Design Thinking For Enterprise
Design Thinking For Enterprise
Timothy is the product design lead for Zendesk in Copenhagen. He works mainly on the Guide product. Tim talks about experimental design, and working within a 2,000 person team. He talks about how the Zendesk team come up with new ideas and how they get into the heart of how they use Zendesk in a jobs to be done fashion and how they can offer value to the customer.
Design Thinking for Enterprise, Timothy Allison (Zendesk)
Welcome, everyone. It's a pleasure to be here. Great to see so many people here to talk about design, especially when the weather's like this. That's me in a circle. Taking a photo of myself as a designer, on the product manager in Copenhagen. I've been in Copenhagen for six years, this June, and I've been with Zendesk for about 18 months. I worked primarily on the guide product and guide of a small self-service destination featuring knowledgebase articles, community forums, and the customer portal. I wanted to start with this slide. This slide is a slide that came from brands and we don't always associate brand design and product design, working together. We have a brand design team in San Francisco, who works specifically on that stuff. They're awesome. And they create all of the brand work and just recently we changed our mission statement to be a kind of tagline to be the company your customers want you to be in, it used to be, relationships are complicated. It turned out that relationships are complicated. It's complicated. So they changed it to be the company your customers want you to be, which may well prove to be complicated, but right now it's good. It works in the narrative of this story. I'll come back to this because it's important. I wanted to share this with you.
So a couple of weeks ago, I was walking down the street in Dublin, I worked with the Dublin team as well and I was walking past one pass a lot of shops and kind of turns on, right and I saw this BMX bike in the window, and it's a face perfectly preserved rally burner bicycle, which is the exact BMX I had when I was 10 years old and I used to fall off this bike, right, despite my friends make jumps at the bottom of the garden hose to go on adventures, right and for me, that's this, this is a perfect piece of product design. It's a perfect build, I think, you know, design. Canada should be an adventure when it's the requirement and it can be something that's emotional, or something that gives you memory and makes you feel things. You don't always associate that product design, but it's possible. An experimental design, this is a piece of work that I spent a year and a half working on. This was a mobile social app that kind of founded the company, and we launched this product. And the idea here in terms of challenging the norm was that it was a messenger app, without any pictures anywhere.
So, the idea was we take out that piece around all decisions are made on superficial decisions, how you look like is whether you engage with someone, etc, etc. I wanted to build something where all of that was taken away. So, the format was the sort of small cards that were already in place. And it was about people having communication. Now I'm fundamentally interested in communication and people using software and how design and humans work together, but what does it look like here, that's this is our team now. Pretty handsome bunch and that's actually just on the third floor, which some of you might see the labour and we work across a range of things. So we have four feature facing teams here called nail gun and we'll work with all of them at different times, typically over a quarter. So we'll work with each phase and teams are recorded on Phone and P2 priorities that design can get involved in and we'll cover what I would call it the kind of 360 approach to it. So, we don't have a specific UX design. We don't have a UI designer. We think of ourselves as a product designer and that involves many different disciplines. When I first joined the company, one of the first things I had to do was kind of get my head around what everything was all about. I mean, I came from a design world where I made all the design decisions. I knew how to use this word like design the product intrinsically, so the fabric of the decisions came from my brain. When you join a company like Zendesk where there's a bigger universe and there's Multi Product suites. I was a two-man team, I had to understand how product design works when my pieces of design work was designed in a piece of designing the feature called user segments, which allowed for admins to create bunch and group users together to create a user segment to play that user segment to a piece of content that would then act as a permission group.
