Many companies were managing team skills without a real system for tracking, resulting in team members efforts often going unnoticed or forgotten. Generally, managers and trainers lose track of individual performance because of the lack of standardization across the board.
How might we help sales enablement leaders understand the skill progression of their teams so that they provide a more meaningful and pointed coaching experience?
I operated as a lead Product Designer.
I was the Product Designer along with a Product Manager, Back-end Engineer, Front-end Engineer, and occasionally a dedicated Product Researcher. My tasks consisted of facilitating problem definition and ideation sessions, creating prototypes, pairing with development on front-end stories, and assisting the researcher as he or she facilitated concept and usability testing sessions.
As a team, we were able to design and deliver the MVP of a brand new app that launched March 2021.
Our design process was not a straight line.
This project was unique since we built and tested the product with Beta customers before we even had confidence in usefulness; Leadership desired to get ahead of the market when fulfilling a gap since there were few skills applications solving this problem for customer service and sales enablement, so we had an exciting opportunity ahead of us.
Even with excitement, this process had challenges...
Admittedly, designing for a problem that hasn't been solved before AND building it before gaining conviction comes with it's own set of problems for a designer:
- I was not fully onboard: We did not have sufficient research to back-up usage. Our initial concept test resulted in customers saying, "this is nice, but we don't have the content required to use it." aka a huge barrier to entry.
- I designed without much knowledge: We were designing and building as a way to test value, so it would be tough for any designer who thrives on rationale and feeling confident in the journey to solution with confidence.
- This pilot quickly turned into the real thing. Many features that were simply experiments became permanent, which resulted in me needing to workaround workflows that later proved to not be useful.
MVP Solution Highlights
A trainer within a sales or customer service department is interested in knowing high level data on skill performance for their department. Here are questions they'd want answered:
- Which skills are underperforming on my team? Why?
- Which assessment types are contributing to underperformance? As in, is this coming from an external metric or internal person-to-person review?
This view is helpful in knowing which skills they need to coach their team on. From here, they'd ideally drill down into each skill to discover which person(s) are contributing to lower skill levels. This provides the opportunity to coach at the source by creating a Coaching Plan for that individual.
Team Historical Skill Data
Trainer & Manager Personas:
Trainers and managers are interested in the historical performance of the team. How has the team/this person grown? Where did things go wrong or right in their performance? This page helps them answer these questions. They're also able to view assessment notes from here (assessments shown further down), which provides an understanding of specific performance instances.
- How has the team/this person grown?
- Where did things go wrong or right?
Like before, they're able to drill down into each skill, metric, and individual assessments to learn more about the source of the problems.
For a manager specifically, it is important to coach on the individual level rather than viewing overall team data. This solution provides an alternate view of the dashboard that answers:
- What are the weakest and strongest skills for each person on my team?
- Where still needs to be addressed as a next step? (incomplete tasks shown in the last column)
Another important feature for a manager is the ability to create and assign assessments. The main assessment types are:
- Self Assessments
- Performance Reviews
- One-Time Skill Observations
- Performance Metrics
These assessments are the bread and butter of the experience since all data stems from here.
Some Future Considerations & Learnings
Team Member Enhancements: We learned that the true end-users are the team members. Their needs are foundational for the future success of Skills since their buy-in and participation in the experience is what contributes to reliable data. A design opportunities from here is the ability to share skill resources and career trajectories as an example of what good looks like. This creates an avenue for Skills to function as a resource that drives internal promotions.
Integration with Lessonly's Learning Platform: One area of passion for me as a designer is making sure that different tools and products are connected in meaningful ways. I saw a future where Lessonly's LMS and Skills are either fully integrated or rebuilt as one application. I had the opportunity to start creating the vision for this, outlined here:
Case Study: Lessonly + Seismic Integrating Apps
Future of Coaching: Skills is one sector of this idea of better coaching. We believed that this would open the door for more features that are geared towards mentoring and personal skill growth outside of day-to-day assessments and tasks.