I was a UX product design intern at Workday, an enterprise software company, from June 2017 to September 2017. I worked with a product management intern to research and wireframe possible future features for the Workday product. As part of my project, I helped to facilitate a design thinking workshop with stakeholders, conducted exploratory interviews with users, and created wireframes for both MVP and “blue sky” concepts.
Since I can’t discuss the exact nature of my work, I’d like to explain some of the most important lessons I learned while interning at Workday.
Lesson 1: working with cross-functional teams
One of my goals for my internship was to learn how to work as part of a cross-functional team, something I didn’t get much exposure to in undergrad. I was fortunate to be part of a design team that works closely with a PM team, which let me see the management styles of a few different PMs.
At the beginning of my internship, I was told about the three-way relationship between UX, PM, and development. Each group tries to “hold up” their side of the triangle, by advocating for their priorities and needs. Since I only worked with a PM intern for this project (no devs involved), it was more of a tug-of-war than a three-way balancing act.
At first, I was intimidated by my lack of knowledge about Workday and my product area, and didn’t stand up for myself very much. As time went on, I found my voice. When I was starting to wireframe, I worked with my PM to whiteboard possible layouts and solutions to problems we were encountering. I think it helped me to get his input in the moment (instead of over Slack), and it helped him to really understand what I was working on.
Lesson 2: finding my place in a ux team
I've never been part of a UX team larger than two or three people, so it was a huge change to join a whole department of UX designers. At first, I wasn't sure how I would stand out if we all had similar job titles, but being at Workday opened my eyes to the nuances of different design roles. As an undergrad, I've had to hash through everything from user research to visual design; I knew comparatively little about the role of a specialist. I really appreciated hearing from content strategists, UX researchers, visual designers, and of course interaction designers.
I'm grateful to the amazing people I worked with and learned from during my time at Workday. I'd especially like to thank my manager, Teresa Washburn, my mentors Luping Yeh and Cynthia Kim, and my stellar intern cohort.