Identifying employee pain points and opportunities
Aim: Provide management with a holistic view of the process and user experience of a continuous integration and deployment tool by: mapping how different teams use the tool; highlighting the gap between user needs and sources of pain; and identifying opportunities for improvement to the process and/or the tool.
Different users faced different issues using the company's continuous integration tool. Opinions of the system are disparate, based on the individual pressures and needs of particular teams. I needed to piece together the end-to-end experience of various employees into a bigger picture so that management could make decisions on how to improve the experience of both the tool and the process as a whole. The focus was on:
Barriers and inefficiencies.
Disambiguating process from tooling issues.
Comparing experiences between teams.
Interviews conducted and fully transcribed
Interviews used for experience mapping
Weeks research and reporting period
Stakeholder interviews informed the development of an archetypal workflow that included key users and the tasks involved at key stages in the continuous integration and deployment process at the company. The visualisation was built based on context provided by Engineering Management, Release Engineering, and head of DevOps.
The final archetypal workflow was used to structure an experience map, which visually represented who, where, when, and how employees interacted with the tool.
We used a deductive UX procedure in which categories and important topics were allowed to emerge during the process of experience mapping.
The archetypal workflow was updated based on discussions with employees about the process. I manually transcribed 23 user interviews, which lasted anywhere between 15 minutes and an hour each.
I worked with a junior UX design colleague to map comments from a selection of 12 interview transcripts representing several teams across the archetypal workflow.
By showing how different team members move through and experience each phase in the workflow, I was able to identify sources of friction, provide a summary of the main pain points between and within teams, and outline which issues emerged from company processes and which were tool-specific.
I used the experience map to pull out four main pain points encountered by employees attempting to meet the company's requirements for continuous integration. I highlighted reasons for these pain points, separating process from tool-specific issues, and presented these to management in the context of three overarching themes (satisfaction, uncertainty, and relationships between teams).
Based on these insights, I identified user needs and presented opportunities for improvement for specific teams and for the company as a whole. Recommendations included improvements to: UI navigation and system feedback; workflow efficiency; resources and hardware capacity; and communication and co-ordination between teams.
Challenges and learnings
The initial workflow identified with stakeholders was linear. Experience mapping drew attention to overlapping workflows, resulting in interesting but challenging insights to present. This was in no small part due to the range of users from whom I had garnered these insights.
I had no shortage of willing participants. The challenge was in collecting and representing all the voices in just a 3-week period. Of the > 20 users I interviewed, I was under pressure to present findings before I had finished collating the data. I transcribed all interviews and chose half of these to include in the experience map based on how well they represented common opinions across their team.