What is your 30-60-90-day plan?

I was recently asked this question in an interview. What would your answer be? I’d like to share what my answer was for the 30-60-90 day plan for a Senior UX Designer or Product Designer role. As you read this you might think I’m a lunatic and that you might approach this differently than I did. Or perhaps you might find a few nuggets that can help you answer this question with confidence and score that juicy design role you’ve been after. Let’s find out…

First, a little context

I applied for a new Senior Design role and I had to do a take-home design task. Part of the task was to tell my potential employer what I would do in the first 3 months after joining the team. Lucky for me, it was part of my take-home design challenge. I didn’t have to answer the question on the spot. Normally, I have a good idea of what to do during the first 3 months. However, in this case, I have to define my strategy and communicate it clearly to my potential employer.

Thankfully, there was some time to ponder what I would do. And yes, I Googled the heck out it to see what other people are saying about the 30-60-90 day topic. I imagine this question can easily be asked in an interview where hiring managers will expect a thoughtful answer. Yikes!

I think this is a brilliant question. It totally makes sense from a business perspective. Employers want to see a return on investment in the shortest time possible. Or reach that breakeven point where the value you provide is equal to the investment they’ve made in you. That makes sense, right? However, a slight conundrum is brewing.

A slight conundrum for Product Designers

Here’s the conundrum. Product Designers and UX Designers will struggle to produce much value unless we have a really good understanding of the business, the product, its customers and the competitive landscape. Acquiring a deep meaningful understanding of all these business aspects takes time. Product Designers have to learn, document and reflect on all these aspects of the business while building relationships with team members and key stakeholders in the organisation.

In the meantime, back at the ranch, your employer might be starting to wonder where all lovely flows, wireframes and UI designs are. Those engineers need to get cracking on the next amazing feature!

See the conundrum?

My take on this question was to first unpack and determine what my potential employer is really asking. That simple little question is so loaded. In a manner of speaking, its intent is to sift the wheat from the chaff. Here’s why…

What your potential employer wants to know is:

  • Do you at least have a plan of action to provide value?
  • How soon will you be able to contribute and provide value?
  • What’s your situational and self-awareness like?
  • Are you a strategic thinker?
  • Have you thought about our business and how you can make an impact?
  • How are you going to set yourself up for success?

My 30-60-90 day strategy for Senior Product Designers

Again, I have to provide some context. My 30-60-90 day plan was created for my specific context. Your context might be very different. In my case, the employer is hiring their very first in-house Senior Product Designer. I imagine that your first 3-month plan might look quite different for different kinds of Product Design roles. My plan might look quite different if I applied for a Product Design position at a Product Design agency, a start-up or a large corporate institution with an existing design team

In a nutshell, this is my strategy – I would start looking at the low-hanging fruit to make as much business impact in the short term. While also looking ahead into the future and developing strategies to imbed design thinking in product decisions that support the business goals. The first 30 days would be about listening. Up until my 60 days, it would be about assessing. Up until 90 days, I would start challenging the status quo and taking ownership of initiatives to contribute strategically to business operations and Product Design.

1st Month – First 30 days

Listen & Learn

Listen, capture and reflect on what others say

In the first 30 days, I would make it my priority to get a high-level strategic perspective of the business. I’d probably spend most of my time speaking to people and stakeholders and casually or formally interviewing them about their perspectives, where they see the biggest challenges in the business and where design can provide the most value. Equally important to understanding the business is building rapport with your new team members and stakeholders.

First 30 days checklist

  • The best place to start in my opinion to review and understand the business vision, mission and goals.
  • The next thing is to understand the product, the digital landscape, the product strategy, and the product challenges.
  • During your interviews with stakeholders find out what success looks like – What are the KPIs and OKRs that matter?
  • Find out where you can get the best existing research or insights about customers or users. Was any user research conducted? What analytics are available? Review and reflect on it and ask questions about the research.
  • Gain an understanding of the business landscape and competitors as soon as possible. If it’s possible, see if you can conduct competitor benchmarking. This will help you get domain knowledge and help you develop the vocabulary in this domain.
  • Review and get a sense of the current state of design assets, design processes and design tooling.
  • Try to get a sense of the company’s design maturity and start documenting this to track future progress.
  • Partner with product and engineering to fully understand the roadmap, and learn about what experiences or features they plan to work on in the short and long-term
  • Secure early wins by helping to identify any low-hanging fruit where design can deliver value early in the process.
  • Very important – Clarify development and performance goals with your manager for the next 90 days


  • UX or Competitor benchmarking (Strategic value)
  • Business & product understanding (Enablement)
  • Discover early wins (Adding value)
  • Goal setting (Strategic value)
2nd Month

Assess & Plan

Evaluate the current product experience

60 days checklist

  • With key information from your first 30 days, you might be in a good position to participate in strategic planning and meetings. Still, I’d be more in a listen-and-learn mode.
  • This one may be tough to pull off. But you should do your utmost to speak to customers by doing user interviews, contextual enquiries or perhaps user testing. This will help you identify the customer’s points of view and pain points and enable you to contribute and prioritise what to work on next.
  • In my context, I’d be the first internal designer and with the knowledge gained so far, I can possibly contribute to the way the company agrees on how to develop products.
  • Formulate a plan to increase or contribute to the organisation’s design maturity.
  • Assess and prepare a plan for appropriate design tooling and building out design assets.
  • Continue to clarify development, performance goals and success criteria with your manager.


  • Customer research report (Strategic value)
  • Help define what to build (Strategic value)
  • Design tooling & methods (Design process & craft)
  • Goal setting (Strategic value)
3rd Month

Plan & contribute

Actively contribute to the delivery of projects

Start producing design assets and product solutions

90 days checklist

  • With some customer research in hand, it might be a good idea to develop user personas to highlight user goals, behaviour, pain points and motivations. Again, this might already exist if you’re joining a mature design organisation.
  • Develop a customer journey map. If this doesn’t exist yet it would be a good idea to develop one so that everyone in the organisation can visually see what the customer journey is like.
  • Hopefully, at this point, you’re armed with enough knowledge and context to actively contribute to the design delivery of projects.
  • If there’s no design system – start building one out. Also, lockdown design tooling and design processes in collaborating with your product and engineering team.
  • Documenting your design processes is essential. Secure a way to document design processes on a design wiki that everyone in the organisation can access.
  • Continue to clarify development, performance goals and success criteria with your manager.


  • More customer understanding (Enablement)
  • Contribute to solution delivery (Strategic value)
  • Document design processes (Business operations)

Closing thoughts

In closing, I think that having a 30-60-90 day plan and communicating this in interviews or at the outset of starting a new role will give your employer a sense of confidence and perhaps a newfound respect for the Product Design profession. It will help them understand that human-centred designers are vital strategic contributors to the business. We, as designers, need to work hard to demonstrate this value. We need to show our value, not just talk about it. If you’re interviewing for a new Product Design or UX Design position now, let me know if this 30-60-90 day conversation came up. I’d love to know your thoughts.