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The Problem



At Trimble I developed and managed the Modus Design System serving over 600 products and multiple platforms providing guidance, UI Kits, and code components for multiple frameworks. The design system was built and operated on a federated model, where the contributions of the design and engineering community were an integral part of the process. 

  • Project design

  • Product management
  • UX/UI design
  • UX Research

  • Building a design system 

  • Collaboration with engineering

  • Team building

  • Accessibility training

  • Advocacy for adoption

  • Metrics tracking

The Problem

Trimble had a complex product portfolio with over 600 products in various stages of maturity in 7 business sectors on 5 continents. Most of their products were acquired through mergers. The portfolio required cohesion and brand consistency to be more marketable as bundles within the SaaS model. Because the Trimble product development landscape was distributed between continents and sectors, siloed, and resistant to change, the design system needed to encourage adoption by promising return on investment and effort and involvement in the design and engineering community to position it as a common effort.

To encourage adoption, Modus needed to become a much more mature product evolving from a basic Bootstrap library of components to include more complex and specialized patterns for various platforms (web, mobile, in-field, in-cab, desktop, and XR) and providing code components for multiple frameworks. 

All of this could not have been accomplished without a dedicated delivery team and a contributing, passionate community. None of which existed, when I joined. 

The Solution

The design system served multiple business objectives: 

  • Standardize user experiences & user interfaces across Trimble. As an organization built from mergers and acquisitions, Trimble needed one official source of truth for building new products and migrating existing products toward branding consistency and end user familiarity. 

  • Provide UX guidance & best practices to help teams build consistent high-quality products for end users. Increase the value of Trimble products for its users by optimizing design and improving learnability, productivity, accessibility, and brand perception while decreasing user errors. 

  • Streamline design & prototyping for UX designers. Provided designers with the tools to quickly and efficiently design interfaces by delivering components in UI Kits. 

  • Accelerate & improve development & integration efficiency. Reduced rework and redundancy within engineering projects to minimize development costs for the Trimble organization. 

  • Connect & Scale. Empowered designers and engineers to contribute back into the system to decrease turnover by democratization: tiger teams and inner-sourcing.

We first needed to build the core Modus team in order to meet the demand. As the first dedicated member and product manager, I built a business case for hiring designers and engineers. We repositioned the design system from a centralized to a federated model encouraging contributions from the design and engineering community. With the help of Tiger Teams consisting of designers and engineers, we built expanded the number of patterns supported in Modus. The collaborative effort democratized the system and allowed any team to feel empowered to contribute. The democratization of the system helped with adoption as teams felt they were part of the effort and their product needs were being met. 

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