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Shaping Organizations to Deliver
Great User Experiences
Peter Merholz
e: peterme@peterme.com
t: @peterme
To deliver great user experiences…
I just need to get the design right
strategy
organization
When I started
PD
PD
PD
PD
PDPD
PD PD
PD
PD
PD
PD
PD
PD
PD
CD
CDCD
CD
CD
CD
CD
CD
UXR
UXR
UXR
PjM
VP
When I started
CD
CDCD
CD
CD
CD
CD
CD
UXR
UXR
UXR
PjM
VP
PD
PD
PD
PD
PDPD
PD PD
PD
PD
PD
PD
PD
PD
PD
Internal Services
Your in-house agency
Project-based, organized by function
PROS
Strong design community
Wide range of projects
Design costs understood
CONS
Design is not strategic
Little influence on important
“upstream” decisions
Designers easily dismissed
Us vs Them
D D
DP P P P P P
E E
E E
E E
E E
E E
E E
E E
E E
E
E
E
E
DE
DESIGN 

PRODUCT

MGMT
ENGINEERING
Search/
Browse
Product
Page
CheckoutPersonalizationUGC/
Reviews
D D DDD
Leadership
Decentralized and Embedded
Decentralized and Embedded
Everyone Gets A Designer!
Program-based
PROS
Design included throughout
entire lifecycle
Part of the team
CONS
One narrow problem for a long
time
Lonely
Fractured user experience
I opted for a different model
Organize for the
customer journey
Think in terms of design teams
Booking GIG Funnel Opt
P13n Email
LUGC
Pull
Reserve
SocialGifting Redemption
Merchant
Pages
City Guides
SEO
Global
Header
Homepage Goods
Goods L
and S
Getaways
Search
iPad
iPhone Android
Touch
BPOS
BPRO
Payments
Sinai
Search
Booking
Engine
S3
Merchant
Center
Mobile
Merchant
Getaways
Extranet
Getaways
MR
BWeb Quantum
Lead
Deal WizardDeal Estate
Unified
Coffee
Customer
Service
GWorks Deal Preview
Subscripton
s
Display
Affiliate
Booking
GIG
Funnel Opt
P13n
Email
LUGC
Pull
Reserve
Social
Gifting
Redemption
Merchant
Pages
City GuidesSEOGlobal
Header
Homepage
Goods
Goods L
and S
Getaways
Search
iPad
iPhone
Android
Touch
BPOSBPRO
Payments
Sinai
Search
Booking
Engine
S3
Merchant
Center
Mobile
Merchant
Getaways
Extranet
Getaways
MR
BWeb
Quantum
Lead
Deal Wizard
Deal Estate
Unified
Coffee
Customer
Service
GWorks
Platform
Local
Goods/
Getaways
Mobile
Core
Merchant Merchant
OS
Internal
Tools
Brand
Design
User
Research
Deal Preview
Prototyping
Marketing
Design
Subscripton
s
Display
Affiliate
D D
DP P P P P P
E E
E E
E E
E E
E E
E E
E E
E E
E
E
E
E
DE
DESIGN 

PRODUCT

MGMT
ENGINEERING
Search/
Browse
Product
Page
CheckoutPersonalizationUGC/
Reviews
D D DDD
Leadership
Platform
S S
DP P P P P P
E E
E E
E E
E E
E E
E E
E E
E E
E
E
E
E
DE
D D D
DD
DESIGN 

PRODUCT

MGMT
ENGINEERING
Search/
Browse
Product
Page
CheckoutPersonalizationUGC/
Reviews
Leadership
Platform
S S
DP P P P P P
E E
E E
E E
E E
E E
E E
E E
E E
E
E
E
E
DE
D D D
DD
DESIGN 

