Reenvision your business software in 2 weeks:a Case Study

Steven Brykman | July 1, 2014 | Mobile Strategy

The truly amazing thing about Propelics is we’re able to pull-off what literally nobody else can. What no other company even has the chutzpah to offer as a service—enterprise or otherwise. Because in one sense what we offer is clearly insane: give us two weeks, and we will reinvent your business. We’re like Men in Black, only in Business-Casual. And we don’t have matching sunglasses. And there are very few aliens. But other than that we’re exactly like Men in Black. Consider the case of one recent client, an auto-loan refinance provider unhappy with their current software, and with good reason. The founders had built it back in 2008 and added to it piecemeal, as the need arose. The flow for taking new applicants and processing loans was too slow. The software was disjointed and unintuitive, the learning curve for new hires was too steep.

But in two weeks (eight days to be exact) all that would change. First, we would develop a thorough understanding of their process by following a handful of loan consultants as they went about their business, listening in on their sales calls to gain real-world perspective and experience all their difficulties first-hand. Our ideation workshops would facilitate the flow of ideas, letting the client’s employees enumerate their difficulties and suggest new features and improvements—anything that might benefit the company. These would be categorized by business driver, organizational/technical readiness, and technical complexity. In the end, this would provide a matrix from which we could quickly discern what would otherwise be an overwhelming endeavor: out of a hundred plus ideas, which should make the final cut? And how should the ideas be prioritized?

While all this is going on, we’re also busily drawing sketches, scrawling down UI/UX ideas, and mocking up wireframe elements, knowing everything might suddenly change in an hour or two.

dashboard

By the end of week 1, we’re right on schedule. We’ve completed Ideation and our grid is full of hotspots. We’ve not only identified their problems. We already have a good idea how to fix them. Further, we’ve already produced a complete set of wireframes that have been signed-off on by the client. The new software design is truly slick. It’s intuitive and responsive and so simple that practically anyone with little or no training could sit down and successfully process a new loan applicant. This is a major boon for the company, whose number one problem was not being able to keep up with customer demand (some problem!). Thanks to our new designs, before long they will be processing countless more applications per day. We designed a Customer Dashboard entirely from scratch, and the Loan Consultant Dashboard required a radical rethinking of every aspect of the loan-refinance process.

By the end of week two our fearless designer has completed a gorgeous set of comps and I have a working prototype built to be performed by two employees playing the parts of loan consultant and customer.

As always, everything went off without a hitch. Our deliverables amounted to the following:

  • Strategy Deck
  • Idea Matrix
  • Loan Consultant and Customer Dashboard Wireframes
  • Loan Consultant and Customer Dashboard Design Comps
  • Working Prototypes for Loan Consultant and Customer Dashboard

Frequently Asked Questions:

Q. So how do you guys do it?
Okay. You want the truth? The way we’re able to get all that done is this. We are from the future. We have a time machine that lets us expand the very fabric of space so we can slip through a quantum wormhole, work steadily for 3-6 months (the time it would take any other company to do what we do in 8 days), and then return just in time for our next meeting.

Q. Seriously, how do you do it?
You don’t believe the time machine? Okay then. What we really do is for 8 days, we don’t sleep. Not a wink. Instead, we engage in something we call “Power-blinking.”© Simply by extending the length of each blink by a half-second (barely noticeable to the outside observer) we are able to gain a full two hours of deep, refreshing sleep per each 24 hour work cycle.

Q. You’re not going to tell me how you guys do it, are you?
A. We just do it. We’re that good. We know what we’re doing and we do it quickly.

You might assume from what you’ve read that our clients would walk away saying things like, “What you’ve done is great, but we wish you had more time.” But they don’t. What they do say is, “I am still talking about this project constantly. You guys really made me a fan.” Or else they say, “There’s no way you can get this done in two weeks so we’re scheduling in a month, just in case.” And then we prove them wrong. Yet again.

Steven Brykman

Steven is a Digital Strategist and UX Architect focusing on Mobile Products with a diverse background in writing and literature. He spent much of the last decade as Creative Technologist/Lead Strategist of his own design company, helping Fortune 500 companies define the direction of their digital campaigns, websites and mobile applications. Additionally, he co-founded Apperian, a Boston-based mobile technology startup.

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