How to align complex user journeys across different product teams

Daniel Diener
#NextLevelGermanEngineering
8 min readAug 6, 2019

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One of the main challenges we have today in delivering digital products is to maintain a consistent experience of a brand while at the same time multiple product teams are empowered to take responsibility for their part of the customer’s journey. Customers should not perceive any differences in their user experience from one product team to the next.

The traditional instinct is to centralize and create a single authority for design to enforce consistency. But let’s be honest, this is increasingly impractical in modern digital products. If everything comes from a single source, we slow down product development and thus we don’t respond quickly enough to meet the customer’s needs and expectations by taking a long time to bring features to the market.

Therefore, everyone from the user experience area should have an interest in promoting the decoupling of responsibility and supporting the development of product teams who can make conscious decisions for their customers. This way, we can reduce the time to market within the product teams. And with the increase of time to market we can reach the overall goal…increase our relevance and deepen our relationship with our customers.

This working model creates new challenges in the area of user experience.

How to align complex user journeys across different product teams

UX organization at My Porsche

At My Porsche, we have a UX Designer in every product team who takes care of the user experience in the product team. He works directly together with the developers to find the best solution for our customers and focuses totally on the team’s product. In My Porsche, we have created several product teams organized around business domains. For example, the Porsche ID team is taking care of login and digital profiles. The After Sales team delivers the service appointment booking capability and the Connect Store Team provides E-Commerce, where owners can buy or activate a Connect service for their vehicle.

Each product in itself is characterized by a certain complexity. Technically, we try to decouple the systems so that each team can make decisions autonomously and release independently. However, when we look at the UX area, making sure the customer has a consistent and seamless experience across these product teams means we have a very different set of dependencies to manage.

UX organization at My Porsche

Several teams, one journey

Let’s consider buying a charging service in the Porsche Connect Store. As a happy owner of a Porsche Cayenne E-Hybrid, I’m interested in charging my vehicle during working hours and have found that I can buy a service from Porsche with which I can load nationwide with one contract. I heard about this in the Porsche Newsletter. The newsletter links me to the Connect Store. To purchase the service, I am required to sign up to and I will be redirected to create a Porsche ID. After a successful login, the product is in the shopping cart and I can complete the purchase. I will receive a confirmation by e-mail.

Even in this simplified example, as a customer, I used journeys being produced by seven different teams. The people in charge of the Porsche Newsletter, the Porsche ID Team, the Connect Store Product Team, the Porsche ID Access Team, the Order Management Team, the Porsche ID Profile Team and of course the Messaging Team.

Technically, each team can develop their product independently of the others and all parameters are aligned to the goal of selling the charging service to the customer. From a holistic user experience perspective, it is our responsibility to make sure the customer receives a simple and coherent journey, which lets them achieve their goal, in this case being able to charge their Porsche Cayenne E-Hybrid in a manner consistent with their expectations of Porsche.

Our goal is to have a consistent, convenient and seamless customer journey in front of our customers. We are always looking for ways to better communicate a ‘customer eye view’ of the end-to-end experience. With this in mind, in 2019 we started trialing some new methods to align the UX Designers and Product Owners before the product team starts to develop new features.

Projects and features are being planned every quarter, prioritized within Initiatives by the My Porsche product team portfolio. The quarterly kick-off meeting is where the teams determine what features they will work on. The UX Designers and POs are naturally involved at this key moment in the product lifecycle, communicating the vision for the experience. We also felt there was a great opportunity here to have a focused session to align on what the overall experience should look like when the quarter finishes. With greater clarity around what the teams can deliver over the next three months, the UX and PO community take another look at the scope of the initiative, focusing on where the teams have dependencies on each other, and talking about how we build with consistency and cohesiveness, both across the teams and across previous initiatives.

