Unifying Engineering Globally

Providing a global network of engineering teams with a digital environment for planning, managing, and collaborating on projects with less confusion, errors, and dependency on synchronous communication.



Lead Product Designer


  • There was global problem around the planning and execution of engineering tasks for project, brought on by the lack of a single source to visualize, report and track the daily progress among all the global teams.
  • They wanted a kanban style interface in a application that integrated with P6 (scheduling software)
  • We focused on improving the visibility and communication between Manager, Engineer, Drafter, as well as interfacing with global teams.
  • MVP scope was, in hindsight, too ambitious. We got it done anyway, and successfully delivered a better collaborative experience within and between engineering teams.

The Opportunity

Engineering teams around the globe were struggling with the same problem but in different ways – “How do we plan, allocate, track, and manage our work as a team and with others halfway around the world?” It was not a new problem for global engineering projects, but certainly a persistent one with multiple solutions in effect. These solutions included:


These were very commonly paired with one more of the other solutions listed below. While engineering managers preferred them as a medium for visualizing the current state, they were hard to maintain, location bound, and unscalable.

P6 Team Member

All engineering tasks are first created and scheduled in P6, a scheduling software created by Oracle. Though it lacked the kanban style board display that engineers wanted, its integration with P6 made it so that tasks did not need to be rewritten from the schedule into another system. This is something they had to do with every other solution.


Though intended to be used for managing software development, Jira made it possible for the engineering teams to create, track and view their work from wherever and whenever they needed to.

Workflow Manager

This was a software system built in-house many years prior to our starting this project. It’s UI lacked the kanban style display that engineering teams preferred, but it had the necessary fields for storing and categorizing tasks in the way that engineering liked. Mostly this was used between engineers and drafters for defining and tracking drawings and models they needed.

All these solutions lacked something that another solution had. Using all of them was not an option, but if somehow the best qualities of all these tools could be combined into one, then you’d have a clear winner on your hands.


Our team in Houston was still very small at the time this project started, made up of two designers, one product manager, a handful of data scientists, and zero developers. This project kicked off on my second day in the company. Because of this, our department (DSI) decided to collaborate with a digital agency in Houston called ChaiOne to get the project off the ground. The entire Discovery & Framing phase of the project was driven by them, with myself and our product manager riding sidecar. 

A team of 4 researchers interviewed more than 30 individuals who fit into one of the 4 defined roles we were interested in: Engineers, Managers, Drafters, and Schedulers. They did a great job of strategically planning, collecting, and synthesizing what they learned into a report, some which I’ll share here:

Engineering Manager

Manager’s Pains

  • Comparing hours in different systems
  • Manually updating priorities when they change
  • No real time visibility of progress
  • Tracking tasks that are dependent on each other


Scheduler’s Pains

  • Duplicate data sources to maintain
  • Lack of updates and insights into what engineering is doing
  • Working hard to perfect a P6 schedule only to see the engineers work outside of its order
  • Not knowing why an activity is delayed or on hold

Drafter’s Pains

  • Searching email to find work package details
  • Missing spec details from engineers
  • Multiple channels of communication
  • Updating a whiteboard in realtime is annoying
  • No context around how the work I’m doing affects the project


Engineer’s Pains

  • Duplicate data in multiple systems all needing to be updated by me.
  • Unable to attach sensitive files in system (Jira, Whiteboards)
  • No visibility when sharing work with another team
  • No way of seeing the relationship between tasks in a project


Based on our interviews and research, we determined the foundational user stories that described the jobs and needs that existed for each persona grouping.

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