At Ericsson, developers need to run their software on specific hardware so test benches are build and maintained for that purpose. Besides the developers, a department is responsible for running all available tests during the night, so-called the nightly runs. Some test benches are dedicated for only this purpose and can not be booked for other purposes during the evening/night.
There are multiple web interfaces that users and admins can use to book the benches and set them to specific modes, for example, “In maintenance”. Many of the tools are not being maintained and are functioning poorly. The team responsible for these tools has lost track of all available tools and they do not know what the users need and what difficulties they experience when engaging with the tools.
I was brought in as a consultant to investigate the user’s needs and to purpose changes that would make bench boking a great user experience. I was also asked to investigate what could be removed, to find out what is not being used, so the response team could focus on the tools that are most valuable for the users.
My challenge was to gather as much information as possible about the usage of these tools. They were about a dozen tools with users spread over four locations and two countries. There was no quantitative data available about the usage so I needed to perform qualitative interviews with the users. Observing the ones located at the same office and performing online interviews with the rest.
Through the research, it emerged that there were three different types of users and that their needs differed.
I discover that one f the main area of confusion was the maintenance of the benches. All users could set the bench in a and out of maintenance mode and there was no clear process on who was responsible for letting the right people know that a bench needed maintenance. Highly popular benches could be down for weeks causing delays.
I also discovered that most of the tools were not being used due to unreliability or due to the users finding other ways to perform their tasks.
In agreement with the stakeholders, I designed an easy to use bench booking system, where the right of the admins and regular users differed. For example, all users could report a problem through the interface and a Jira-ticket would be created automatically. The admins would get informed out the reported problem that way and only they could set it back to “Up and running” mode. Also, a notification would be shown if the bench had failed during the last 24 hours indicating that something could be wrong. And the performance history would be displayed per bench.
The development team that would implement the new design were used to using Angular and Material and wanted me to design using Material components.