Day 2 – Delivering at Scale: Making Traction with Resistant Partners

THD: 6th largest private company, 500K+ employees, #17 on the Fortune 500 list. Really good at deliveries, right? But…

Internal quick survey within UX team slack channel, n=38
10: never ordered, 10: deliveries have been great, 28: delivery was late or lost (almost two-thirds!)
Closely mirrors insights gathered by customer analytics teams.

A profitable company delivering a disjointed fulfillment experience for customers?

2017: Executive leadership allocates $1.2 billion over five years to create fastest, most efficient delivery in home improvement.

The Problem(s) —

  • Unprecedented growth
    • Nearly 75% in delivery volume due to COVID-19 in 2019-2020
  • FOUR different supply chains
    • Meaning: four different business teams, different channels and technology partners, and UX is in unique position to see all across

Tackling the Problem(s) —

  • Build trust
  • Gained traction

Building Trust

Investing in the team.

    • Entirely backend — engineers and PM didn’t have good experience with UX
    • UX: What do you have for me? Them: I don’t know, what do you have for us?
      • Understand what it is there to do? Interviewed every single person in the team — engineer, PM, stakeholder, user
      • Identified technology, context, and metrics; inform personal UX roadmap.


  • Engineering team doesn’t understand why they are building what they are building
  • Product / business teams don’t understand what engineers are building even after having context


  • User impacts behind business asks

Gaining traction

  • Moving from passive to resistant
    • Set 1-1 meetings, push them out because of other urgent meetings
    • Not invited in meetings where UX should be invited to
    • They didn’t involve us, they didn’t need us.
    • Involve leadership roles
  • Communication types
    • Alter communication depending how they work
    • UXers like to ask a lot of questions, get clarifying answers
    • Asking them questions meant not knowing about it, hence losing credibility fast
    • Rephrasing the asking to telling: Tell me what you think if…
  • Redefining Empathy
    • Don’t be a kitchen sink of everyone else’s emotions; a mentality of us vs them
    • It needs to be: all of us vs the problem
    • Moving from problem-based empathy to solution-based empathy
  • The Recipe:
    • Stop spinning the Wheels: Tweak your own golf swing
    • Think outside of workstreams: fixing sliced, silos thinking
    • Involve partners

The payoff —

  • A single source of truth
  • Dedicated experience team
    • UX (4), Product (2), Engineers (6)
    • Engineers have context — whats and whys; asking better questions and taking technological decisions
    • PMs look at UX to collaborate — on discovery
    • Partners focusing on customer and associate experience