Whenever I am managing my own department, even in a largely leadership-centric role. I try to take on an interaction design and/or research project periodically, to keep my skills fresh, and also, because I love making things. The perfect opportunity arose at Perforce, when my whole team was fully deployed on roadmap work, but our consulting organization had a very exciting RFP for which they needed my assistance. Perforce had the opportunity to become the versioning and collaboration engine for Adidas' shoe designers -- if we could demonstrate at the RFP stage that we could build something that would satisfy their designers' needs and sensibilities.
I sent a set of higher-than-usual-fidelity wireframes over to the account manager, and was delighted to learn that we landed the deal! Not only because it was a fantastic project for a fantastic client, but because from a design strategy perspective, I knew that there was high demand for tools designed for artists. Perforce has a strong comparative advantage against its main competitor, Git, in its superior handling of large binary files. Large game studios and entertainment shops were some of the company's most loyal customers -- but we had never made a tool that was designed specifically for artists to manage their files. I was excited for the opportunity to simultaneously address a significant known end user need, while working on such a fun project.
Since my team remained tied up on roadmap work, I got to work with the consulting and account teams, with both the developer and the customer in Europe, and was able to go visit the end user design team in Portland. I hired my favorite visual designer, Chris Lielasus, with whom I had worked at my two previous companies, and we delivered the designs together.
The custom version was rolled out in early 2015 to footwear designers throughout Adidas. A white-label version is available as a free open source product in the Perforce workshop.
I was pretty excited that my key stakeholders at Adidas presented about the product I designed at the 2014 Perforce user conference (and gave me a little shout-out at the end).
I was even more excited that the next time I went to visit one of our major gaming and entertainment customers, and I sat down and showed Piper to a Technical Director and her team. Their team had just shifted all of their versioning to our product, but were frustrated with the lack of artist tools available as part of our standard package. The looks on their faces when I told them yes, they could download it for free right now, were priceless. I love making people smile by designing good software for them.
My role: Lead UX designer, design strategy.