PRODUCT

MGMT
ENGINEERING
Search/
Browse
Product
Page
CheckoutPersonalizationUGC/
Reviews
Leadership
Centralized Partnership
Centralized Partnership
Best of both worlds
Organized for the customer journey
Design teams maintain commitment across a
meaningful set of products/features.
Yet centralization helps maintain a holistic view across
the entire customer experience.
Side benefit: inevitable re-orgs don’t disrupt the
customer experience.
Something else about this group…
CD
CDCD
CD
CD
CD
CD
CD
UXR
UXR
UXR
PjM
VP
PD
PD
PD
PD
PDPD
PD PD
PD
PD
PD
PD
PD
PD
PD
10,000 ft
1 ft
10 ft
100 ft
1,000 ft
VP
UXR
UXR
CD
CD
CD CD
CD
CD
CD
CD
PjM
PD
PD
PD
PD
PDPD
PD
PD
PD
PD
PD
PD
PD
PDPD
UXR
Structure of each design team
4-7 folks
Singular strong leadership
• Manages down – gets the most and best out of their team
• Manages across – collaborates with cross-functional partners
• Manages up – presents to executives and other stakeholders
Best organized around business problems, not
functions
Spread of skills – strategy, planning, research,
IxD, IA, visual design, prototyping
10,000 ft
1 ft
10 ft
100 ft
1,000 ft
S
S
D
D
D
DD
Platform
Local
Goods/
Getaways
Mobile
Core
Merchant Merchant
OS
Internal
Tools
Brand
Design
User
Research
Prototyping
Marketing
Design
Teams at multiple levels
Platform
Local
Goods/
Getaways
Mobile
Core
Merchant Merchant
OS
Internal
Tools
Brand
Design
User
Research
Prototyping
Marketing
Design
Consumer
Merchant
Teams at multiple levels
Booking
GIG
Funnel Opt
P13n
Email
LUGC
Pull
Reserve
Social
Gifting
Redemption
Merchant
Pages
City GuidesSEOGlobal
Header
Homepage
Goods
Goods L
and S
Getaways
Search
iPad
iPhone
Android
Touch
BPOSBPRO
Payments
Sinai
Search
Booking
Engine
S3
Merchant
Center
Mobile
Merchant
Getaways
Extranet
Getaways
MR
BWeb
Quantum
Lead
Deal Wizard
Deal Estate
Unified
Coffee
Customer
Service
GWorks
Platform
Local
Goods/
Getaways
Mobile
Core
Merchant Merchant
OS
Internal
Tools
Brand
Design
User
Research
Deal Preview
Prototyping
Marketing
Design
Subscripton
s
Display
Affiliate
Brand
Design
Marketing
Design
If you’re designing for this...
Then it is senseless to have marketing and product/UX
design on different teams.
It’s all the same customer journey.
The next hurdle I faced...
Flesh out
solution Refine
User test Build
Initial
Insight
Plan Ship
Analyze
A common project plan...
Here’s what it
needs to do.
I have an
idea!
Wait... How
do we know if
we’re
successful?
Prototype
solutions
Flesh out
solution Refine
Sketch
options
Test
prototypes
User test Build
Initial
Insight
Plan Ship
Analyze
A slightly more enlightened plan...
Let’s try some
stuff out first!
Prototype
solutions
Flesh out
solution Refine
Sketch
options
Test
prototypes
User test Build
Initial
Insight
Plan Ship
Analyze
Teams with strong leadership enable...
Definition Execution
Definition
/ Requirem
ents
Iterative design
Im
plem
entation
Strategy and plan, 

aka “Build the right thing.”
Working through tradeoffs to deliver optimal solution, 

aka “Build the thing right.”
Ideation/Generation
Understand
the market
Product
Strategy
Prototype
Customer
empathy Ideation
Experience
strategy
Prototype
solutions
Flesh out
solution Refine
Sketch
options
Test
prototypes
User test Build
design makes strategy concrete design supports delightful, engaging experiences
Plan Ship
Analyze
By Peter Merholz, http://peterme.com. If you use it, please attribute it. Thanks.
Initial
Insight
Definition Execution
Understand
the market
Product
Strategy
Prototype
Customer
empathy Ideation
Experience
strategy
Prototype
solutions
Flesh out
solution Refine
Sketch
options
Test
prototypes
User test Build
Initial
Insight
Plan Ship
Analyze
By Peter Merholz, http://peterme.com. If you use it, please attribute it. Thanks.
Definition Execution
Understand
the market
Product
Strategy
Prototype
Customer
empathy Ideation
Experience
strategy
Initial
Insight
By Peter Merholz, http://peterme.com. If you use it, please attribute it. Thanks.
Plan
That said...
Definition Execution
Understand
the market
Product
Strategy
Prototype
Customer
empathy Ideation
Experience
strategy
Initial
Insight
By Peter Merholz, http://peterme.com. If you use it, please attribute it. Thanks.
Plan
It’s better to iterate here...
...than here
This doesn’t seem very lean/agile
Be wary of people espousing methodologies.
Typically, they are crutches to free people from 