And I sort of approach this in this way, and I talk through the problem, I got to know my stakeholders, I got to know my product partners, I started off sketching, drawing things out, I helped the fidelity once like knocking things over and made some decisions there, I did some internal testing. And then it was pretty much ready for a fee. It wasn't necessarily a piece of enterprise design. But this was kind of starting to get in the rhythm of how things work in a bigger company, and the decisions you have to make and conversations you have with customers. So I did that and it was good. And then it was a bit kind of like we were like what now, as a group, we were maturing as a department. When I joined, there were 45 people in this building, we're now around 65. And obviously, you know, we're going up to market, we're delivering software for enterprise customers now. And the, you know, the challenges and some of the things that are going forward are getting more complex. So this is the old kind of adage of the hovering art director where designers just kind of stare at a machine and some other people come in and help them stare at the machine. Some people will say things like if someone comes up with an awesome idea, but it's not really the way to get things done. So, I often get asked how do we as designers come up with ideas, and pretty much perfect slides for it? If it works. So this is how the Zendesk creative design leadership team came up with creative ideas. Yeah, so we just jump up and down and ideas fall out. Good ones on the table, their issues writing them down. This is really productive. That's the VP and that's the chief creative officer. That's how it COVID designs are easy. No, we don't. And I still have a problem. What do we do next? So I pressed the clicker, and nothing happened.
What did we do next? We went and had conversations with users of the guide product about how they use our product. And we design our things. Sometimes design in isolation, we think about our team, think about a product, think about design. And what we really wanted to get into the heart of here was how do our customers use Zendesk? In a job to be done fashion? How do they use Zendesk as part of their working day? You could assume that it's just your thing that they use, but what we actually found out by research year was, it was only one piece of their working day, if they've got five or 10 tabs open on the machine? You know, maybe we're one of those types, but there are other types that kind of empower them to get the job done. And what we saw here was that there was a need for collaboration, communication, teamwork, and workflow. And it felt like looking at this, how many conversations with our customers, this was a really big opportunity. You know, we can see that Jira was up there. Trello has been used by Excel. Ms. versions will docs, obviously. So from this, this gave us really the starting point. Okay, what do we go after here? What's the problem we're trying to solve? How can we offer value to the customers, and we did a design sprint to show off hands, who in here has participated in design, sprint design sprints? Pretty much everyone. You know, we literally threw the book at this and we've done Design Thinking in some of this before. But this time, we said, you know, we're really going to stick to the schedule. We're going to invest in it and we're going to get other stakeholders in and we're going to do this end to end and we're going to take the learnings that we've got, and we're going to see, see what happens and trust the process that was an important part of it. Trust, trust the process, follow the day, stay calm.
And this was the map that we decided on very much at the start of the session. So this was what we were working towards. We identified here that we know our main customer zero concept managers contributors, we think about them. The PC was about creating content and managing content and there was a goal here tangible long-term goal, which was buying the product. So this is a business goal, this is not designing something from the water, trying something for a resume, this is we're designing something for a business outcome that keeps us in a job, let's still, let's keep doing cool things. And let's just be the company that we want to be. So we have to keep that in mind. And this is a cut that looks happy for shareholders when our share price rockets. And this is how we did it. I mean, most of you have probably already seen this. But in the spirit of the event today, you know, we flew in a designer from Dublin to give us a different perspective. We had engineering in the room, we had sales in the room, we had a design room, we had products in the room. And it was really a collaborative, truly collaborative effort on a piece of work that was called Team publishing with just this kind of publishing piece that arrived at the research that people want to collaborate on. So we use the team to try and solve this problem, see if we could design a product. That's where we ended at the end of day three, we decided on a name at this point that the feature actually ended up being a call to publishing, we have some kind of personas that have appeared. And we set out kind of building this with the idea of testing it with one of our customers, Trustpilot, who came in on Friday, and we can have a session with them to get feedback on the product.
So this is what the prototype looked like and this was built all using component UI, we have a pretty mature component like if our designs work with so we can pretty quickly put together a piece of UI like this to try out ideas that we can then put in front of the customer relatively inexpensively but make the point itself conversation. And in this instance, it was about an order about this idea and it's an article just wasn't a published article, what if it was what if it was in a state that was ready for review? What if it was approved? Or what if it was a draft, then this idea here when you could potentially get a death on the level of the article. So, if somebody has made a change, you can add a glance here, see the size of that change and potentially prioritise the list. This is really just testing out what we thought we knew at that point with people that we thought might have a need to want to work with. We had to light this volume. What I want to show is a customer interview with Squarespace that we did. So, she's saying that Squarespace works with a pretty mature content team, and they all trust each other and are optimistic, we all know that content. And Squarespace is quite a forward-thinking company and we speak to Claire quite a lot through this team polishing kind of process. She actually used words in here like, you know, assignment team, ready for review status approval and as we were showing her this piece of design that we come up with, she was almost taken certain goes like, you know, this is near here, this is this, you know, just like this, what could do this, like this is it, you're very close.
