In the constantly evolving landscape of digital document control and management solutions for Engineering Companies, Docboss is the preferred tool for professionals. However, with changing user demands and technological advancements, it was time for Docboss to transform significantly.
Since its inception, Docboss has been focused on minimizing the manual work required to deliver project documentation by managing end-to-end processes to execute the documentation submittals required on large projects.
Docboss is a tool that has been helping users simplify complex documentation processes. However, it became clear that there was a need for a more user-friendly interface, improved features, and better integration capabilities. This case study explores the complete redesign of Docboss software, which was a journey of innovation, user-centric design, and strategic enhancements. The goal was to improve the user experience and operational efficiency.
Design Thinking, Product Strategy & User Experience Design.
Illustrator and Adobe XD
Design thinking and continuous user validation under a waterfall development process.
As design lead, I primarily worked with the product owner, development team, and customer support.
Our objective was clear: to reimagine Docboss as a more agile, user-friendly, and robust platform without compromising the core functionalities that our users had come to rely on.
60% reduction in onboarding time for new users to learn the software and become effective document controllers
Development of new features that surfaced relevant information, we could dramatically accelerate efficiency, reduce errors, and foster collaboration.
Introduction of role-specific dashboards to visualize complicated workflows across multiple projects.
Key Challenges for Document Controllers in Large Engineering Projects
Document controllers in large engineering projects face significant challenges that can hinder project management efficiency and accuracy. One major issue is the lack of a unified document management system, which leads to difficulties in tracking document statuses and ensuring the usage of the latest versions. Time-consuming searches for files further compound this due to disorganized and complex folder structures. Inadequate version control is another issue, leading to confusion, potential errors, and inefficient manual workflows that hinder document and project schedule tracking.
Collaboration across diverse and spread-out teams is challenging without a digital platform for seamless interaction, and maintaining secure access control to sensitive documents is a significant concern. The need for effective audit trails to avoid legal disputes and ensure compliance, along with the importance of engagement and clear communication within the project team, are also crucial aspects of document control. Additionally, document controllers' many responsibilities exacerbate time management and task prioritization challenges.
Document holdbacks represent a critical and often challenging aspect that can significantly impact a company's financial flow.
Essentially, these holdbacks occur when key documents are not approved or are held back due to errors or non-compliance with specified standards. This scenario is not just a minor inconvenience; it can have substantial financial repercussions. In industries where documentation is pivotal, particularly in engineering, construction, or manufacturing, the accuracy and timely approval of documents are directly tied to payment schedules. Errors in documentation can lead to delays in project milestones and, subsequently, holdbacks in payments from clients. Such issues not only disrupt cash flow but can also strain client relationships and tarnish a company’s reputation for reliability and efficiency. Therefore, meticulous attention to detail in document control is not just a matter of administrative diligence but a crucial factor in ensuring the financial stability and continued business success.
The company surveyed 106 respondents (45 from supplier organizations and 61 from EPCs) about their difficulties, challenges, and frustrations while executing project document control.
The respondents included 19 current DocBoss customers and ranged in size from fewer than 50 employees to more than 500 employees. The study aimed to evaluate the difficulty of information handover, share resolution methods, create mutual understanding, and provide information for use in project document management systems.
Engineering Procurement Construction (EPC) companies are integral in managing complex projects, typically in sectors like energy, infrastructure, and industrial facilities. Their role encompasses the entire project lifecycle, from design and procurement to construction.
Meeting a schedule and communicating changes to the schedule (70%)
Scope change to purchase orders.
Aligning Supplier Document Requirements List (SDRL) codes to supplier submissions (61%)
They play a crucial role in providing the necessary materials and equipment for the projects.
They are responsible for ensuring that these materials meet the specifications and quality standards set by the EPCs. Suppliers also handle the documentation related to their products, which includes meeting the EPCs' requirements for document submission, formatting, and metadata management. They often face challenges in aligning their documentation processes with the specific demands of different EPC projects, which can lead to increased workload and complexity in document management.
Mapping document codes to actual documents to be provided
Taking exception to irrelevant or unavailable document requirements
Negotiating document requirements after receipt of PO
Creating project databooks and cover sheets
Over time, it is common to add new features to software that may make sense from a technical perspective. However, this can lead to software that is difficult for users to understand and use. To address this issue, we first analyzed how information is accessed, shared, and modified based on the user's needs. We then proposed a simplified information architecture to reduce the time it takes for users to learn how to use the software.
This new organization allowed us to propose a new navigation focused on user goals and allowed flexibility to add customized modules based on the subscription plan and integrations.
This first navigation item allowed the user to go to three different role-base dashboards so they could have access to different information.
This secondary item allowed the user to switch projects or quickly start a new one.
This secondary item allowed the user to switch projects or quickly start a new one.
This mega menu menu displays less frequently used project options and admin-only features. These options were necessary only at the project setup stage, requiring minimal changes as the project progressed.
Document control plays a critical role in the successful execution of large engineering projects. It involves managing the flow of information between multiple collaborators and ensuring that every document is up-to-date, accurate, and reaches the right person on time. Document controllers are responsible for overseeing this process.
Dashboard design is an essential aspect of document control as it enables users to visualize each project's status. Document controllers must have a clear understanding of each document's current status, its destination, and how it fits into the project's overall progress. On the other hand, project managers focus on the general health of multiple projects, including their timelines, budgets, and resources.
This Project Dashboard showing individual project statuses allows project managers to have a quick overview of the progress of the documents, like showing how many projects are overdue.
Dashboards provide confidence to the users by allowing them to visualize every aspect of the project. Document controllers needed to understand the status of each document, where it is and where it should go. At the same time, project managers focus on the overall health of multiple projects.
The actions dashboard lets document controllers understand coming due, due and overdue documents.
This is an operational dashboard mainly focused on helping the user to understand the priorities of the tasks at hand, by sorting documents by criticality.
This data visualization focuses on the needs of the Project Manager in charge of multiple projects and is responsible for tracking the progress of everyone involved.
Each card represents a project, displaying two levels of information.
Show the state of completion of the project and the due date.
Displays a sophisticated set of metrics showing a breakdown of the progress of the project and allowing the user to navigate different sets of information based on the due date and document location.
Document location tracks who is currently working on that file, involving 3rd parties, suppliers and in-house staff.
This view also helps target documents that are off-track, overdue, not submitted or status unknown (null)—helping the user to start a further investigation.
Previously new users would need approximately one year to learn and fully understand this software. With the information architecture, navigation and simplified thematic group, the time was reduced to three months. The client also saves considerable effort on training new users and support calls.
All these improvements lead to faster and more efficient sale cycles, increasing opportunities for new business development.
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