critical thinking.
Also, lean and agile are focused on execution 

(i.e., once you already have a plan).
Booking
GIG
Funnel Opt
P13n
Email
LUGC
Pull
Reserve
Social
Gifting
Redemption
Merchant
Pages
City GuidesSEOGlobal
Header
Homepage
Goods
Goods L
and S
Getaways
Search
iPad
iPhone
Android
Touch
BPOSBPRO
Payments
Sinai
Search
Booking
Engine
S3
Merchant
Center
Mobile
Merchant
Getaways
Extranet
Getaways
MR
BWeb
Quantum
Lead
Deal Wizard
Deal Estate
Unified
Coffee
Customer
Service
GWorks
Platform
Local
Goods/
Getaways
Mobile
Core
Merchant Merchant
OS
Internal
Tools
Brand
Design
User
Research
Deal Preview
Prototyping
Marketing
Design
Subscripton
s
Display
Affiliate
Gimme!
Gimme!
Gimme!
Gimme!
Gimme!
Gimme!
Gimme!
Gimme!
Gimme!
Gimme!
Gimme! Gimme!
Gimme!
Gimme!
Gimme!
Gimme! Gimme!
Gimme!Gimme!
Gimme!
Gimme!
Gimme!
Gimme!
Gimme! Gimme!
Gimme!
Gimme!
Gimme!
Gimme!
Gimme!
Gimme!
Gimme!
Gimme!
Gimme!
Gimme!
Gimme!
Gimme!
Gimme!
Gimme!
Gimme!
Gimme!
Gimme!
Gimme!
Gimme!Gimme!
Gimme!
Don’t understand the ‘costs’ of design
Don’t have control over their own destiny
So, lots of coordination and communication
Working with partner teams
Maintaining singular leadership
As the design team grows, having a single leader
becomes more difficult.
Operational matters trump creative matters.
Models from tech and journalism:
• CTO and VP of Engineering
• Editor-in-chief and Managing Editor
Designers can keep a lot

of other people busy
Booking GIG Funnel Opt
P13n Email
LUGC
Pull
Reserve
SocialGifting Redemption
Merchant
Pages
City Guides
SEO
Global
Header
Homepage Goods
Goods L
and S
Getaways
Search
iPad
iPhone Android
Touch
BPOS
BPRO
Payments
Sinai
Search
Booking
Engine
S3
Merchant
Center
Mobile
Merchant
Getaways
Extranet
Getaways
MR
BWeb Quantum
Lead
Deal WizardDeal Estate
Unified
Coffee
Customer
Service
GWorks Deal Preview 500-600
PMs and
engineers
=
Subscripton
s
Display
Affiliate
Booking
GIG
Funnel Opt
P13n
Email
LUGC
Pull
Reserve
Social
Gifting
Redemption
Merchant
Pages
City GuidesSEOGlobal
Header
Homepage
Goods
Goods L
and S
Getaways
Search
iPad
iPhone
Android
Touch
BPOSBPRO
Payments
Sinai
Search
Booking
Engine
S3
Merchant
Center
Mobile
Merchant
Getaways
Extranet
Getaways
MR
BWeb
Quantum
Lead
Deal Wizard
Deal Estate
Unified
Coffee
Customer
Service
GWorks
Platform
Local
Goods/
Getaways
Mobile
Core
Merchant Merchant
OS
Internal
Tools
Brand
Design
User
Research
Deal Preview
60 people=
Prototyping
Marketing
Design
Subscripton
s
Display
Affiliate
With a
1) centralized partnership,
2) teams with strong leadership,
3) influencing definition, and
4) a relatively small team,
you have leverage.
Leverage = Power
There’s no reason design can’t be
the driving force.
We just need confidence, evidence,
and commitment.
One more thing...
D D
DP P P P P P
E E
E E
E E
E E
E E
E E
E E
E E
E
E
E
E
DE
DESIGN 