And I don't think I can't stress enough the importance of the customer voice in the design that you're doing. You know, we've worked on a physical team publishing, we used the team to get the job done to get the design done. We use customers' voices to help us in that last 20% When you're just not quite sure, or designers are cycling similar ideas or the mindset is a certain way. So we really try to help the customer voice influence the design and then we'll take that away and distill it and help direct it. There's really good imagery and what else did that let us do that also allowed us to identify the persona to the guy product. So Lisa is our guide manager. She's the Content Manager. She knows what everything looks like. She publishes articles she works in the business to make sure their articles and allows customers to serve themselves. Mike is the trustee content writer that maybe hasn't got publishing permissions just yet but he's you know, he's her right-hand man you can get the job done. And then what happened through the research was we discovered this character called Felix in when we've gone down to cyber the proof just on there.
We've met some customers and shops and other dental clinics there and our customer, as I've improved, talked passionately about one of the agents that works there called Felix, who's super enthusiastic. He's like an API expert. And he always wants to write documentation. So we decided to sort of make Felix famous. And he is now kind of one of our pillars on our personas. And if you were to speak to most, mostly everyone here in the building, and you speak about those characters, mostly everyone in the building knows who those characters are, the jobs that they're trying to do and the work that they do inside the product. It's all it looked like at the end. So, there's a little bit here about kind of a segue to design having a seat at the table. So, from small post notes and design sessions and customer interviews, this was the final design. Other than that this redesign piece doesn't come out of the screen, because that'll be followed. But this was, this was a piece of design that we were asked to produce for the board of directors update two weeks ago, made a bit more than two weeks ago, when we gave an announcement to the street about launching guide enterprise and the features that it came with.
So this was to me, I'm proud of it. Not just because it ended up there, but proud of the inputs, proud of the team effort, proud of, you know, building out a piece of design with the team that actually found its way like slap bang in the middle of the table that I think we talked about quite a bit. And then on the fourth of April 3 of April, we actually launched the enterprise content management platform, as a guide enterprise, and the centerpiece of the guidance crisis to publishing. And now, president of products, Mr. Adrian McDermott actually talked about what this thing was. And I just felt super proud, really, of hearing the product being talked about and being there from the start. And first and foremost, you know, having something that you're going to put out into the market that is, is going to be a value to customers that customers are going to care about that, you know, we're going to use, and kind of goes back then to Here Be the company, your customers want you to be in this instance, with the work that we did, and the approach that we took this feature and, and the guided enterprise product that we've just launched, is actually the product that our customers wanted it to be because they were the ones that told us what it was, they wanted us to build.
Otherwise, we could have just ended up staring at the screens and stood around looking at each other. So what's next for design here? We've just hired a new VP of design in San Francisco, Lennox Kim, she was the director of design at LinkedIn. So she has experience with working with 200 person design teams, which is bringing a lot of experience there, a lot of rigor, a lot of great insight. And this was just a few weeks ago, we had an immediate Design Sprint hearing design Summit here in Copenhagen. We're invested a lot in design management, really trying to get a bit more scientific around the culture of our teams and how they work and design in better ways to empower the designers that work here. So we clear the road and they have all the tools that we need to get the job done. And we're looking at computational design as well. So now we have more data coming in and deeper levels of data, more users, different workflows, different states. And one of you can try and put that together on a spreadsheet if you like. But one of the things that we'd like to do now is actually start using computational designers and developers a little bit more to give us the insights we need to go forth into the next chapter. And we're also hiring a nice subtle stamp. So yeah, we've got an opening right now for a product designer and a senior product designer based in Copenhagen, working on the go product with me and the team on this cool stuff and you'll sometimes be in this room. So if you're interested or you know someone that's interested, come speak to me in the break. And thank you very much.