I was leading the Product Management/UX Research efforts for FinalCode desktop and mobile apps. In this role I was directly reporting to the Chief Strategy Officer and the Chief Executive Officer of FinalCode USA team
I conducted Contextual Inquiry with cross functional stakeholders (business and engineering) to understand the current process, challenges, expectations and assumptions around FinalCode's product.
Insights gained from these interviews led to identification of the below problems:
How might we sell a product that is built for the Japanese market in USA?
How might the user needs be different in USA and JP?
How might we improve the UX of the MAC/WIN FinalCode client?
UX Research Insights
Identified the USA enterprise user needs: Synthesize the customer needs captured via different sources with the company (Confluence pages, interviews with account executives,sales engineers etc.)
Identifying usability problems: using Heuristic Evaluation and Expert Review of FinalCode desktop client and mobile app.
Product Strategy & Roadmap
Prioritizing recommended features: Assess the feature feasibility w.r.t Technology, Marketing and Value it would bring to end users.
Identify potential technology partners for FinalCode within USA: Understand the existing APIs of FinalCode and research the potential OEM partners
Language Barrier (JP,EN)
Remote Teams JP/USA/SGP and timezone conflicts
Trust between JP/USA teams
Divergent views around product strategy between JP/USA teams
The challenge here was to collaborate with an engineering team that did not speak english and worked in a different timezone (Japan/Singapore).
User needs for USA based customers
Usability issues in the FinalCode product Desktop/mobile app
Potential technology partners for FinalCode to expand customer base
To identify which features should be on the roadmap for FinalCode updates based on user feedback/expert review
Identify process related problems in:
Design and Development of FinalCode products
Reporting customer requests by Sales/account executives
Development and Support communication loop
The biggest challenge I faced throughout this project was scoping down the identified problems, balancing moving forward with project deadlines, whilst collaborating with the multicultural,remote multidisciplinary teams (USA/JP/SGP). Managing feedback was even more challenging because it felt like a swinging pendulum of viewpoints. The teams did spent a disproportional amount of time debating product design decisions and I did find it challenging to convince the importance of our user centric design approach so that we could update the FinalCode software to suit the needs of our USA based customers, especially since the FinalCode product was designed/developed based on needs of Japanese customers.
I took the below steps to work around the challenges faced in this role:
Bridge the Communication Gap:
Interpreter JP to EN and vice-versa
Outlook translation plugins for emails
Reduce the Cultural Barrier:
Build strong interpersonal relationships across the distributed cross functional FinalCode teams by
Presenting findings/reccomendations, Discussing as a team and then Voting to get consensus and prioritize next steps for work
Travel to Tokyo, Japan to meet the FinalCode engineering team to build trust and working relationships
Identify the user needs:
Synthesize the customer needs captured via different data sources
Identifying usability problems in FinalCode products via Heuristic Evaluation, expert review, user interviews
Prioritizing recommended product features:
Evaluated feature feasibility w.r.t Tech, Marketing and Value added to users in USA
Identify potential technology partners
Understand the existing FinalCode APIs
Desk Research the potential OEM partners
Identifying problems in existing process:
Contextual Inquiry of stakeholders, Sales engineers (USA/SGP),Design/Development/QA (JP) and Support (JP)
Identified key needs of USA users
Build Product Roadmap/Strategy for next quarters
Recommendations to Improve communication processes across development/support/account executives,
Reccomendation to incorporate a UX Design team for FinalCode USA