Design at PlanGrid

Frequently Asked Questions

Alissa Briggs
Oct 16, 2018 · 10 min read

👋 Hi there! Thanks for considering opportunities with PlanGrid.

Choosing where to invest your skills and energy is an important decision. Here are some questions we frequently get about PlanGrid’s design team, organization, and business. We look forward to getting to know you.

PlanGrid’s “Why”

Look around you: construction is everywhere. It’s one of the biggest and oldest industries in the world, and yet it lags behind every other industry in productivity. PlanGrid was born from the convergence of cloud, mobile, and high-speed internet with the aim to lift the industry “out of the stone ages,” as our customers put it.

Join us in our mission to create software that will revolutionize a $10+ trillion industry. We are passionate about building and selling software that people love to use. As a result, over 1 million projects are now being built at a pace that was previously impossible.

Learn more about PlanGrid’s Vision for Construction

Designing for Construction

The Design Team’s mission is to craft frictionless, high quality experiences that transform how construction teams build. Your work here will literally help people build the future faster.

Why does design matter to PlanGrid?

At PlanGrid, design is our key competitive advantage, and it helps us win the love of our users around the world. Our Net Promoter Score is best-in-class, and “ease of use” is the #1 selling point cited by our customers. Since construction workers are typically not very tech savvy, it’s very important that our user experience is clear, simple, and frictionless. In fact, we’ve spoken with customers who never used a computer before trying PlanGrid, but now they use PlanGrid every day on their mobile devices!

What are some of the unique challenges of designing for construction?

Construction is an incredibly complex, messy process that is filled with tons of paper and laborious workflows. This creates some unique design challenges:

  • How might we create value for wildly different types of users, businesses, and projects? We use “Jobs to be Done,” lean experimentation, and an iterative approach to focus on the right problems and ensure we’re solving them successfully.
  • How might we remove friction from both the physical and digital workflow? We’re big fans of Service Design. We’re also exploring how new technology like drones, 3D models, GPS, 360 photos, and more can help us transform the ways teams interact on the job site.
  • How might we design for real world conditions of a construction site? Construction sites don’t look anything like our offices: they don’t have wifi, the sun is really bright, people are wearing gloves, and more. Designing for accessibility and inclusion is critical.

The PlanGrid Design Team

How many people are on the Design Team?

We are currently a team of 20 designers, researchers, and content strategists, and we’re growing fast. Each of us brings different background, strengths, and interests. We love working together, learning from one another, and nerding out about UX while not taking ourselves too seriously.

Where does the Design Team “fit” at PlanGrid?

At PlanGrid, Design forms a trifecta with Product and Engineering. This trifecta plans and executes at each level of the R&D Organization, which is responsible for everything product-related at PlanGrid.

At the R&D level, our Head of Design, VP of Product, and VP of Engineering work together on overall R&D strategy, roadmap, and organizational planning.

At the Group Level, Design Managers work with Engineering Managers and Group PMs to set the strategy and roadmap for each Group’s mission.

At the Initiative Level, designers, engineers, and PMs execute on individual initiatives as part of the broader Group mission. They set strategy, design, and deliver for an area of ownership within their Group.

The design team is structured according to the R&D groups:

  • Product Designers report to Design Managers, who lead Groups
  • Researchers report centrally to our Research Manager and work on specific Group initiatives
  • Our Content Team reports to the Head of Design and works across all Groups

What are the different roles on the Design Team at PlanGrid?

While we refer to our team as the “Design Team,” there any many different roles within our team that contribute to the overall experience design.

  • Product Designers define the user experience for a product or feature. They work with PMs and Researchers to understand the problem to be solved and identify context and key user needs. Next, they apply the appropriate processes to define a high quality solution and support Engineering on the delivery of high quality end user experience.
  • Researchers identify and achieve learning goals for a product or feature. They work with PMs and Product Designers to plan and conduct studies that help articulate and scope problems early on in the product development process (“generative” research), and studies that drive meaningful feedback on solutions later in the product development process (“evaluative” research).
  • Content Strategists guide our content design and delivery. This includes setting our voice and tone, managing style guides, and working with Product Designers to implement UI writing. Content Strategists work closely with other departments to manage our education strategy, release documentation, and help material.

How does the Design Team work with PM and engineering?

We believe designers do their best work when involved through the entire product process. It starts with planning — what can we build that will have the biggest positive impact on our users? And it resolves with shipping beautiful, simple, delightful tools for our customers. We operate with a trifecta model: Product Management, Design, and Engineering work together on strategy, planning, design, and execution, with each discipline driving their respective areas of expertise. This means that your day might include doing user research with a product manager to identify new opportunities, sharing wireframes with your team for feedback, and pairing with engineers to hone a new design component.

How does the Design Team work together?

While each person has their own areas of responsibility and ownership, we also love working together to do big things! There are several things we do to ensure we’re operating as a united team:

  • Weekly Design Team meeting
  • Weekly Critique + Shareout
  • Regular Group meetings and collaboration sessions
  • Weekly Design System Council meeting
  • Individuals regularly ask for or provide feedback to one another informally throughout the week, in addition to planning and participating in workshops, studios, etc.

What will my first few months at PlanGrid look like?

We’re here to help you succeed! Read more about our New Hire Blueprint, and how we help designers get started on the right foot.

What platforms do you design for?

PlanGrid is available on iOS, Android, Windows, and Web. While each designer might have a favorite platform, we are all comfortable working across platforms. If you only have experience on one or two platforms, that’s ok. You’ll be surrounded by teammates who are here to help you learn.

What tools do you use?