PRODUCT

MGMT
ENGINEERING
Search/
Browse
Product
Page
CheckoutPersonalizationUGC/
Reviews
D D DDD
Leadership
Decentralized and Embedded
S S
DP P P P P P
E E
E E
E E
E E
E E
E E
E E
E E
E
E
E
E
DE
D D D
DD
DESIGN 

PRODUCT

MGMT
ENGINEERING
Search/
Browse
Product
Page
CheckoutPersonalizationUGC/
Reviews
Leadership
Centralized Partnership
Technology Features Experience
S S
DP P P P P P
E E
E E
E E
E E
E E
E E
E E
E E
E
E
E
E
DE
D D D
DD
DESIGN 

PRODUCT

MGMT
ENGINEERING
Search/
Browse
Product
Page
CheckoutPersonalizationUGC/
Reviews
Leadership
Still stuck in a “features” world
S S
Design 

Team
D D D
DD
Shopping
Experience
Gifting Merchandising Sharing Social Wishlists In-store pickup Style guide
PLUS
Search/
Browse
Product
Page
CheckoutPersonalizationUGC/
Reviews
Thank you for your
consideration.
Peter Merholz
e: peterme@peterme.com
t: @peterme

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Shaping Organizations to Deliver Great User Experiences

  • 1. Shaping Organizations to Deliver Great User Experiences Peter Merholz e: peterme@peterme.com t: @peterme
  • 2. To deliver great user experiences… I just need to get the design right strategy organization
  • 3.
  • 4. When I started PD PD PD PD PDPD PD PD PD PD PD PD PD PD PD CD CDCD CD CD CD CD CD UXR UXR UXR PjM VP
  • 6. Internal Services Your in-house agency Project-based, organized by function PROS Strong design community Wide range of projects Design costs understood CONS Design is not strategic Little influence on important “upstream” decisions Designers easily dismissed Us vs Them
  • 7.
  • 8. D D DP P P P P P E E E E E E E E E E E E E E E E E E E E DE DESIGN 
 PRODUCT
 MGMT ENGINEERING Search/ Browse Product Page CheckoutPersonalizationUGC/ Reviews D D DDD Leadership Decentralized and Embedded
  • 9. Decentralized and Embedded Everyone Gets A Designer! Program-based PROS Design included throughout entire lifecycle Part of the team CONS One narrow problem for a long time Lonely Fractured user experience
  • 10.
  • 11. I opted for a different model
  • 13. Think in terms of design teams
  • 14. Booking GIG Funnel Opt P13n Email LUGC Pull Reserve SocialGifting Redemption Merchant Pages City Guides SEO Global Header Homepage Goods Goods L and S Getaways Search iPad iPhone Android Touch BPOS BPRO Payments Sinai Search Booking Engine S3 Merchant Center Mobile Merchant Getaways Extranet Getaways MR BWeb Quantum Lead Deal WizardDeal Estate Unified Coffee Customer Service GWorks Deal Preview Subscripton s Display Affiliate
  • 15. Booking GIG Funnel Opt P13n Email LUGC Pull Reserve Social Gifting Redemption Merchant Pages City GuidesSEOGlobal Header Homepage Goods Goods L and S Getaways Search iPad iPhone Android Touch BPOSBPRO Payments Sinai Search Booking Engine S3 Merchant Center Mobile Merchant Getaways Extranet Getaways MR BWeb Quantum Lead Deal Wizard Deal Estate Unified Coffee Customer Service GWorks Platform Local Goods/ Getaways Mobile Core Merchant Merchant OS Internal Tools Brand Design User Research Deal Preview Prototyping Marketing Design Subscripton s Display Affiliate
  • 16. D D DP P P P P P E E E E E E E E E E E E E E E E E E E E DE DESIGN 
 PRODUCT
 MGMT ENGINEERING Search/ Browse Product Page CheckoutPersonalizationUGC/ Reviews D D DDD Leadership Platform
  • 17. S S DP P P P P P E E E E E E E E E E E E E E E E E E E E DE D D D DD DESIGN 
 PRODUCT
 MGMT ENGINEERING Search/ Browse Product Page CheckoutPersonalizationUGC/ Reviews Leadership Platform
  • 18. S S DP P P P P P E E E E E E E E E E E E E E E E E E E E DE D D D DD DESIGN 
 PRODUCT
 MGMT ENGINEERING Search/ Browse Product Page CheckoutPersonalizationUGC/ Reviews Leadership Centralized Partnership
