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"I will always bring order to your chaos."

Scholastic: Applied Techniques (Product Management & User Experience)

Case Description:

Selected techniques & business processes used to unify business units, conduct user research, communicate key product & feature information, and team development status and release plans. Deliverables include;

Figure 1

User Research: Feedback Dashboard

Robin Gittens' digital space '' | Portfolio Case Study 5 | Scholastic: Applied Techniques (Product Management & User Experience) | Figure 1: User Research (Feedback Dashboard)

What was the problem?

As I continually partnered with the business unit which governed the company’s primary eCommerce experience, ‘Reading Club’ the following challenges were always evident:

  • There was a constant rejection towards any mention of incorporating a ‘user-centered strategy.’
  • There was constant rejection of applying their budget towards user research, testing or even a small 2 - 3 person UX team.

When their secondary eCommerce experience ‘Classroom Essentials Catalog’ was launched in September 2014, stakeholders stated that there was no need to implement any analytics tracking code to be consumed by the Adobe Analytics platform. As a result, no actual insights on user behavior/ interactions could have been captured. The only data that was relevant to business was financial i.e.the amount of orders placed, and whether the business was making money on a monthly basis.

They did however, have a 3rd party web survey application which captured any feedback/ comments from users along their various journeys on the website. The question I had was “How could I combine those comments, as well as those from social media, incoming calls/ email to customer service, and perform some level of thematic analysis on that repository of cross-channel qualitative data?”

Figure 2

Product Roadmap (Report)

Robin Gittens' digital space '' | Portfolio Case Study 5 | Scholastic: Applied Techniques (Product Management & User Experience) | Figure 2: Product Roadmap

What was my purpose?

  • To unify and identify persons from customer service, as well as, marketing who take ownership of capturing feedback from: the web survey platform, a facebook group, an instagram account, incoming phone calls, as well as, incoming emails.
  • Create a centralized repository for them to quickly albeit easily ‘dump’ this qualitative data so we can review, organize and automatically generate infographics which reported on various aspects (metrics) of user challenges i.e. time/date, user role, device, browser, actual user statement, customer service response, and priority level.
  • Meet the team on a weekly basis, to review any recent user feedback and apply current or new themes (labels) to more efficiently categorize the feedback. As a result, this qualitative data analysis would automatically appear in different dimensions in the more complex infographic.Constantly, Identify and prioritize features related to enhancements or new interactions - to eventually share with my agile development team - which would alleviate the user challenges.
  • Present leadership with a PowerPoint summary of the issues on a bi-weekly basis with a summarized version of the top ten (10) themes, or rather, points-of-frustration which can be easily ‘actioned’ into prioritized features which my development can deliver to users
  • Create their first Product Roadmap, and educate key stakeholders on its purpose and usage; and institute bi-weekly meetings to communicate the development team’s status, and release plans.
  • Educate stakeholders on key aspects of Product & Experience thinking; and with the assistance of customer service, create a sample customer journey and accompanying user personas to show how data from user research can be applied to the benefit of their business.

Figure 3

Product Roadmap (Matrix)

Robin Gittens' digital space '' | Portfolio Case Study 5 | Scholastic: Applied Techniques (Product Management & User Experience) | Figure 3: Product Roadmap (Matrix)

What was my role?

  • Acting as the ‘voice of the user’ where I try to connect directly/ indirectly with users to understand any challenges which prevent them from achieving their online goals.
  • Creating, owning and communicating the product roadmap to pivotal business stakeholders and providing the necessary education on how to: breakdown feature MVPs into EPICs/ themes; employ a prioritization scorecard to each feature; employ MoSCoW analysis to desired features; indicate the impact to different user types/ roles; showcase the level of complexity, and quarterly release schedule for said features.
  • Eliciting business and/or system requirements as needed from various stakeholders from: marketing, operations, order-fulfillment, analytics, security, performance, customer service and of course, users.
  • Writing and communicating the necessary user stories and acceptance criteria to development teams.
  • Creating supplementary artifacts/ functional matrices which relate to: configuring promotions, organization navigational content, managing and sourcing content, search engine optimization (SEO) audits.
  • Creating and sharing the necessary interactions (designs) or workflows for various features with stakeholders and business to encourage further brainstorming/ ideation with any given user challenges.
  • Analyzing current-state business process and brainstorming on solutions which seek to improve albeit streamline those processes e.g. Issue Escalation, Content Management.
  • Establishing and executing user acceptance (UAT) test plans.
  • Coaching developers on agile principles and manifesto as it relates to scrum.
  • Scheduling and facilitating scrum ceremonies: backlog refinement, sprint planning, sprint retrospectives, sprint reviews, sprint demos and of course, daily stand-ups.
  • Compiling sprint metrics from JIRA and combining them with my own metrics to present to the team and facilitate discussions.
  • Review Gherkin test cases with quality engineers throughout each sprint as they become available.
  • Supporting the team in the removal of any impediments (blockers) preventing them from achieving their sprint goals.

Figure 4

Personas (Parents)

Robin Gittens' digital space '' | Portfolio Case Study 5 | Scholastic: Applied Techniques (Product Management & User Experience) | Figure 3: Personas (Parents)

What was the impact?

  • Constantly provided awareness to leadership with regards to what features with which development teams were focused.
  • Guided any conversations which focused on feature prioritization and the impact to user challenges.
  • Increase in awareness between marketing and customer service in regards to direct conversations with users.
  • Increased understanding of: who the actual users were; their potential personality traits; goals when interacting with the online experience; and points-of-frustration.
  • Easy method to monitor any fluctuations with incoming phone calls to customer service.
  • Easy method to monitor any fluctuations with incoming emails to customer service.
  • Easy method to monitor any fluctuations with feedback on social media.
  • Easy method to determine which viewport had the most/lesser feedback.
  • Easy method to monitor fluctuations in customer satisfaction or specific challenge (theme) after every production release within a selected date range.
  • Constant delivery of empathy-driven features at a steady 10 day sprint cycle.

Technique Used:

Thematic Analysis, FlowCharts, Customer Journeys, Wireframes, Product Roadmap, MosCow, Prioritization Matrix, (Innovation Sweet Spot)

Applications Used:

Google Drive (Forms, Docs, Sheets, PPT, Meet), Axure RP, Microsoft Visio, JIRA, Confluence

Figure 5

Customer Journey (Parents)

Robin Gittens' digital space '' | Portfolio Case Study 5 | Scholastic: Applied Techniques (Product Management & User Experience) | Figure 5: Customer Journey (Parents)

Looking to partner with your team to learn more about your users, and identify areas of opportunity to deliver empathy-driven experiences.

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