You’re welcome to use whatever tools you need to get the job done. And we’re always eager to hear about new tools and techniques! We work in Sketch, Figma, and Abstract, and sometimes jump into Adobe CC. We use Invision and Framer for prototyping. We also use productivity tools like Slack, Google Docs, and Dropbox.

Do designers at PlanGrid code?

We aren’t typically writing code, but we are sufficiently technical to balance feasibility while pushing the limits of technology. Many of us are also fluent enough in CSS, HTML, and other frontend technologies to create interactive prototypes and pair with engineers when needed.

How do you bring users into the design process?

Everyone at PlanGrid, from the CEO to designers and engineers, spends lots of time speaking with customers. We conduct user research regularly throughout the design process, from exploratory need-finding to usability testing. We go on construction site visits (bring your hard hat!) and frequently bring construction workers into the office to share more about their lives. 20% of our employees have a construction background, so there are plenty of experts to answer your questions.

Why PlanGrid

We are motivated by our drive to solve meaningful problems. Construction is incredibly complicated and full of headaches, so it’s really rewarding to hear customers say, “wow, that was easy!” when they try PlanGrid. We also help save our customers time so they can get back to their families at the end of the day. It’s very gratifying to see the impact we’re having on the company, our customers, and the construction industry as a whole.

What are some fun office perks?

We have all the Silicon Valley perks: dog-friendly office, ping pong tables, fully-stocked snacks, catered lunch 3 days a week, happy hours, etc. As a team we also make our own fun: past team events have included a street art class, making succulent terrariums, bowling, and natural wine tasting.

What’s the work/life balance like?

We believe people do the best work when they are happy, healthy, and well-rested. What you create is so much more important than how many hours you’re in the office. We have a take-what-you-need vacation policy, and people actually do take vacations. You really do get the best of both worlds — we’re small enough that you can make a huge impact, and we’re stable enough that you can live a healthy and sustainable life.

What do employees love about PlanGrid?

Here are just a few reasons that members of the PlanGrid Design Team love working here:

  • For me, PlanGrid was the best of both worlds: big enough to have mentorship and support, but small enough for me to have a large impact. It’s exciting to be contributing to such an important industry and I’m challenged every day with complex work. Plus, the team’s awesome! Everyone is down-to-earth and I felt welcomed here from Day 1.” — Chantal, joined August 2016, formerly at Sutro Health, D2L, and web design agencies
  • “I came to PlanGrid because working here provides an opportunity to solve real problems, change a critical industry for the better, and have a meaningful impact on the lives of our users — and on the world.” — Cody, joined June 2015, formerly at Lab Zero Innovations, Kodak, and web design agencies
  • “As a researcher, working with a group of product users who have such unique constraints and needs is very exciting and fulfilling. Even better is doing that work with designers and a product team who are passionate and talented. People here at PlanGrid care deeply about the customers and each other, and I feel that everyday in how we work.” — Christiana, joined April 2017, formerly at DesignMap, Citrix, and Dezudio
  • “Prior to joining, I heard friends in the construction industry rave about PlanGrid. After joining the company, I learned that behind-the-scenes is a group of intelligent and thoughtful individuals who thrive on building an experience that users need and love — many thanks to a supportive work culture and a collaborative environment.” — Emily, joined December 2017, formerly at Course Hero, Stockpile, and PwC
  • “The design team at PlanGrid is so talented and welcoming. I was put on challenging projects that let me grow, but also worked closely with more experienced designers that could help me if I needed. (Not sure if it sounds like someone paid me to write that.)” — Kevin, Design intern, joined December 2017, formerly at reebee Inc, TD Canada
  • “My internship at PlanGrid was easily the most challenging and rewarding internship I’ve ever had. I got to work with — and learn under — not only some of the best designers in the industry, but also with outstanding engineers and PMs. What really set this experience apart for me was how much my manager and team cared about my professional development, as well as my personal well-being. It really made me feel supported in all aspects, right from day 1.” — Theresa, Design Intern, joined December 2017, formerly at Veeva, RBC

PlanGrid’s Business

What’s the business model?

We have a subscription-based software-as-a-service model. Each month we add new recurring revenue from new customers and expanded use by existing customers. Since our solution really works, we have low churn. Therefore, we are continually making more money overall, and spend very little effort re-winning business.

What are PlanGrid’s overall business prospects?

Currently we address just a tiny sliver of the total market. The opportunity is huge and very accessible, as long as we execute, which we have done consistently. We have ramped up our sales and marketing departments massively, with demonstrable success. All indications are strong that we will execute on our market expansion strategy.

What is PlanGrid’s value proposition to customers?

PlanGrid helps building owners, architects, and contractors easily identify and solve issues on construction sites. Customers see an average ROI of over 2,000% by eliminating paper, saving on labor costs, and reducing rework. Check out what Level 10 Construction (a General Contractor currently building the 181 Fremont St. building in the Financial District) is saying about PlanGrid in this video.

Who founded PlanGrid?

PlanGrid’s founding team has deep experience in both technology and construction. Watch our CEO and cofounder Tracy share more about PlanGrid’s origin story at the YC Female Founders Conference.

This all sounds amazing. How do I apply for jobs?

We look forward to meeting you! Please send your resume and portfolio to the PlanGrid Careers website.

PlanGrid Design

Stories from the Design Team at PlanGrid

Thanks to Peter Zogas.

Alissa Briggs

Written by

Head of Design at @PlanGrid. Formerly at @JoinBrigade and @Intuit. Insatiably curious. www.alissabriggs.com

PlanGrid Design

Stories from the Design Team at PlanGrid