  • 19. Centralized Partnership Best of both worlds Organized for the customer journey Design teams maintain commitment across a meaningful set of products/features. Yet centralization helps maintain a holistic view across the entire customer experience. Side benefit: inevitable re-orgs don’t disrupt the customer experience.
  • 20. Something else about this group… CD CDCD CD CD CD CD CD UXR UXR UXR PjM VP PD PD PD PD PDPD PD PD PD PD PD PD PD PD PD
  • 21. 10,000 ft 1 ft 10 ft 100 ft 1,000 ft VP UXR UXR CD CD CD CD CD CD CD CD PjM PD PD PD PD PDPD PD PD PD PD PD PD PD PDPD UXR
  • 22. Structure of each design team 4-7 folks Singular strong leadership • Manages down – gets the most and best out of their team • Manages across – collaborates with cross-functional partners • Manages up – presents to executives and other stakeholders Best organized around business problems, not functions Spread of skills – strategy, planning, research, IxD, IA, visual design, prototyping 10,000 ft 1 ft 10 ft 100 ft 1,000 ft S S D D D DD
  • 25. Booking GIG Funnel Opt P13n Email LUGC Pull Reserve Social Gifting Redemption Merchant Pages City GuidesSEOGlobal Header Homepage Goods Goods L and S Getaways Search iPad iPhone Android Touch BPOSBPRO Payments Sinai Search Booking Engine S3 Merchant Center Mobile Merchant Getaways Extranet Getaways MR BWeb Quantum Lead Deal Wizard Deal Estate Unified Coffee Customer Service GWorks Platform Local Goods/ Getaways Mobile Core Merchant Merchant OS Internal Tools Brand Design User Research Deal Preview Prototyping Marketing Design Subscripton s Display Affiliate Brand Design Marketing Design
  • 26. If you’re designing for this... Then it is senseless to have marketing and product/UX design on different teams. It’s all the same customer journey.
  • 27. The next hurdle I faced...
  • 28. Flesh out solution Refine User test Build Initial Insight Plan Ship Analyze A common project plan... Here’s what it needs to do. I have an idea! Wait... How do we know if we’re successful?
  • 29. Prototype solutions Flesh out solution Refine Sketch options Test prototypes User test Build Initial Insight Plan Ship Analyze A slightly more enlightened plan... Let’s try some stuff out first!
  • 30. Prototype solutions Flesh out solution Refine Sketch options Test prototypes User test Build Initial Insight Plan Ship Analyze Teams with strong leadership enable...
  • 31. Definition Execution Definition / Requirem ents Iterative design Im plem entation Strategy and plan, 
 aka “Build the right thing.” Working through tradeoffs to deliver optimal solution, 
 aka “Build the thing right.” Ideation/Generation Understand the market Product Strategy Prototype Customer empathy Ideation Experience strategy Prototype solutions Flesh out solution Refine Sketch options Test prototypes User test Build design makes strategy concrete design supports delightful, engaging experiences Plan Ship Analyze By Peter Merholz, http://peterme.com. If you use it, please attribute it. Thanks. Initial Insight
  • 32. Definition Execution Understand the market Product Strategy Prototype Customer empathy Ideation Experience strategy Prototype solutions Flesh out solution Refine Sketch options Test prototypes User test Build Initial Insight Plan Ship Analyze By Peter Merholz, http://peterme.com. If you use it, please attribute it. Thanks.
  • 33. Definition Execution Understand the market Product Strategy Prototype Customer empathy Ideation Experience strategy Initial Insight By Peter Merholz, http://peterme.com. If you use it, please attribute it. Thanks. Plan
  • 35. Definition Execution Understand the market Product Strategy Prototype Customer empathy Ideation Experience strategy Initial Insight By Peter Merholz, http://peterme.com. If you use it, please attribute it. Thanks. Plan It’s better to iterate here... ...than here
