Creating a Standup tool that users love
As an agile meeting platform, one missing piece from Parabol's offering was a good Standup tool. But given how many options already exist in the market, how could we stand out and create something that our users love and at the same time reflected our product values?
One obvious answer was by closely integrating with our existing tools and activities, such as Retrospective meetings, or our own task management tool, but we also wanted to explore ways in which our Standup tool could stand out on its own and help us grow our user base.
As a Product Design Lead, I worked closely with Growth and Marketing experts, Product Managers and Developers to define the problem space, research and understand the areas of opportunity, and to design, develop, launch and test a solution that both provided added value to our customers, and attracted new users.
Insights from user interviews
We knew from personal experience that submitting a standup response can be tedious, and is generally seen as an annoying daily task by many contributors. With this in mind, our first step was to talk to users of other standup tools and learn more about the current state of the tools, the pain points, and the areas of opportunity.
We set out to interview managers, team leads, and individual contributors in order to gather a wide perspective of the problem space before putting pencil to paper. Interestingly, from team leads and managers, we learned how important standups are for daily status updates, overall team awareness, and identifying blockers on a timely manner; and from IC's, we confirmed our assumption that standups are tedious work and regardless of what tool their team used, an unpleasant daily task.
These insights showed us that there was a noticeable perception gap between leads and ICs, and there was an opportunity to make the task of submitting a standup more enjoyable, all the while providing valuable information to leads and the rest of the team.
Helping you remember Your Work
With fresh insights from our research, we first wanted to tackle the experience of submitting a standup response from the perspective of the Individual Contributor. We felt this was the area with the biggest opportunity and that could be a key differentiator among other tools.
Our theory was that we could greatly improve the experience of submitting a response if we helped users with the tedious task of consolidating all past, present and future tasks, from all your work sources, in a single place. We called it Your Work.
Your Work allowed users to easily connect and access tasks and events from their work integrations (Parabol, GitHub, Jira, Google Calendar, etc) in a consolidated view. No longer was there a need to open all of these services on separate tabs and copy/paste info from all over the place.
We designed it as a drawer that would open and appear next to the response card when the users submitted their standup response.
The team board
The other aspect we wanted to address was that of awareness for the whole team, including of course managers and leads.
Besides the auto-generated email summary that Parabol sends out to all team members, we explored and tested a few alternatives for displaying a team's responses, as well as browsing to various points in time to reference a past standup.
Building hand in hand with our users
We kept in touch with our interview participants and would regularly get back to them with updates and design iterations for feedback. This proved to be an invaluable resource that contributed to our direction and helped us regularly validate our efforts.
From these sessions, we learned that users found the Your Work drawer super useful. We used this signal to plan for adding more integrations and finding ways in which we could make this feature even more valuable to customers.
Getting help from AI ✨
One of these follow-up ideas we thought of was to use AI to create an initial draft of your standup response. The AI would look at the tasks and events from Your Work and auto-populate your response.
A much more enjoyable experience
With these improvements and iterations, we achieved what we set out to do at the start of this project: to make the task of submitting a standup response an enjoyable one. Both team leads and ICs who were part of our testing group shared excitement for using the tool and we saw an increase of DAU after its official launch.