What people have to say about working with me
March 03, 2021 • 13 min read
I've had the pleasure of working with some great people. I'm humbled by the nice things they've had to say. Here's a collection of quotes. Toot toot.
Table of Contents
Jared, you are our customer-obsessed, strategic product designer extraordinaire. You were the integral part of the engineering, product, and design leadership triumvirate that transformed the Azure Boards’ vision. Valentina and I would have been lost without you. You are the Google of design, team process, and customer-focused thinking. No matter the topic, you always have an idea, a link, or a vision to share.
Steven Borg - Principal Group Program Manager (leadership team colleague)
Jared is a design visionary and fantastic people manager. He loves solving problems and cares deeply about craft. He's the kind of manager you feel lucky to have on your side. He's great at recognizing strengths and creating opportunities. Within an organization going through multiple reorgs with lots of ambiguity, he kept the team grounded and productive, and I felt supported. I'd highly recommend working with him if you ever get the chance.
Brooklyn Brown - Senior Product Designer (direct report)
Jared is a wonderful collaborator and sprint facilitator. He facilitated a highly complex design sprint with cross discipline stakeholders from Teams, Education, and Office to build bridges and provide a foundation for collaboration. His expert facilitation kept the focus on the customer, making sure we solved the right problems. It generated much excitement for the future, not least from our developers who immediately shared sprint mocks with their teams!
Jared has a calm confidence that puts everyone around him at ease, even in the most stressful situations like a huge messy design sprint. His passion for user-centered design comes through in everything he does.
Mila Byrne - Principal Design Manager and UX Lead (colleague)
Jared is an inspiring leader and supportive mentor. He is thoughtful and considerate of the needs of his directs, peers, and users alike. He cares about and values people above all else, and that comes through in everything he does. Even though he is a highly skilled product designer, as a manager, he always gives his team space to learn, grow, and do good work. Consequently, he elevates everyone around him by providing encouragement and focused, well-articulated feedback. He is curious and open-minded, always learning from others and seeking out new insights. As a leader, he listens deeply and isn't afraid to speak up and make decisions when necessary. He advocates for cross-discipline collaboration and effectively aligns organizations around shared values and goals. He is a thought leader—strong opinions loosely held—and he's right… a lot.
Erika Johnson - Product, Interaction & UX Designer (direct report)
If you ever get to work with Jared, you’ll see that he’s from the future. He’s strong at seeing what’s next and keeping on top of trends. He has a talent for seeing the big picture, keeping projects on the rails, and giving just enough feedback to ensure the project is on target while giving designers the space to create. He’s drama free and focuses on what is right for the product and team. He’s a risk-taker, and willing to put himself out there to ensure a project’s success — while seeing all sides of the picture. He’s easy-going, empowering, curious, supportive, and a straight shooter. I’d work with Jared again in a heartbeat. I’m jealous of the people that still get to work with him. If you get the chance — you should work with him too.
Cheryl Hooper - UX Designer (direct report)
Simply put, you're a fantastic collaborator. From my interactions working with you, you're open-minded, an articulate communicator, and incredibly encouraging. You're also an incredible leader and visionary. You know a good idea when you hear it, but at the same time, you know how to gently put a bad idea to rest. Recently, during a meeting, when you were put under pressure to work on something you didn't agree with, I admired how level-headed you were and how you continued to be respectful despite the frustrating circumstances.
PS Thanks for always encouraging me behind the scenes. Whether it's on a presentation or being the only woman in the room, I appreciate it. It goes a long way.
Evangeline Liu - Program Manager (colleague)
You introduced structure and guidance to the design team right after you joined team. This is something that never really worked before, and I really appreciate it. According to our priorities (OKR's), you coordinated the team and made it work on the most important things instead of just picking up whatever looks interesting as it happened before. This way, we had a quite rapid handling of some of critical work.
Daniel Adams - Senior Program Manager (colleague)
I've really valued having you on the team. You've been a really great partner, whether that be executing on some design work, bringing in the power of the group, or having a forward-looking chat about what's possible.
I've really appreciated how you've been able to quickly jump into the problem spaces that have come up over time, provide some design experience to orient us, connect the team with appropriate expertise and even take up some of the design work personally. I've been thankful for your flexibility, depending on the needs of the project or players. We could just have a quick consultation chat and keep moving or engage more deeply.
I've really valued the energy you bring to the leads team to help us challenge our mindset to help us work towards being more competitive, have a better product, and improve how we work. A small but powerful thing here is the sharing and discussion of tweets you find from the community. Continue pushing that way in a way that helps us make the transition from talk to action.
Alex Nichols - Senior Program Manager (colleague)
Jared, you bring great ideas to the team, and you do it with enthusiasm. I've been hearing about design sprints for some time now, but have never had the chance to do one with you. I'm glad that you have continued pushing for this process you believe in. Specific to this effort, you were a great moderator - helping us stay on track and tolerating us bending the rules. That combination of guidance and flexibility is appreciated. Overall, the sprint was a success - we created clarity that was shared by the team, and we exited with a storyboard that we badly needed.
You also do a great job of balancing design principles and pragmatism - as an example, a lot of the GitHub integration work had an aggressive timeline that made is necessary for us to work with many existing, but less than ideal components. You helped us strike a balance between designing new experiences when needed and utilizing existing controls when our ideals were too costly. I really appreciate this mindset, as it helps everyone (PM, design, engineers) put out a product they're proud of when working within the realities of external constraints.
