization, and how can I help them? I have coached a range of colleagues, from designers in their first year to senior leads and managers. Working together, I’ve learned something from everyone I’ve worked with in my capacity as a manager, peer, or as a report myself.

Product Management

I was asked to step in as the Product Manager for Quora’s Moderation team for six months. The team had too many commitments, not enough people, and low accountability. As the PM I prioritized goals, established structure, and provided stability so leads and individual contributors could make progress towards important goals.

During this time the team was responsible for defining and executing a new policy on profile names that was a massive shift from the policy established when Quora launched. The decision to change was made before I came to the team, so I led the definition of the new policy, aligned stakeholders from executives to individuals, and supported the engineer who led implementation. For another project focused on quality, I set the conditions for successfully rebooting an effort that had been stalled for a year.

Product Copy

I drafted and instituted first ever product copy guidelines for the platform in 2020. I remained responsible for it after launch, frequently consulting and brainstorming with designers, product managers, and engineers.

The product became more consistent in tone and copy, and we increased the use of certain features.

Organizational Design

A significant portion of my time is spent working on the work, or organizational design. I get a lot of fulfillment from operating at a strategic organizational level so things run smoothly and get better for everyone. Many of these examples are areas where I saw a need for improvement without being explicitly asked to take it on.

My goal is always to get an area into good shape and find someone else in the organization (design or otherwise) to step in and own it. This keeps things moving off my plate so I can contribute in other areas and gives other people ownership opportunities, keeping things fresh with new eyes. Timelines for these projects varied from a few months to a few years.

Scaling & Rebuilding

  • Assessed and changed processes and approach to everything from critiques to team culture when the design team doubled in my first two years at Quora.

  • Led recruiting through and after a period of considerable turnover to rebuild the design team.


  • Continuously improved the recruiting process, identified the need for a major overhaul, and guided a new manager report who carried it out.

  • Owned the recruiting and hiring process, protocol, and interview training and calibration.

  • Wrote job descriptions and interview loops in collaboration members of the design and people teams.


  • Collaborated with leadership to restructure the weekly company-wide “All-Hands” meeting.

  • Planned content for the company-wide monthly “Most Hands” meeting.

  • Mentored the engineering manager who re-imagined the annual company hackathon when it became stale.

  • Recruited designers to lead the team’s monthly events so they would be peer-based and develop new leaders.

  • Led writing workshops to support designers who had never written about their work resulting in more diverse public writing from the team.


  • Collected input then wrote (and re-wrote) the leveling and career track for product design three times, keeping it updated as the team and roles shifted. This work became the model for the user research and brand design teams.

  • Initiated cross-functional partnerships to support individual learning: I partnered with leads on the data science team to create a quarter-long program for designers to get better at interpreting and using data to inform product decisions.

  • Launched a number of professional development initiatives: writing workshops, peer-to-peer learning sessions, ramping individuals on interviewing, and cross-functional presentations.

Finance & Budgeting

  • Responsible for the annual headcount and budgeting process for Product Design, User Research and Brand Design.

  • Tracked monthly reports from Finance to ensure we were on budget throughout the year.

© 2023 Giselle Rahn