With my amazing team, we launched the industry's first feature management SAAS, growing it from $0 to $XXM in revenue in 2 years with an NPS of 40+. Team grew from 5 to 50. Customers include teams at Intuit, Microsoft, GoPro, Auction.com, and Atlassian.
At Microsoft Build
Role & Responsibilities
As a startup team, your primary advantage is that you can move quickly, fail fast, learn even faster, and transform nothing into something. My job was to lead the UX design for our cross-functional team of engineering, marketing, and business -- delivering an industry-first solution for product release management.
Lead Product Designer (First Designer)
Owner of user experience, customer outcomes, and market research
Design: Full stack design process, including ownership of customer outcomes
Research: Lead research, identify user needs, identify objectives, develop personas, develop stories and journey maps
Functional Design: Work directly with engineering to develop new features from the data model upwards
Wireframing and Prototyping: Rapidly diverge and converge on design solutions through rapid testing
Deployment and Testing: Identify key metrics to assess usability; hold customer interviews to gather feedback
Marketing: Write user documentation, create explanatory diagrams, and release product articles
We were a startup trying to change the world.. but at our core, we were a business. My job was to augment our value, satisfy our stakeholders, and deliver trailblazing features. We had defined metrics, revenue targets, and acquisition goals that we had to meet.
We did just that.
First Major Objective (6 months)
Quickly research and discover customer problems in the software development release process
Identity, interview, and observe a spectrum of users to identify sophomores, power users, and decision-makers
Launch an MVP that solves the most pressing customer problems within a strict timeline
Establish a quantitative and qualitative feedback loop to quickly iterate
Second Major Objective (6 months)
Build on customer feedback to prioritize and launch a complex conditional rules engine and a product analytics suite, including an audit log
ThirdMajor Objective (6 months)
Build on customer feedback to prioritize and launch an enterprise policy editor and permissions system
Here's a gallery of buyer education graphics that I developed throughout the product process. Developing this marketing collaterol was also instrumental to help me and the team truly understand the product, how our customers viewed the industry, and how we could better relate to their core pain points.
Discovery and Ideation
It's a wonderful, yet overwhelming feeling to venture into the unknown. We didn't have many answers, but we had many questions. But, were they the right questions? Who should we ask? How should we find answers? How do we develop our hypotheses?
This was my job. To explore the unknown, discover our market, understand our customers, define the problems, and converge on valuable solutions.
Conduct competitor analyses, understand the technical challenges of the market, read white papers, and understand market pain points
Conduct in-depth interviews from multiple stakeholder perspectives: technical, non-technical, and third party
Observed our customer pain points first-hand.
Storyboarding & Sticky Note Castles
Exercises in ideation divergence and convergence
Understanding where our personas fit into the product lifecycle: who were our early adopters, what were their usability demands, what were their pain points?
Have an idea? Let's test it, quickly. I rapidly tested new concepts by coding prototypes (HTMl, CSS, JS) that read from static data. This helped us rapidly test new interactions and controls before going into full-scale development.
The most important byproduct of rapid prototyping is to define the data model. We needed to understand what transactional information our customers demanded before prioritizing our feature releases.
Early Conceptual Prototype
Audit Log - Early Concepts
Testing Permutations - Bulk Attribute editor
Working with engineering is one of the most critical and under-appreciated aspects of product design. Engineers are the implementers and our designs need to be implementable.
Our stack was Go and React, which means that we took a componetized approach to rapid feature releases. As such, I worked with engineering to develop a styleguide, component toolkit, and a library selection system for new features.
All new features started at the data level. We collaborated on the payload and performance requirements, and then surfaced that functionality through a UX lens.
Most importantly, every feature was implemented into our feedback loop cycle.
In the end, the success of a design can be measured by its business and customer value. We didn't always get things right on the first try, but we eventually got them right enough.
We iterated and measured. Iterated and measured. Again and again until our customers started to tweet about us.. refer colleagues and friends.. and before we knew it, the product was on a path to success.
It is now the industry-leading feature and release management tool. I loved my experience at LaunchDarkly and I'm excited to see where the future takes them.