Capstone Project — Spring 2024

My role

Project manager & UXR - Research design interviews survey user persona journy mapping scope analysis client relation


  • Olivia Haung, UXR
  • Helena Xiong, Data scientist
  • Andrew Jenkins, Data engineer
  • Ting Min Lai, Data scientist
  • Shengron Jian, Data scientist


5 months


The Google Cloud Business Professional (GCBP) program is designed to equip professionals with the knowledge and skills needed to effectively leverage Google Cloud Platform (GCP) services for various business applications.

As a UX Researcher and Product Manager, I collaborated with the Data Science team to gather insights and ensure user-centric design principles were integrated into our solutions.

I was incredibly blessed to have the opportunity to join this project in collaboration with Google. Through this experience, I've gained invaluable insights into Google's internal processes and the meticulous methodologies they employ on a larger scale!


Let’s lay the foundation.

Stakeholder Needs

This study aims to identify key factors influencing CEs' productivity and provide actionable insights to streamline workflows, enhance performance, and ultimately maximize value delivery to clients and the organization.


Client Needs

Identify factors affecting productivity and thus improve efficiency and effectiveness of Customer Engineers.


Business Needs

Drive revenue and improve satisfaction level among employees.


Customer Engineer Needs

Streamline sales approach, tool usage, and team collaboration to enhance client interactions and sales


Customer Engineer’s Client Needs

Receive customized solutions that cater the platform to their unique business processes


How might we enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of Customer Engineers in the Cloud business by pinpointing pain points and proposing design recommendations to streamline their workflows?

Work Breakdown Structure

Below is work breakdown structure aimed at guiding the development of the project.



Understanding the Field.

Literature Review

The review of 21 research papers served to inform and contextualize the role of Customer Engineers (CEs) within the broader sales environment.


Emphasis on Digitalization

The digitalization of complex B2B sales processes can both enable and pose challenges for the seller. While it enhances sales efficiency, it also requires adaptation and learning of new technological tools (Rodríguez et al., 2020).


Impact of Sales Enablement Technologies

The use of sales enablement technologies aims to reduce administrative tasks and increase the amount of time spent selling, leading to improved sales performance (Franck & Dampérat, 2023).


Integration of Communication Tools

The integrated use of social media, digital, and traditional communication tools in the B2B sales process impacts various stages, from initial contact to post-sale relationship management, and enhances engagement and relationship management (Fraccastoro et al., 2021).

The right tools and support can supercharge sales productivity

Studies highlight the significant impact of sales tools and technologies, such as CRM systems and sales automation platforms, in streamlining sales processes and enhancing overall efficiency. Moreover, scholars have identified various factors influencing sales productivity, ranging from access to quality leads and sales training programs to organizational support and goal alignment

Competitor Analysis

To better understand the market trend in the cloud services industry, We explore how top players are shaping the cloud services industry.



What do CEs @Google do exactly?

Pilot Interview

1 hour-long pretest was conducted to identify and address any potential issues or limitations in the survey instrument before was administered to the larger population.




We needed to get the terminology right.

Identify factors affecting productivity and thus improve efficiency and effectiveness of Customer Engineers.


“Productivity” could evoke negative feelings.

The use of “productivity” may inadvertently appear to assess their effectiveness, even if that is not the intention.


Formatting matters.

Initially overlooked, the team later acknowledged the importance of proper formatting and clarifying specific aspects of the question to ensure mutual understanding and agreement.

Cognitive Interview

To understand the reasons for preferences for using spreadsheet software over other tools, we conducted 1 one-hour long cognitive interview.




Meetings, meetings, meetings.

Our participant highlights the challenge of managing a packed schedule with constant meetings, which often leaves little time for ramping up or learning.


Mentors make a difference.

Our participant acknowledges the effectiveness of Google's training resources, including the rotational program and mentorship.


Talk about information overload.

Our participant points out the challenges she faces in current data management, mentioning the need to resort to her own research to gather scattered data.



Participants desire to spend more time on client interaction and solution development but are hindered by administrative tasks and inefficiencies in data management.

User Persona



A solution-oriented, curious CE




Cafe Hopping



Sumin has been at Google for two years, starting in a technical role and gradually transitioning into a customer-facing position. Being Sumin’s first job after college, she is constantly looking for ways to improve client relations to deliver tailored solutions to meet their needs.


  1. Enhance Client Interactions: Sumin wants to spend more time engaging with clients, building rapport, and understanding their challenges to provide personalized solutions.
  2. Job Security: Feeling pressure to perform with recent layoffs in the field, Sumin hopes to excel in closing deals and drive revenue growth.


  1. Time constraints: With a packed schedule of meetings and data management tasks, Sumin struggles to find sufficient time for client interactions, impacting relationship-building efforts.
  2. Evolving Client Needs: Clients' needs and preferences evolve rapidly, requiring Sumin to continuously adapt their sales strategies and offerings to remain competitive.

User Journey




With Google's suite of tools, managing our large volume of data is efficient, allowing CEs to spend more time on client interactions.


Navigating through the extensive data sources poses challenges, impacting the time available for client interactions.

