How to drive innovation and transform a team

in 4 days

Header image for this success story
We learned things we never would have known without the design sprint!
Lotta N.
Product Owner

A bit of background

HR Plus is a powerful, cloud based payroll product with a lot of integrations to other products. It is mainly used by the enterprise segment, which includes customers with 1 000 to about 60 000 employees as well as a couple of municipalities. HR Plus consists of several modules within salary and HR, where the salary revision module is one of them. It is partly built on old technology and is not very user friendly today.

The main focus during this sprint was to create a first version of a new, user-friendly and intuitive salary revision module, meant to help managers easily to set the right new salary level for their employees during the yearly salary adjustment process. Since there is a central team within Visma that focuses on user experience the decision to get help from them was natural.

We ran a Design Sprint

Since the team was distributed in a few different locations, we decided to run the sprint online. We split it up so that we had the first two days one week and the two last days the following week. This can help in making the experience less overwhelming, while still keeping up the momentum.

The first thing to do in any discovery project is clear problem solving and goal setting, to figure out exactly what we are solving and how we will measure success. We reduced the scope to the following challenge:

How might we create a user friendly workflow for leaders doing salary revisions?
And how might we inform their decisions and make them more efficient with the help of machine learning?

Interviewing experts helped the team agree on the main functionality and the main flow for the solution. Visualising the full journey for all users can be as simple as in the image below, however, it is very helpful to understand the scope and all important flows of the entire journey. In this case we limited the scope to one user, leaders, performing salary revisions.

We came up with a new version of the revision process

We started off with a lightning demo, getting some inspiration of products and experiences the team finds cool before going into sketching.

We had two sketching rounds for the user flow. One where the goal was to get high level ideas down, and one where we went more into details. After each sketching round, the team presented their concepts to each other and voted on their favourite concept.

At the end of each session we created a storyboard together, where we mapped out the sketches to fit the optimal user flow mapped out earlier.

After creating the storyboard, we started prototyping the solution. Since this sprint was distributed over two weeks, we took the opportunity to settle on some ideas through a lofi prototype before going into the hifi design. For this we used Balsamiq and communicated with the team over Slack, a process that worked really well!

Once we were aligned we started to create the hifi prototype. To make this process as efficient as possible, we used the VUD design libraries and established design patterns, which have been tested and refined over time. This allowed us to innovate where it really mattered, in this case the interaction pattern for the salary revision, while spending no more than a few hours on the prototype. It’s safe to say that we could never reach the same high quality result without having the design system. It is a game changer for design sprints!

Usability testing with users

The most rewarding part of any design sprint - testing with users! The team ran 5 usability tests with really good results. They got both valuable feedback and more ideas from the users. In addition, they had a few aha-moments, like seeing that their customers are actually quite similar in how they work.

The team thought they would continue to need lots of customisation between customers, but from the tests it seems that they mainly need that possibility in the table, where the customers differed slightly in which information they wanted to see. That was a super cool finding!

It was also really nice to see all the engagement from customers, the fact that they prioritised giving us their valuable time. To meet the real users and not only the roles we are used to meeting, like "systemförvaltare", which is more of an admin role.

Main takeaways

The most important takeaway for our team was that we, in just 30-40 minutes, really learned a lot about what is important for the users. We would not have been aware of the findings we got by just guessing and making assumptions.

I think many people are a bit uncomfortable meeting customers, but when we did it as a team it was easier for everyone to relax and really focus on the users behaviour and needs.

The Mural board gave us a very good place to help us remember why we made the decisions we made and is a perfect overview of the whole design sprint. The team is more confident about what is right and wrong when discussing the solution with the business unit. They have been inspired to use mockups and prototypes more often.

We really learned things we never would have known without the design sprint and will use parts of or the whole process whenever we build something new from now on.

HR Plus - Dialog
HR Plus - Drawer
HR Plus - Grids

Final notes from facilitators

Looking at the testimonials from the team, and the realisations they had over the course of just four days, it just goes to show how big of an impact a design sprint can have on a team and the way they work.

We have seen this many times now, and have started to gather data that shows that design sprints can rapidly increase UX maturity in teams and change the way teams approach challenges together, work with user and product insights as well as product design.

Finally, we want to congratulate the HR Plus team on a successful sprint - we look forward to working with you again and take part of your success story!

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