Member Management at ThinkDataWorks

Jennifer He
2 min readNov 4, 2022

Improving how employees are invited to an organization’s data catalog and helping administrators manage a large number of members.

Role: Product design lead

Duration: 2 months

Team: Engineering manager, design manager

About ThinkDataWorks

It is common for organizations to create or purchase datasets to support business decisions. When an organization owns thousands of datasets, there needs to be a way to manage how they are used.

A data catalog helps organizations govern the usage of their data, so they obtain the best business solutions.

What is member management?

Member management is where members of an organization are invited to the catalog. Permissions are assigned to each member which restrict what actions they can perform within the platform, which is called member governance.

Who is our primary user?

The primary user of the member management feature was the catalog administrator. In real life, this could be a project manager.

Problems

Member invitation module (before)

It was inefficient to invite new members and assign their permissions.

  • Members are invited one member at a time
  • Members are assigned permissions one member at a time
Assigning permissions (after)

It was difficult to govern the permissions of a large number of members.

  • Users cannot discover which members have a particular set of permissions
  • Permissions can be assigned by users ad-hoc

Solution

The final solution

Highlights

  • Multiple members can be invited and assigned permissions at a time
  • Member permissions are discoverable
  • Permissions are sorted into roles which reduces ad-hoc activity

Learnings

Working with ambiguity

At a smaller B2B startup, I didn’t have the opportunity to talk to our clients directly. I would typically see this as a setback, but this is actually an opportunity to adapt. For example, I had conversations with the product director and researched competitors.

Thinking about the product lifecycle

Even though our company wasn’t at a stage where we had quantitative or qualitative data, we would be soon! This project made me realize that the product is always evolving and what I design today (even without research) will be used for research in the future. Therefore, my goal as a designer at this stage of our product lifecycle is to determine what questions need to be answered and create designs that are conducive to answering those questions.

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Jennifer He
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product designer, phoebe bridgers' split ends, not a formula 1 driver