From Disarray to Delivery: The Turnaround Case Study

June 13, 2024

In 2017, I was recruited for a VP of Engineering role by a publishing company aiming to transition into the SaaS market. They had invested years in designs and working click-through mock-ups, accumulating over 400 screens. These mock-ups were used on the showroom floor to gather user feedback. However, the company faced significant challenges in translating these designs into a functional SaaS product.

Understanding the Human Element

The team was passionate but directionless, frustrated by the lack of progress. I began by listening to their concerns and aspirations, creating an environment where everyone felt heard and valued.

Personal Connection

Having faced similar challenges in my career, I understood the anxiety and disappointment that come with stalled projects. The technical issues were only part of the problem; the team needed a unified vision and effective leadership.

Defining a Clear Path Forward

We collaborated to define a Minimum Viable Product (MVP) and introduced Agile methodologies to foster a shared vision and iterative progress. This alignment was crucial for success.

Balancing Technical and Human Solutions

We built an in-house team with the necessary expertise while fostering a collaborative culture. This balance of technical skills and teamwork was key to our progress.

Challenges and Empathy

We faced resistance to change, rigid UX expectations, over-engineering tendencies, and design gaps. By addressing these issues with empathy and practical solutions, we built trust and adaptability within the team.

Positive Changes and Growth

We achieved significant milestones by delivering admin tools, customer invitations, and foundational features. In just nine months, we successfully sunsetted the old system and launched the new one in multiple languages.

Celebrating Success Together

Transforming the company from a struggling project into a thriving SaaS company was a journey of empathy, strategic planning, and collaboration. We turned challenges into opportunities and set a strong foundation for future growth.

Key Takeaways
  1. Listen and Understand: Empathy builds trust and paves the way for effective solutions.
  2. Define Clear Goals: Establish a shared vision and clear objectives.
  3. Foster Collaboration: Open communication and mutual support are essential for innovation.
  4. Implement Scalable Solutions: Ensure long-term success and adaptability.
  5. Celebrate Success Together: Recognize and celebrate achievements as a team.

If you’re facing a similar project challenge, don’t hesitate to reach out.

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