Customer centricity for tech teams

Client VMware Bulgaria

Client: VMware Bulgaria

Client brief: Train a core software engineering team in problem solving and innovative thinking

Approach: design thinking introduction workshop + work on real project 

Duration: June – July 2015

Key results: 20 engineers successfully trained + 4 ideas to improve vCloud Air customer experience pitched to management

Success factors: real project topic, support from CEO and Chief Innovation Officer

Why design thinking?

In 2015 VMware contacted us with the request to train a core team of 20 software engineers in the

principles of design thinking in order to facilitate everyday problem-solving and improve the team’s innovation capabilities. The design thinking methodology was chosen by the client because of its focus on customers needs, which naturally gives a different angel to problem definition and hence solving. 

A smart way to engage engineers with customers needs

Engineers like to tackle technical problems so, we gave them one. As VMware had just launched its vCloud Air on-demand and IaaS subscription services, the topic was naturally chosen for a project case during the training. The training program itself consisted of two phases: 

  • Phase 1 – introduction: a 1-day interactive workshop in design thinking to acquaint the group with the main principles and tools used in practice
  • Phase 2 – project-based coaching: a 4-week facilitated design sprint during which the engineers worked on the chosen topic

During phase 2 the group of 20 engineers was split in four teams who worked on solving a specific problem related to the main topic. With the coaches support, the teams went through one design sprint and carried out contextual interviews with real vCloud Air customers, analyzed the “as is” customer journey and tested new ideas through rapid prototyping. 

The results:

At the end of the design sprint four innovative solutions to improve the vCloud Air customer experience were successfully pitched to VMware management. A noticeable mind shift was observed in the group by the Chief Innovation Officer and the training was rated 10/10 by both engineers and management.