In 2018, I joined a small design team (5 designers, 2 researchers) at PlanGrid, a construction project management platform, prior to its acquisition by Autodesk. I was a design lead focused on early product growth and created an org playbook for best practices to work with international engineering teams.
A single project engineer will manage thousands of submittals, the approval of different materials used on a construction site. Each submittal goes through multiple stakeholders and revisions, done by email. When I joined, PlanGrid had just launched a DocuSign-like solution in private beta.
Like many initial launches, Submittals faced issues with user adoption/retention, and general understanding of the product value. In my role, I revisited the research & core assumptions, improved workflows, and launched features that closed gaps in the user experience.
We built tools that reduced reliance on exporting to third-party software: digital signature tools, simple document attachment features, and multi-stakeholder signature workflows. I also scaled back feature bloat to focus on core workflows and build adoption via onboarding education.
Our improvements showed results: we increased our Monthly Active User base by 100x (30 → 3000), and 10x enterprise accounts purchasing this product as a separate add-on to the core subscription.
At the time, PlanGrid needed to execute on a large product backlog and brought in engineering resources from India. My team was the first to utilize offshore engineers; we documented a 20-page off-shore playbook that was widely adopted across our 400-person organization.