Procore - Centralizing Communication On Construction Budget Reports

I discovered my love for innovation through this project at Procore, a construction management software company. Procore was sales-driven and our technology wasn't modern, but I still pursued this passion project while completing my other priorities. Though this project didn't ship, it inspired Procore's 3-year product strategy after I left. I also patented this feature (published June 2020).
Product Designer
Apr '18 - Jan '19 (10 months)
Core Responsibilities
Product Design, Visual Design, Research


Procore is helping build your city's skyscrapers, hospitals, and homes.

Worth 3 billion in valuation and #8 o Forbes Cloud 100 (2019, Procore’s B2B Enterprise construction management software serves 2.5 million users. Construction companies upload project costs, photos, and more to our cloud-based infrastructure of 40 tools. The cloud syncs all project data to provide transparent reports, which helps construction companies build their projects safely, on time, and within budget.


Communication is critical when resolving financial discrepancies in budget reporting. However, communication is fragmented.

Construction Project Managers create budget reports to manage project costs and stay within budget. These reports often contain financial discrepancies that hinder budget approval, and discussions about how to resolve these issues occur between Project Managers and Project Executives (oversees Project Manager). However, communication is currently fragmented because it exists outside of Procore in various forms.


Through customer journey mapping exercises with project managers, we learned that financial discrepancies occur frequently and prevent budget reports from getting approved by Project Executives

In early 2018, I took a generative approach to learning more about budget reporting by conducting 6 in-person customer journey mapping exercises with Project Managers. To avoid budget report rejection, I learned that Project Managers and Project Executives communicate areas of concern on the budget via emails, phone calls, and meetings.

Conducted a feature prioritization survey that demonstrated high interest in the ability to centralize communication on construction budgets — increasing stakeholder buy-in

Our UX researcher and I ran a Kano Model Concept Value Test via survey on 2 ideas, and we received 30 responses. This was meant to be a litmus test to measure how important solving communication gaps would be for Enterprise clients since our primary business goal was to seize the Enterprise marketshare.
- Notes Concept: Drop a note anywhere (like Google Docs)
- Comments Concept: Have a back-and-forth discussion via messaging thread
We proved the business value by demonstrating that these features were perceived as "attractive/wow-factor" features. However, the responses demonstrated that Project Managers and Project Executives don’t communicate informally like users do in Google Docs. There is a clear distinction between the notes that Project Managers provide to Project Executives and feedback that Project Executive provides in exchange. This narrowed down our scope of work as we saw these as 2 separate concepts.

Persistent financial discrepancies occur to due to Project Managers and Project Executives not having a source of truth to locate and/or discuss critical feedback

Taking a sociological approach, I focused on identifying norms, values, and social processes when I conducted 6 contextual inquiry interviews with Project Managers and Project Executives. Project Executives manage multiple Project Managers and struggle to keep track of messages. Information is more easily lost in large or remote project teams (more so Enterprise).
Printed construction budget report with feedback on discrepancies
Their primary goals are:
- Clarify Budget Line Items: When reviewing the budget, Project Executives want to clarify budget line item values that need more context, so that they can understand the construction project’s progress
- Delegate Tasks: When reviewing the budget, Project Executives want to delegate tasks to their project managers based on discrepancies they identify, so that they resolve areas of concern before finalizing the budget report.


Bridge the communication gap in budget reporting by creating a centralized communication system

Clear communication flow: Both Project Executives and Project Managers should understand how to initiate or respond to a discussion about a discrepancy

Control: It should be easy to locate specific messages or else users will feel lost in a sea of discussions

Context: Users should be able to understand the context of the identified discrepancy

Diversify user base by including Project Executives in the feedback cycle on budget report — centralized in Procore

My goal was ensure that this strategy would be extensible to Enterprise teams, which was Procore's primary target business segment, that often struggle to manage communication as teams scale.

Ensuring scalability and extensibility in our massive infrastructure of tools by meeting with 5 other teams working on a similar communication-related feature

5 other teams were working on similar concepts tailored for their own respective use cases. Since there were limited engineering resources per team, we needed to combine efforts in order to create a first-ever contextual communication system. We worked together to ensure feature parity across our large infrastructure of tools by identifying shared business values.


How can we set a foundation for a clear communication flow that’s contextual and organized?

- Toggle option: This seemed to combine comments and notes in a convoluted way. They are created at separate parts of the budget reporting process.
- Comment and notes option: Project Managers might want to see notes only, and seeing revisions/comments along with those would be distracting.
- Comment sidebar option: This allows for notes to be stored elsewhere on the budget. The separation creates focus and eliminates confusion of context.


Commenting on the budget was intuitive, but it was unclear how to initiate a comment

I conducted 3 usability tests with a Senior Project Manager, VP of Construction, and Operations Manager. Overall the usability was rated a 5/5 for level of easiness. Since the usability test went very well, the second iteration includes the right-click ability to drop comments that everyone exhibited. Instead of sending comments by clicking a button, users configure their notifications. Below are the results:

Unclear communication flow: Users weren’t sure how to initiate a comment but knew how to respond. All users right-clicked cell to initiate a comment (similar to Excel). This was incorporated in the final iteration.
Ease of control: Users liked the organized filters but needed more control with the notifications
Gaining sufficient context: Users felt they had all the information needed to identify and tackle the discrepancy.


A unified communication system for more frictionless construction budget reporting


Though I was unable to carry this project forward after leaving the company, part of this project became officially patented — contributing to Procore's pool of IP rights

Though I couldn't carry this project forward after my departure, the functionality I explored in this commenting feature was patented (published June 2020). This design became one of the top 5 global UX initiatives across all of Procore, and it was backed by the VP of Engineering and project was in process with engineering managers and product leaders before I moved to Dropbox.
View patent


Innovation begins with an idea, and it can only grow one step at a time

I learned that success is not just about what you ship, but it's also about how you inspire the people around you to aim higher. It was an incredible experience rallying teams from different departments so we could create a scalable commenting feature while also patenting a feature as well. I learned to push the status quo and to not be afraid to share my ideas no matter what my title is.