How Porsche’s UX Design Operations helps teams to simplify product development

Daniel Diener, Marcel Bertram and Christian Pottiez established and lead the UX Design Operations team at Porsche. They work to orchestrate and optimize UX design across the whole company so that the product teams can focus entirely on delivering value. In this post, they share insights into their ideas and plans for the future of a shared user-centric design culture at Porsche.

Imagine you are a car company and every time you develop a new model you have to rethink how to develop and manufacture it. Every screw, every wrench and every step in the assembly workflow must first be newly created. Exhausting, isn’t it? The same logic applies to digital products. That’s why we founded the UX Design Operations Team in the environment of digital product development at Porsche. We ensure that all product teams at Porsche can focus their resources on creating value by taking care of the design workflow.

Porsche Design Operations — the platform for exciting user experience

We see ourselves as a platform to take the product teams at Porsche to another level. UX Design Operations orchestrates and optimizes UX design to allow the digital product organization to create an exciting user experience efficiently and effectively. The digital product organization ensures that self-organized teams work across departments, all applying the same methods, principles and processes. With our help, they can concentrate entirely on delivering value and what is expected of the Porsche brand without losing traction through inefficient workflows. In addition to staffing and empowering dedicated UX skills within our organization, our job is to continuously inject user experience into product development and establish a user-centric mindset.

We want to equip every team with the people, knowledge, tools and methods to pass all relevant milestones from the first ideas to the final launch of their product. Our team offers guidance through all four phases of the process: discovery, creation, testing and evaluation.

Using our Tools & Methods is like building with bricks: Easy, systematic and standardized.

We developed standardized tools and methods to ensure efficiency, quality and collaboration in product development. For example, in the discovery phase, personas help us to focus on the right users. They make otherwise anonymous users tangible. Brand-specific Porsche personas illustrate characteristics, lifestyles, needs and intentions of different customer segments. With standardized research tools and workflows, we make it easy to conduct, analyze and share different kinds of research methods. Whether it is an interview or a survey with our customers or a rapidly performed crowd usability test. Furthermore, our research repository is a central source of truth for making all the insights easily accessible to everyone throughout the organization.

Tools & Methods are important for the Design Culture

Another great example of our standardization approach in the creation phase is the Porsche Design System, which is developed and maintained by a dedicated stream of the UX Design Operations. By centrally developing and providing reusable building blocks for all of our digital applications we were able to not only improve the efficiency of releasing new products but further to increase the consistency, quality and accessibility of all digital touchpoints all at once (Learn more about the Porsche Design System).

As a team we empower people and collaboration

Developing tools theoretically is one thing. Testing whether they work in practical use is another. That’s why we sometimes see ourselves in the role of a ‘special operations team’. It works like this: We look for a team within the Porsche universe and ask if there’s a process the team would like to improve. We look at the process together and clarify which areas of expertise we want to cover in this journey. From Discovery, to Research, to UX Writing and Accessibility. In consultation with the team, we choose the appropriate methods from our toolbox or simply develop new ones directly. In our last project, for example, we looked at the ordering process for floor mats. We defined a goal and worked out the ideal process for an order. We succeeded in significantly reducing the steps buying a floor mat. Win-Win: As Design Ops, we tested our methods and tools, and the product team was able to improve their customer journey.

An effective and efficient design workflow does not automatically result in a better holistic user experience — We also feel responsible for the outcome

It is important for us to continuously evaluate our approach and the UX maturity both of our organization and the user-facing product experiences. We continuously challenge ourselves, our tools and methods and evolve with our surrounding environment. By having overarching measurement instruments in place, like annual health check surveys and interviews or enterprise-wide accessibility monitoring, we can track the status and the development of our measurements and see where we are successful and where we need to focus on for improvement. Just as we advise our teams to do with their products — UX inception at its best!

We cover (almost) all aspects of UX design

Our activities are aligned with the goal of shaping the designs of Porsche’s digital product range in such a way that they are immediately identified as part of a unique brand. We can only fulfill this ambitious goal because, firstly, we act as an experienced cohesive team with a great deal of expertise and passion and, secondly, we are also recognized as an independent authority within the company.

Our team consists of the most diverse UX disciplines. Each discipline has its own expert, who is responsible for his area of expertise and provides his knowledge. We want to scale this knowledge to our product teams and motivate our designers to develop and help themselves in the best case. As part of this blog series, we plan to introduce each area and the experts in the future so that our readers also get professional insights into what we are currently working on.

Instead of waiting and drinking tea until the next post, we recommend our podcast that we recorded together with Creators of Beautiful Experiences. It gives you interesting insights from our daily UX Design Operations life and introduces Daniel and Marcel up close.

Christian Pottiez, Marcel Bertram & Daniel Diener, UX Designer at Porsche AG

About this publication: Where innovation meets tradition. There’s more to Porsche than sports cars — we are developing new digital products and services — always with our customers in focus. On our Medium blog, we tell these stories. It’s about our #nextvisions, emerging technologies, and the people that drive our digital journey. If you want to know more, follow us on Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn.

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