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HCD Organizational Transformation

Role: Product & Engagement Manager

Company: Skylight

Client: AF Weather Program Office (WxPO)

Timeframe: 6 months


  • 1x Product Designer

  • 1x User Researcher


  • Product Management 

  • Business Development

  • Stakeholder Management

  • Consulting

The Problem

There are many different software programs within WxPO. Although they are practicing agile software development, they haven't yet matured their Human-Centered Design (HCD) practice. They have hired us to facilitate HCD transformation within their organization. 



- Only 1 designer in the entire organization

- Too many software engineers per team

- No product managers, only program & requirements managers

- No product (or portfolio) leadership sitting at a level above teams

No access to modern design tools -- they're making designs in PPT!

- Many integrations

Our Goal

To transform the US Air Force Weather Enterprise into a DoD standard for product, research, and design through culture change.



First, we needed to understand the system we're working in and the constraints.

Activities & artifacts:

- Team interviews

- Retrospective meetings

- Service blueprint

- Contextual inquiry

- Desk research

- Measured HCD maturity

- Vision, strategy, and roadmap



We need to always evaluate what does & doesn't work and document the lessons learned.



Next, we needed to identify opportunities and recommend experiments for improvements.

Activities & artifacts:

- Embed with the team

- Educational presentations

- HCD workshops & exercises

- Lead by doing

- Figma Design System

- Product & Design Playbook

- Usability & accessibility audit



Lastly, we need to use what we learned and repeat steps 1-3 with all of the other teams.

Stakeholder management was important in this engagement.

Along the way, we met with stakeholders to provide updates on what we were accomplishing and ensure expectations were being met. We elevated organizational-level recommendations—like highlighting the need for hiring more designers—to help facilitate the HCD culture change at the lower levels.

“I’ve been in this business for a while, and this is the first time I’ve seen people advocating for users at this level, and also seeing stakeholders buy-in. We’re headed in the right direction and our users are seeing that” - WxPO Branch Chief & Key Stakeholder

“You and your team are forcing a 50 year culture change in this organization” - AF Master Sergeant and Program Manager

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