Make the customer journey visible

Therefore, we established a Journey Showroom and a ritual called UX Camp, where we pinned up all screens of My Porsche as prints. Yes, we did it analog. Old school. But you’d be surprised how much it helps to see all sides of the journey. I have to admit myself, I discovered aspects of the experience where teams had built journeys that worked differently from what I expected. And it did surprise me how my assumptions from design reviews and research differed from what had been released. But this is a natural (and desirable!) effect of having teams who can respond to insights and changes. In the vast majority of cases, the teams had made the right decisions to deliver quality and value for our customers, and this speaks volumes for the velocity and insights of the product development of our teams.

Print Outs of the customer journey

To get into the shoes of the customer, we took the print outs of the existing journeys, including screens the customer might see before and after, as well as highlighting non-digital elements of the Porsche experience they might have encountered, such as dealers or the contact center. We then layered on the new features and changes from the initiative.

By simulating the whole experience like this we were able to see what slices and product teams will be affected and write new stories to take care of this UX debt. We could look to see the UI components we were improving and make sure we guarded against any creeping inconsistencies elsewhere in the customer journey.

Product Owners and UX Designers now have a living resource they can use to improve the holistic customer journey. And at this point, the development has not been started, so the UX Camp can generate the most value by indicating possible pain points in the customer journey, but also better illustrate what is needed to create a better, more cohesive digital product.

To help guide the session we defined some questions and considering points to lead us through the customer journey. We also looked to leverage previous learnings and design patterns, to make sure even where we have a new service, there is still an underlying familiarity the customer can lean on. For example, the journey for the charging service is similar to that for a parking service. We draw upon knowledge from the concept phase, development phase and crucially feedback after go-live, and make sure these insights and synergies are continually shared across teams, throughout delivery.

When considering the customer journey, we think about what the customers do before the journey begins. What is it they have come to our service to achieve? We care about what the user thinks and feels before they use our service, what they see and what their expectations are. There are particular and crucial moments for forging a relationship with our customers. Deciding to buy a Porsche, test-driving the car, taking delivery, driving the car for the first drive … these are formative moments in a special relationship, filled with energy and significance. Our challenge is to take those expectations into the digital space and to exceed them. We need to join up the non-digital parts of the journey, so the handover to the dealer is seamless and feels natural. Besides, where we have partner relationships and non-Porsche touchpoints to consider. And at the end of it all, where do we leave the customer after the journey we are currently focused on? How can we lead the customer through the Porsche Universe, or is there a Next Best Action we can suggest, and show Porsche is more than they currently realize?

It’s important to remember, no specific decisions will be made within this workshop. It’s not supposed to be a decision-making board. The UX Camp shouldn’t be seen to be overriding a team’s decision-making authority, and that is something we don’t want.

What we do achieve is greater alignment and visibility across the portfolio. We establish who needs to talk to who, and we uncover previously unseen dependencies and opportunities to pay down UX debts. The teams themselves can then proceed with this enhanced vision and knowledge.

UX camp at Porsche

To sum it up, this activity has three important outputs

First, we want to make clear which colleagues are involved, or have previous knowledge that can help delivery and who needs to work with who. Second, the pain points are identified at an early stage and can then be carried into the concept phase, as well as into delivery. Third, we create an opportunity to talk as a key stakeholder group about consistency, quality and how customers will use our product, so we are prepared to build the best product for our users. And then, throughout the quarter, we set up a weekly UX Guild meeting, where we can check in with each other about progress, and talk about possible solutions.

Special thanks to Steve Hyke from ThoughtWorks for joining the journey to invent the My Porsche Showroom.

Follow us on Twitter (Porsche Digital Lab Berlin, Porsche Digital), Instagram (Porsche Digital Lab Berlin, Porsche Digital) and LinkedIn (Porsche Digital Lab Berlin, Porsche Digital) for more. Are you interested in a job at Porsche? You can find all the details on careers and career opportunities at Porsche here. For a look behind the scenes, follow us on Instagram.

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