Autodesk Progress Tracking


PlanGrid is a construction productivity tool helping workers in the field and office connect, collaborate, and become more efficienton construction projects of all sizes. In 2018 PlanGrid was acquired by Autodesk in order to help build out the new Construction Group.

The Project

Construction projects of all sizes need some form of plan in place and the ability to analyze the progress of that plan in order to report to ownership, stakeholders, partners, and determine schedule.

This project was to explore and find a way to provide customers a easier way to conduct progress and productivity tracking.

The Problem

Find a way for companies to better track progress and report on it.

My Role & The Team

Designer along side 2 designers, 1 Researcher, 2 PMs and 16 engineers for 10 months


It first started with understanding productivity tracking. To be successful, Productivity tracking in PlanGrid must ultimately answer the following question for a sub: 
How much work do I have left to complete on this project, and how many budgeted man hours ($) do I have left to complete that work? 

If PlanGrid can provide this answer quickly and accurately at any point during the course of a project, PMs can identify problems early, and mitigate them and manage project costs effectively.

I love this quote from Levi, a PM at Rosendin Electric, “The holy grail in construction is ‘how do we handle productivity tracking?’ Every contractor has always strived to figure that out.” ~Levi, PM Rosendin Electric

Progress Tracking Formula 

To help illustrated the “holy grail” we came up with this visual to indicate hour production or progress divided by labor (hors expended for each item) equaled productivity or work/effort

What customers were doing

Guiding principles & goals

Help teams define, track, monitor, and report on progress
Make status updating easy for the field
Build on the annotations v1, with migration plan to v2
Create a foundation for future Progress and Productivity Tracking initiatives.


Evaluating the concept of quantity tracking

In 2017 and early 2018, PlanGrid began researching and exploring ideas on how to drive more proactive tracking (Tracking work defined ahead of time) within PlanGrid. Allowing customers to take scheduled work and make it useful for the field.
First explorations we looked at were around how to track quantity of materials. This being one of the most requested forms of tracking progress.
Quantity tracking research takeaways
Quantity tracking is important to subcontractors because, when compared to the labor hours logged, quantity installed shows whether a project is making or losing money, it reveals inefficiencies in the field, and allows companies to more accurately bid future jobs, increasing the chance for them to make money.

Quantity tracking is only one part of the equation. Subcontractors ultimately want to look at quantity of material installed and labor hours recorded, together. Link to flow

Cost-codes (aka material cost-code, labor code, etc) relate material installed to labor hours. Subcontractors have sets of codes that are usually standard across their projects.

The process to track quantity of material installed—and then to tie back to labor hours—is currently time consuming and not field-friendly. 

The ability to calculate quantity is also a valuable tool for the field to estimate quantities in order to purchase material to do the work. 

Evaluating the concept of locations

After evaluatiing quantity tracking and realizing it doesn't quite cover majority of our user needs. We went back to the drawing board and explored a concept around locations. This concept fit more of general contractor needs and less on sub contractors.


Exploring the concept of task tracking

Given this insight that locations is mostly supporting general contractor needs and less sub. We switched to then explore an idea around task tracking. This concept allows for more granular tracking which sub contractors need.


Refining user journeys

After our various rounds of researched we brainstormed together what a potential user journey could be for each type of role and for what aspect of the product such as Definition, Tracking, Monitor, or reporting.
We then iterated on ideas to consider for each step, followed by dot voting most crucial steps.

Refining the data model

Refining our markups

Another big piece was at the same time, we were improving our markups service and needed to account for additional behavior to be exposed within progress tracking.

As designer on the markups team, I explored and worked with the teams to ensure quality existed across markups and progress tracking.


Accomplishments & Learnings

1) Launched a initial public beta to customers across web and mobile
2) Came to a outcome that is scalable and versatile. This winning at least 2 $1m+ contract extensions and numerous $50k+ contracts
3) Did this all while also unifying numerous products during an acquisition

Lessons learned
1) By clearly outlining all options earlier, we could’ve reduce circling on direction
2) Working more closely with leadership and spending more time on buy-in could’ve saved directional loops

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