Amira A. Pettus

NYU Langone Health: Coaching & Org Transformation


Coaching & Organizational Transformation

The IT division at “NYU Medical Center” is responsible for creating both internal and patient facing technologies, however their approach was mostly from a visual design and interaction perspective. 

I was brought onto the “NYU Medical Center” team in order to establish a robust user experience capability across all of the product teams and to help educate the wider organization about the value and meaning of UX in the institution.

Location & Duration : New York City, NY, USA for 11 months


Influencing Decision Making to be Based on Users Needs - Not Assumptions

My greatest challenge was to influence and educate the organization, so that they evolved from making product decisions solely based on 'business needs'  and assumptions about their users. 

When new ideas were brought up by stakeholders or the team I introduced  rapid prototyping and testing to obtain data. These techniques where then embedded into everyday practices of our delivery teams. The value of these insights and the time they saved, peaked stakeholder interest enabling us to procure more robust research and testing opportunities. 

In order to make advocating for actual patients not just a 'design thing', I worked to show the value of solving the right problems, based on user data, before features went into development. We did this by analyzing the current user experience and identifying gaps.

User Research Pairing

User Research Pairing

Developing and supporting a sustainable user research Culture

As many of the team members had not performed user research before, I worked to ensure that they became familiar with executing foundational practices and tools. This was done through a combination of individual pairing, with designers and product owners, as well as acting as an advisor and sounding board across the teams. As a team member became more equipped they eventually went off to lead their own initiatives and coached others.


Translating Research into Solutions

Once research had been completed, team members struggled with analyzing and translating  the data they learned into solutions. To guide designers and product owners through this process, I developed a solution mapping tool. This map was one of the methods we used to consider what problem we were trying to solve and why, what was its context and original ask, who was it for,  what were the supporting pieces of data etc. It ensured that deeper analysis was being used to support our decisions.

Holistic Product Roadmap

Holistic Product Roadmap

Developing a Unified End-to end UX across the portfolio

Work across the different parts of the project were handled by many large siloed teams. This influenced the manner in which the product teams developed features across the same ecosystem. Each communicated and viewed their work at such a detailed level that they often did not understand how their work fit in with the other teams. This resulted in not only inefficiencies, but also in features that didn’t fit together seamlessly. It was clear that stakeholders and the teams needed a view of the entire product ecosystem.

I paired with an NYULMC designer to create a holistic visualization of the end to end product. We surfaced data that previously only lived in excel sheets and were able to show dependencies on various teams and stakeholder groups. This move at transforming product visioning was shared among stakeholders and used as the basis for the next stage of development work.

Designer meeting to discuss UX across the product

Designer meeting to discuss UX across the product

Teaching the value of UX at NYUMLC 

It was also important to ensure that these practices were going to be adopted and institutionalized. 

To this at a design level, I worked with the Design Manager to and stakeholders to determine what UX practices at NYULMC "looked like" given the means and environment of the organization.

Designers across the department met regularly to discuss how implementing the practices were fairing and what we could do to tweak them given our projects needs and our stakeholders requests. These examples and methods were recorded and made accessible to everyone

in the organization on their internal site. In order to ensure the sustainability of the practices, that were taught at a design and development team, I worked to educate product owners, team leads, and stakeholders about the values and foundations of user experience. Each audience what presented with information that focused on their perspective, for example I worked with the design team to provide materials for stakeholders to present to members of the C suite.