Survey Design

Implementing the feedback from the pilot interview, a stratified survey was conducted globally, targeting 700 customer engineers, resulting in 44 valid responses collected over a two-week period.

Time Allocation

How do customer engineers allocate their time across various activities, such as communication and administrative tasks?


Effectiveness and Satisfaction with Google's Tools, Policies, and Training

To what extent are the current tools provided by Google effective and what are customer engineers’ satisfaction levels with existing tools, policies, and training?


Consistency of Data

How do customer engineers rate the consistency of data across the platforms they use day to day?


Volume of Communications

What is the volume of internal and customer communications sent by customer engineers?


Driven by our key findings and literature review, the following 7 factors were examined in relation to productivity.

Customer Engagement & Responsiveness

Access to Quality Leads

Support from Leadership

Training & Development Programs

Communication Within the Team

Rewards & Incentives

Tools & Technologies

So... our results tells us a lot.


Let’s uncover them.


Survey Results

Data Visualizations

The survey of 44 Google customer engineers uncovered key drivers of productivity, emphasizing customer engagement, rewards, and tool effectiveness. However, dissatisfaction with training and data consistency suggests a need for improvement in these areas to optimize tool usage satisfaction and overall productivity, as revealed by factor analysis delineating business management and tool-related dynamics.

Demographic analysis


Task Allocation Time Across Sectors


Self reported factors affecting productivity




Correlation Heat Map for Top 3 Useful Tools


Correlation Heat Map for Top 3 Productivity Factors


Exploratory Factor Analysis: The 7 factors are condensed into 2 factors



Business and Management Aspect

The "training and development programs" component is moderately related to factor 1 (loading = -0.5). Potential complementary relations with "support from leadership." Rotational program help gain valuable experience addressing problems with customers, Those undergoing rotational program feel more productive.


Tool Aspect

Data consolidation and data consistency significantly contribute to tool usage satisfaction Improving data consistency may require more resources over leadership support within the team

All in all, we want to say...


We couldn’t have said it better ourselves.


We know. It can be hard managing data.


As a response to these findings, recommendations were formulated to address the identified issues: enhancing data quality and consistency through the following measures.


Enhance Data Quality and Consistency

Implement data quality assurance measures to ensure consistent and accurate data across all platforms and tools.


Data Quality Training & Awareness

Provide comprehensive training and awareness programs about how to achieve and maintain data quality. Offer training sessions on data entry best practices, data quality standards, and tools for data validation and verification.


GenAI Spreadsheet tools

Provide comprehensive training and awareness programs about how to achieve and maintain data quality. Offer training sessions on data entry best practices, data quality standards, and tools for data validation and verification.


Data Quality Audits and Reviews

Conduct regular data quality audits and reviews to assess compliance with data quality standards, identify gaps, and recommend corrective actions.


Data Monitoring & Feedback Mechanisms

Implement a data quality monitoring and feedback mechanism to track data quality performance. Set up alerts to flag deviations from predefined data quality thresholds.


What I’ve taken away.


Learning to Be Flexible

Through this experience, I’ve learned the importance of remaining adaptable and adjusting our timelines or strategies as needed to navigate unexpected setbacks. Our client had an evolving shift in focus, and our team saw several changes in its composition


The Right Cup of Tea

As the project manager, my role involved closely collaborating with our client, Google, to coordinate efforts between our team and their representatives. This encompassed facilitating communication, managing expectations, and ensuring alignment with Google's project goals and timelines. Additionally, I recognized the importance of holding necessary but potentially awkward conversations within our team. Moreover, I prioritized fostering confidence among team members and encouraged them to justify their choices respectfully, promoting a culture of accountability and collaboration.


A Heartfelt Note

I feel incredibly proud of what the team has accomplished. Receiving sweet messages from team members regarding my leadership and hearing Dr. Sharlane Cleare say, "I can see why Dr. Gilly Leshed spoke highly of you," meant the world to me.



Congratulations again on all of your great work!! What you accomplished and your adaptability was really impressive, considering the shift in focus and numerous people providing feedback (a very authentic Google experience) I personally got a ton of value from your presentation and shadowing the CE interview. I will absolutely leverage these insights both in the study design for our other rep personas (FSRs) and prioritization of tooling work we do for CEs. Hope it was an equally valuable experience for you all.

Katie Castagna, UX Researcher @Google

Fantastic work, team! Thank you so much for your hard work, analysis and excellent presentation. We all found it extremely valuable, and hope you did too. It was a pleasure working with your group.

Laura Granka, Senior UX Director @Google


So, how does this contribute to Google?

A step in a better direction.

Our survey serves as a valuable tool for Google's future endeavors. The data collected will inform upcoming studies, including a quarter-long research project comparing the voices of Customer Engineers (CE) to Field Sales Representatives (FSRs). Additionally, it will contribute insights to a data science project focused on data quality and inconsistencies, shifting from an engineering to a user perspective. Furthermore, our research on productivity will directly influence mapping strategies for productivity enhancement projects. Ultimately, CE managers will gain insights to improve management practices based on our findings.