Float Cashflow software integrates directly with accounting software, such as Xero, FreeAgent and Quickbooks, to allow its users to create cashflow forecasts more easily and accurately.
At the time of engaging me, Float had 2 UX Designers in the team and were in the process of hiring a Head of Product. The CEO, Colin Hewitt, felt I might be able to help them with the direction of product development while they found the right person for that role.
Immersion (4 weeks)
We agreed that I would spend 2 days/week working with Float for a period of 4 weeks initially. There was no plan in place about what to do after this time. I sought no commitment from them to engage me after that time either.
Taking the time to learn
I can’t predict what input will be required from me until I know more about the product, the team, and the work they are doing. I knew I could help, I just didn’t know exactly how was best to do so.
I spent this time learning about the company, the product and what was already known about its users. I attended stand-ups on the days I worked, met with many people in the company and spent lots of time digging into their data. I watched all of the user research recordings that had been done to date. At this stage I was learning before opening my mouth. While I could quickly see for myself some improvements which could be made to the software, I needed time to establish a deep enough understanding to give good advice. There is often an order in which improvements need to be made in order to see any results from the effort.
It was probably on Week 3 that I started to add value to the team, and when they could clearly see the benefits of my involvement.
By then, I had a greater understanding of how the team worked, what they were working on and why. I was able to spot the gaps that I could help to fill. The product team was about to embark on a piece of work based on their own user research, but it was still based on a risky assumption that wasn’t evident to them at the time.
I suggested they carry on, but allow me to do some further research while they did so. All of the product team members observed this research, as did the leadership team (they are a very user-focused company).
Shift of attention
Through the initial research I carried out, it was clear to them that they should shift their attention to a different area of the product. The problem they had been intending to solve was not the problem which most needed solving, to see the improvement in the metric they were focussing on.
On top of carrying out several pieces of research (usability tests and user interviews), I advised on what changes I felt should be prioritised in order to improve the metrics they were trying to improve. Like many companies of their scale, there was an urge to see instant quantitative improvements for each individual change they made. However, this approach is unsuitable and often damaging for companies with the number of customers they had.
I advised instead to look qualitatively for evidence that their decisions were having an impact and have faith that these would accumulate to show as improvements to their metrics. They agreed to do so. In time the metric improved, and this could be traced back to the team’s efforts.
In the first few months Colin asked me to increase the amount of time I spent working with them. I was happy to do so. I worked with Float on this basis for around 6 months in total.
I was able to step away from the level of involvement I had with Float when they hired their Head of Product. At the time of writing, they now have a permanent UX researcher and I still do work with them on a more ad-hoc basis.
What Colin says…
"Working with David was one of those 'why didn't we do this sooner!' experiences. I loved the way he approached the work, and brought immediate clarity and actionable feedback to the team. It's been great working together again on projects on an ongoing basis.
He fitted in really well to our team, and was a pleasure to work with."