The Brief

Having a customer-first mindset is not a priority for many organizations, so selling the return on investment for a human-centered design approach to work can be quite a challenge. All throughout my career, I have optimistically championed a culture of continuous improvement and organizational culture change, and one aspect has been accomplished through training. I have actively created training solutions with the goal of aligning teams and creating a shared sense of ownership over the customer experience.

What I did

Since training has been an emphasis on many teams I work with, the following examples showcase how training impacted a specific organization:


on-demand training example The product development division working on a suite of products did not actively engage with users. Rob created both an on-demand user experience (UX) certification course for product team members to complete, but he also required that team members learn how to actively participate in and observe usability testing and other research activities. Promoting customer empathy enabled teams to more effectively design and develop solutions that met customer needs and goals. In addition to regularly conducting remote research, Blackboard held an annual user conference, so this often gave team members significant exposure to users, resulting in dozens of usability tests over the span of three days. Training team members to participate in research impacted the culture of the organization so that priority was not always given to developing new features, but to improve existing ones.

Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services

in classroom training sceneIn a unique environment of both federal employees and government contractors representing multiple organizations, Rob initiated training to help transform the enterprise into adopting a customer-first mindset. With hundreds having attended training, Rob has built out a catalog of courses that address:

  • Modality - Rob offers training courses both in-person, virtually, and on-demand. With the onset of COVID, the highly hands-on training had to become virtual. In addition, Rob looked to reduce costs by creating on-demand training modules for learners.
  • Content - Rob led creation and delivery of content including such topics as an introduction to human-centered design (or design thinking), personas, journey maps, customer experience metrics, and user-centered backlog prioritization. He is also working with agile subject matter experts (SMEs) to develop a course on integrating Lean UX into agile teams and has a roadmap for developing research, design, and management learning tracks.


The training Rob has offered with his team are some of the highest rated offerings delivered to the community, as elaborated in the following video (see 55s mark) promoting the Center of Excellence:

Most importantly, development teams make better design and development decisions as they learn to adopt this customer-first mindset.