Matt Mitrik - Principal Program Manager (colleague)
You've been an invaluable, customer-focused team member as we built up a vision for a complete relaunch of Azure Boards as a simplified, modernized product. Where we often felt the need to jump to design, or pictures, you pushed back on product to deliver a customer-focused vision that achieves business objectives. When we were looking at what it would mean to change our navigation to reduce "it's confusing" NPS comments, and we found that it was the fundamentals of our product that needed change, you didn't hesitate to drive for the right results for the customer and help advocate on leadership team to put together a vision that would actually be impactful. You also demonstrated this in the face of pressure from your peers on the leadership team to "just start drawing pictures" for modern Azure Boards, and this resulted in us building a stronger muscle around iterative learning going forward.
Over the past few months, you've also done an incredible job of building up a design team with the skills and passion for helping the team build a vision and MVP for Azure Boards. Thanks for being such a fearless leader, and helping us to build a better relationship between the product, design, and engineering teams!
You are a disruptive thinker who is always focused on making sure we are designing/building the right features for the customer. You are continually pointing back at the customer and questioning our assumptions, which makes for a much better user experience and has been invaluable in planning out what the future of Azure Boards could be.
Ali Tai - Program Manager II (colleague)
Jared, I LOVE working with you. You inspire people to think outside of the box. In our ongoing conversations, you challenge me and others to ask tough questions that result in a healthy and collaborative dialogue that moves our products forward. You deliberately bring other perspectives to the table, especially things that are happening outside of Microsoft. I believe these are very valuable.
Romi Koifman - Senior Program Manager (colleague)
Jared is a fantastic design sprint facilitator and product design leader.
Jared facilitated and participated in our design sprint, creating a single product idea we could pitch to leadership. Jared's hard work was evident and was incredibly thoughtful in compressing five days into three. The sprint was extremely dense in communication, focused on the goals, and respectful of our time. I'm sure that everyone who participated valued the experience. Jared's facilitation and contributions were critical to our success.
With a very diverse group, M2 managers, ICs, PMs, dev managers, Jared created an inclusive environment that brought out the best in a large group. We listened to each other, built upon other's ideas, and ultimately developed trust within the team. Recent studies have found that "Trust" is a crucial factor in effective teams.
Jared has talent and empathy for product design. I hope he's able to able to continue to make a significant impact on Microsoft through leading design sprints and facilitating effective design/product/engineering teams.
My question at the end of the sprint was, “How can we scale Jared leading more design sprints at Microsoft?”
I value Jared's empathy, thoughtfulness, and product-driven mind. Jared is a multi-dimensional thinker that is a great leader driving product direction. Jared is authentic and honest.
Edwin Wong - Senior Program Manager (colleague)
I'm a huge fan of Jared Volpe! Jared is a jack of all trades, a very tech-savvy designer, and the best design partner an engineering team could ever have. Engineering leads on my team loved collaborating with him. In addition to his close and productive working relationship with Engineering, Jared also worked very well with Product. He worked with various product managers focused on different verticals for the business and developed a very strong bond with the new VP of Product and as a result, was instrumental in bridging gaps and establishing a shared context for cohesive alignment between the Product and Engineering teams. This contributed to our ability to launch many impactful product capabilities. Jared is also super passionate, honest, and direct with feedback, and he expects the same in return. Because of this, Jared builds and fosters powerful high-trust relationships. I would gladly work with Jared again!
Amy Truong - VP Engineering (reported to)
It was a pleasure working with Jared. He is a really great team player and enjoys contributing to all areas of the company.
He has great energy for brainstorms and design jams and has championed user research for our design team. I enjoyed Jared's collaborative approach to design and found our critique and design sessions together to be really productive and insightful, leaving them knowing what areas of our design to work on and with a bunch of ideas to try out. These were also very enjoyable!
Jared is a versatile and talented designer whose positive energy makes him a joy to work with. I admire his work ethic and motivation for creating experiences that are innovative and usable, and I very much look forward to working with him again.
Daniel Beere - Senior Product Designer at CircleCI (colleague)
Jared is a highly focused and extremely talented front-end UX designer and developer. I had the pleasure of working with him for 9 months at Leap Motion. When I first arrived on the Web Team in September 2013, my first week was rapid-fire. Tracking down the right people, the right resources, and the right direction was chaotic. Jared was one person who continually made sure things were flowing smoothly for me. He made introductions, helped me navigate our codebase, and genuinely cared about my success on the team.
As time passed, I came to see Jared as an inspirational, driven guy that took our first edition App Store to an incredibly high polish level. He spent months continually outlining, pitching, and designing a unified look for our Airspace App Store. He had direct interactions with our engineering team and a great relationship with our CTO. Countless times, he went after unguided user flow improvements, simply because he had extra time and was passionate about our products. This is every manager's dream.
When needed, Jared dares to call out bad design but knows how to balance that with constructive feedback. He also excelled at transforming loose wireframes into highly visual creations. His CSS/HTML work was top-notch, and he had a vast working knowledge of available library choices. Because of Jared's rapid prototyping skills, the Web Team could see visual MVPs before investing engineering time into an effort. All-in-all, Jared is the type of person that will deliver in every situation. I would highly recommend him for teams of all sizes.
Sean Janis - Sr. Software Development Manager (colleague)
👋 Thanks for checking out what people had to say!