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IBM Z Software 
Product Team Health Assessment

The Z Software Design team supports multiple  business units, products and stakeholders. The Product Team Health Assessment is a tool created to objectively assess overall team health, workload sustainability, quality of relationships and cross-disciplinary outcomes. 

Design Program Director – Drove the creation of Product Team Health Assessment for Z Software and Z Hardware design teams. Includes prototyping, research, testing and final implementation.   

08 – User Experience Designers
05 – User Researchers
03 – Content Designers
IBM Z is one of the company’s oldest business units and its mainframes are consistently rock solid, powering millions of transactions per second for some of the worlds most crucial systems.
The Z Software design team is comprised of multiple disciplines – UX Design, User Research and Content Design. Designers are aligned to a specific product / products, as well as cross-disciplinary peers and stakeholders.

Upon joining Z Software as Design Program Director it was immediately obvious that each team’s situation was unique in terms of workload, stakeholder support and quality of relationships across disciplines. Overall the org was imbalanced with no clear means of driving consistency across teams. 


Every team had varying degrees of the same problem. There was more work than designers and rather than stay dedicated and invest deeply in a single product, designers were splitting time across multiple products. This inevitably would lead to burnout as they spent well over forty hours each week completing their work. 
Relationships & Collaboration

Every product team had its own unique product managers, developers and executive stakeholders. Cultivating healthy relationships with my peers would prove crucial in resetting boundaries and redefining “normal”. Above all I would need to establish boundaries and set the expectation that we can’t support everything. 

Due to the challenges stemming from workload and relationships, each team’s outcomes would vary. Mostly this would manifest in the quality of user experience being shipped, which needed immediate correction. 

The first step toward creating a more consistent and balanced org was to establish universal criteria to evaluate our teams. Each category had a four point scale – one being the lowest, four being the highest. Scores were based on hard data to keep the system as simple, objective and fact-based as possible. 

* Note –  All data has been scrubbed and fictionalized due to its sensitive nature *

With seven different executive stakeholders to engage I needed a way to paint the big picture for Z Software and zoom into their org and their unique challenges. The Executive Dashboard was the perfect snapshot to set broad context before diving into the details of their team.