Dental App – Major Release

My work as a Technical Product Manager for a dental practice management software line has really put me in some unique situations. These applications have been around since the early nineties. One, in particular, is still one of the major players in the growing DPMS business, with about 6500 offices. Some desperately looking for reasons to stay.

The next version needed to be awesome…

The Problem:

The application had been a bit neglected with a slow-release schedule and no real functionality updates. Customers were not happy, and attrition rates were climbing!

Current Software Issues

  • The company was viewed as not investing in the software
  • Attrition rates were climbing
  • No new features had been introduced
  • Dated interface made app look old
  • No urgency on bug fixes

New Business Objectives:

  • Reduce attrition rates by:
    • Introducing new features using extensive user research
    • Fix long standing issues
    • Update the interface to appear more modern
    • Fix long-standing bugs
    • Spread the word on the new investment into user workflows and software development

The Actions:

During this time, the Product Line Manager left the company, and I stepped into several roles to accelerate multiple versions to general release. We had direct business objectives and now, the management behind it to get it out of the door.

Product Manager Responsibilities:

Prioritize, Align and Present

  • Prioritized new features to achieve business objectives
  • Aligned with cross-functional teams to achieve the release witin the planned timeframe
  • Presented release details to stakeholders, customers, and gatekeepers
  • Facilitated initial beta sign-up, ongoing participation and final conclusions to the beta process

Cross-Functional Team Contributions:

  • Facilitated collaboration between cross-functional teams to speed up the release process
  • Assisted with quality assurance to complete group testing with 7+ users
  • Helped marketing with gathering materials for release


UX and Visual Design:

Clinical Overview Page:

  • Identified workflows gaps within the software through user & trainer interviews
  • Using UX tools & ‘Go to Gemba’ Lean methods, I developed empathy for by observing day-to-day workflows directly in their office
  • A design was iterated on extensively. I then worked closely with development to achieve the desired result

UX Toolkit Used:

  • Contextual inquiries: I gathered qualitative feedback with users by working with them on-site
  • User interviews: I held workflow sessions with customers regarding the Overview tab
  • Stakeholder interviews: I also held feedback meetings with Chief Dental Officer who is also a former dentist
  • Braintrust: gathered feedback and vetted Overview design through a selected group of users

Update Interface to More Modern Look:

  • Researched, designed and developed Mosaic Design System for visual consistency
  • Defined and vetted the visual changes with stakeholders
  • Designed the Overview visual style, layout and contents
  • Vetted updates with the brain-trust via an online community and online feedback sessions

UX & Visual Design Toolkit:

  • Layout & protoyping: Adopbe Photoshop and Adobe XD
  • Stakeholder & braintrust interviews: held weekly workflow review meetings
  • Design spec documentation: This was needed for pass off to the development team
  • Cross-functional team collaboration: Color definition with marketing department

The Results:

Retention Rates:
Retention rates are going up since the releases have been installed on 50% of the customer base. From my interactions with customers, the new features have been well-received as it results on average of a 65% times savings on the “get-up-to-speed” workflow.

This month L3M LTM vs. L3M vs. LTM
Software 94.7% 92.5% 94.4% 2.2pp 0.3pp


Our revenue goals were achieved as we were able to keep more customers involved by spreading the word by engaging them through the online community and tradeshow interactions along with phone calls and email campaigns. The revenue has stabilized as a result.