Being the solo UX person in the department for this project, working with my Product Manager was key in getting access to information about related groups and organizational structures. I had gotten some background from a UX designer in another department to get started.
Contextual inquiry to discover user requirements
I curated a group of 7 directors and managers from different divisions and and different countries. All of them had direct reports and needed to do many of the same tasks. I wanted to discover how frequently they used various applications and how they kept track of them.
My findings gave a pretty clear idea of what were the most commonly used applications, where they were on the intranet, and in addition, how confused the managers were by some of them. The frequency of their use varied across the different divisions and manager levels.
Making a quick wireframe to show a centralized dashboard and was given the go-ahead to pursue the project.
My goal was now to find a way of combining what all managers and directors needed in one discoverable place. It was important to add organization but also a teaching aspect since some of the tools were not used frequently. (Redesigning the apps themselves was not an option as they were primarily 3rd party applications.)
I went to work discovering the locations of the various apps and which internal department was responsible for the different dashboards, which were located in different places on the intranet.
There was an existing dashboard which many managers had over years, come to depend on, but it was to be decommissioned in favor of a newly designed, more social, collaborative dashboard on the company intranet.
An HR related team had developed a component for the new dashboard to gather many links to the management tools, but few managers knew about it.
Analysis – Requirements for a more user centered experience
The new component had not been user tested so I went back to my group of managers to test it and see if it met expectations. At the same time I contrasted the proposed dashboard with the features of the tool to understand what could be improved.
After getting some good feedback I showed the same managers an organization for the new component that presented different directory structures to see which option might be the most popular, along with layouts to find the most intuitive combination.
From the data from the first round and then by being able to utilize the same group for the second round I felt confident that the designs were well received by a broad range of different managers in different divisions and countries.
The HR IT of Cisco department wanted to "Make Manager's lives easier". My deliverable was to propose improvements for the experience of managers and directors in their interactions with the many different tools that managers would need to access on a weekly, quarterly and annual basis. The applications were all very different and were located on various "dashboards" on the intranet.