  • 36. This doesn’t seem very lean/agile Be wary of people espousing methodologies. Typically, they are crutches to free people from 
 critical thinking. Also, lean and agile are focused on execution 
 (i.e., once you already have a plan).
  • 37. Booking GIG Funnel Opt P13n Email LUGC Pull Reserve Social Gifting Redemption Merchant Pages City GuidesSEOGlobal Header Homepage Goods Goods L and S Getaways Search iPad iPhone Android Touch BPOSBPRO Payments Sinai Search Booking Engine S3 Merchant Center Mobile Merchant Getaways Extranet Getaways MR BWeb Quantum Lead Deal Wizard Deal Estate Unified Coffee Customer Service GWorks Platform Local Goods/ Getaways Mobile Core Merchant Merchant OS Internal Tools Brand Design User Research Deal Preview Prototyping Marketing Design Subscripton s Display Affiliate Gimme! Gimme! Gimme! Gimme! Gimme! Gimme! Gimme! Gimme! Gimme! Gimme! Gimme! Gimme! Gimme! Gimme! Gimme! Gimme! Gimme! Gimme!Gimme! Gimme! Gimme! Gimme! Gimme! Gimme! Gimme! Gimme! Gimme! Gimme! Gimme! Gimme! Gimme! Gimme! Gimme! Gimme! Gimme! Gimme! Gimme! Gimme! Gimme! Gimme! Gimme! Gimme! Gimme! Gimme!Gimme! Gimme! Don’t understand the ‘costs’ of design Don’t have control over their own destiny So, lots of coordination and communication Working with partner teams
  • 38. Maintaining singular leadership As the design team grows, having a single leader becomes more difficult. Operational matters trump creative matters. Models from tech and journalism: • CTO and VP of Engineering • Editor-in-chief and Managing Editor
  • 39. Designers can keep a lot
 of other people busy
  • 40. Booking GIG Funnel Opt P13n Email LUGC Pull Reserve SocialGifting Redemption Merchant Pages City Guides SEO Global Header Homepage Goods Goods L and S Getaways Search iPad iPhone Android Touch BPOS BPRO Payments Sinai Search Booking Engine S3 Merchant Center Mobile Merchant Getaways Extranet Getaways MR BWeb Quantum Lead Deal WizardDeal Estate Unified Coffee Customer Service GWorks Deal Preview 500-600 PMs and engineers = Subscripton s Display Affiliate
  • 41. Booking GIG Funnel Opt P13n Email LUGC Pull Reserve Social Gifting Redemption Merchant Pages City GuidesSEOGlobal Header Homepage Goods Goods L and S Getaways Search iPad iPhone Android Touch BPOSBPRO Payments Sinai Search Booking Engine S3 Merchant Center Mobile Merchant Getaways Extranet Getaways MR BWeb Quantum Lead Deal Wizard Deal Estate Unified Coffee Customer Service GWorks Platform Local Goods/ Getaways Mobile Core Merchant Merchant OS Internal Tools Brand Design User Research Deal Preview 60 people= Prototyping Marketing Design Subscripton s Display Affiliate
  • 42. With a 1) centralized partnership, 2) teams with strong leadership, 3) influencing definition, and 4) a relatively small team, you have leverage.
  • 43. Leverage = Power There’s no reason design can’t be the driving force. We just need confidence, evidence, and commitment.
  • 45. D D DP P P P P P E E E E E E E E E E E E E E E E E E E E DE DESIGN 
 PRODUCT
 MGMT ENGINEERING Search/ Browse Product Page CheckoutPersonalizationUGC/ Reviews D D DDD Leadership Decentralized and Embedded
  • 46. S S DP P P P P P E E E E E E E E E E E E E E E E E E E E DE D D D DD DESIGN 
 PRODUCT
 MGMT ENGINEERING Search/ Browse Product Page CheckoutPersonalizationUGC/ Reviews Leadership Centralized Partnership
  • 48. S S DP P P P P P E E E E E E E E E E E E E E E E E E E E DE D D D DD DESIGN 
 PRODUCT
 MGMT ENGINEERING Search/ Browse Product Page CheckoutPersonalizationUGC/ Reviews Leadership Still stuck in a “features” world
  • 49. S S Design 
 Team D D D DD Shopping Experience Gifting Merchandising Sharing Social Wishlists In-store pickup Style guide PLUS Search/ Browse Product Page CheckoutPersonalizationUGC/ Reviews
  • 50. Thank you for your consideration. Peter Merholz e: peterme@peterme.com t: @peterme