SOTG

Supervisor-On-The-Go: Behind the Music Part 2

Let’s continue where we left off: our dashing protagonist had narrowly averted disaster and escaped with the secret recipe to create Supervisor On-The-Go in hand. Now we needed to assemble the right ingredients and get cooking but a couple eggs are a long way from a soufflé. We needed to figure out how to take the customer needs we observed, requirements we gathered and piles of data we had assimilated – and create something that could change the way supervisors work. How do we decode the hidden message within this research and make an application that really matters and improves contact centers? We needed to use the power of the inContact platform to create an app that adds so much value managers can’t afford not to get their supervisor’s an iPad.

As we transitioned from research and into design, there was an air of accomplishment in the office. Everyone came in confident and ready to get rolling on some drawings. We knew what we wanted: how hard could it be to sketch? We started digging into our notes and sharing our insights from the research phase. Contact Center Supervisors want flexibility and customization, they want to feel empowered, they want to strengthen their agents and help them succeed, they want to learn and grow themselves, they want a work life balance and they want to be as productive as possible. We knew supervisors like the back of our hands: we’d interviewed them, we had watched them work and I was starting to see them in my sleep. The team was ready to work some magic.

I have a recurring dream where I am moving slower than everyone around me. The air feels heavy and I feel sluggish as if I am walking through water but everyone around me is moving at normal speed. I get so frustrated because I can’t keep up and I am unable to accomplish simple tasks without great effort. This dream perhaps foreshadowed the weeks spent turning this data into a relevant design concept. The team around me was drawing, writing, presenting and exploring every possible option and I was frozen in place, putting everything I had into every move. I knew it was time to make permanent decisions and I began doubting everything. Did I really gather data or was it confirmation bias? Did I taint the test group? Did I ask leading questions? Did I talk to enough people? Do I know anything I think I know because I certainly don’t know what I thought I knew before I questioned what I know? I needed to pull myself together.

More than 65% of new products fail but very rarely do people acknowledge their product only has a 35% chance of success. Everyone goes in expecting 100% chance of success. We identify risks, build mitigation strategies, lay out our road map, identify the resources necessary for success and strategize every detail. The only time you can truly face the dark reality of possible failure as a product manager is in this phase. You realize what can go wrong, you see the flaws in your plan and you are confronted with the development constraints you will be facing. This is where you need to cut the waste, surface the best ideas, take a step back and either fold or go all in. I realized it was time for me to go all in, this was a concept I was passionate about and something I wish I’d had as a contact center supervisor. In this realization I shook off the dream state and we were able to start doing some real design.

The early drawings were much different than what you see today. I wanted to jam everything on one screen so that Supervisors never had to navigate. Of course this meant massive scrolling in tiny spaces and a page that, when moving in real time, would look more like a fireworks show than a contact center tool.

After trying out as many ways as we could think of, we settled on the experience you see today that is focused on two very distinct patterns that we call the summary views and the detail views. We wanted the navigation to not only be simple but to also be useful leading us to implement the live menu system that dual purposes the navigation controls as real time widgets. We also made it so you can use a two finger swipe to navigate across sections quickly when you are on the go. We made sure that nothing in the app was ever more than three gestures away so supervisors could impact change quickly and efficiently. We acted out all of the scenarios we saw in our live observations and made sure that every aspect of the design facilitated the supervisor work flow.

We now had the design down to the last pixel. We had our dream laid out in a perfect set of pictures that looked so real you could feel the app in action just looking at them. We were ready to start development and turn this into a reality. We had presented it all to the developers, the architects and of course the customers to ensure we were ready. We were prepared to jump into the challenge of development but we didn’t realize that development was not going to be our next challenge. The next challenge is the one that plagues many projects with high aspirations; I had already blown through most my budget and hadn’t built anything! In the next edition I’ll tell the story of how we sliced, diced and reassembled to ensure the Supervisor On-The-Go vision was able to continue.

Stay tuned for the third and final chapter of my epic journey.

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