When I first started at Medidata, there was the rudiments of a design group which had mostly been operating in a reactive manner. After establishing the Design function in EMEA and now managing the designers in New York and San Francisco, I saw the opportunity to transform the way the company defined and prioritised its roadmap and move from a feature quantity mindset (celebrating the number of features released) to a value-based outcome-driven portfolio.

The challenge

How to change established processes and habits around feature definition and implementation?


The approach

There were three elements we had to influence:

  • The way Design was embedded within Agile
  • Link users to feature-value and feature-value to revenue
  • Clearly surface all the pieces necessary for a true holistic platform experience

Working with the Sales and Customer Success teams, we highlighted the link between contract cancellations during onboarding, non-renewals and sales pitch losses, and clients’ pushing unsatisfactory user experience as one of the main reasons.

Then working with PMO, Engineering and the Product function, we looked at ways to decrease development rework (we calculated the cost of unvalidated concepts rejected by clients after implementation) and how a more user-centric approach could be embedded into the existing tools and processes.

After a few presentations to the Senior Leadership and cross-functional teams on Tools & Methodologies for a Focus on Outcomes, I became involved in reshaping the current Software Development Lifecycle with new SOP (Standard Operating Procedures).

We then had all the functions and employees involved, directly or indirectly, with implementation, go through a set of training sessions (some of them related to User-centred Design Methodology).

In parallel, we started organising Design Thinking workshops, not only with the Product teams but also as part of innovation efforts such as hackathons.

The results

Slowly but surely, the organisation has started defining OKRs linked to perceived value and see better user experience linked to revenue loss and gain, and assumption validation is becoming more and more a business-as-usual activity.