French Bulldog looking up at man's face.

Major National Veterinary Chain


Following is a case study summary, reach out for a walkthrough of the full case study.


Improving the lives of 15,000 employees and 2 million pets through better enterprise software.

My consultancy, Humanist, was subcontracted by Door3 to supplement their talent and lead a combined UX team, providing UX leadership and product strategy. What started as a 3-month project turned into my leading a 1.5-year transformation of the system powering the nation’s largest veterinary practice. I managed a UX team of 10, mentored junior UX team members, coordinated across 5 Scrum teams (with a total of 50 development team members), guided sponsor expectations and coached product owners.

The Challenge

The nation’s largest veterinary practice developed an in-house ERM (electronic records management) system. The system, PetWare, is the backbone of the company, handling all aspects of the practice across 900 veterinary offices. However, employees found major challenges in using the software:

  • Poor ease of use
  • High learning curve
  • Undefined workflows
  • “Hidden” functionality
  • This led the business to identify a user experience transformation as critical for ongoing business success.

Identified success metrics:

  • Reduce the length of workflows
  • Improve comprehension and understand- ing while completing tasks
  • Increase learnability and reduce training time
  • Increase engagement for all users

For new employees, the barrier to entry was quite high. Mistakes were happening be- cause of the cumbersome nature of the in- formation and interacting with it.

Michael Montecuollo, Director of UX, DOOR3

Step 1: Research

Using a human-centered design approach, our UX team of four kicked off the discovery phase of the project with visits to six veterinary practices across two states:

  • Visits included user interviews with hospital staff across all roles.
  • The goal was to observe both the use of the software system and general hospital operations.


  • We discovered there were two service models in use and the software had to accommodate both.
  • The new service model visualized the status of the practice on a board and I identified the opportunity to incorporate this visual language into the system.

[Michael] was involved from a UX strategy and leadership perspective. [He] helped us with envisioning the product strategy for how to move forward with this application.

Michael Montecuollo, Director of UX, DOOR3

Step 2: Synthesis of Learnings

Based on our research, I created:

  • Personas to keep users in focus.
  • Multiple user journeys that illustrated different types of office visits and involved hospital staff members.
  • The journeys were mapped to corresponding system workflows, revealing how various user types interacted with the system across end-to-end office visits. This provided an understanding of the relationship between people, tasks and the system for both the UX team and client.

Step 3: Proof of Concept

I led design development of a draft framework for the future system to demonstrate a relevant and achievable product vision to client leadership.

Together with our front-end developer, we delivered two working prototypes as proof of concepts that showcased the possibilities and value of a new user experience that matches how employees work:

  • Check In: consolidated seven screens into one view, reducing the workflow by over two minutes.
  • Practice Overview: provided a view of hospital activity, previously requiring the viewing of three separate screens.

[Michael was] actively involved with the iterative Agile process of producing something, putting it in front of clients and stakeholders, testing, and getting feedback.

Michael Montecuollo, Director of UX, DOOR3

Step 4: Building and Maintaining a Shared Understanding

With buy-in from client leadership, the user experience team scaled to 10 UX designers to work on initial wireframes for all 38 fea- tures and workflows.

Defining UX principles

To keep consistency within a large team, I led the development of a set of UX principles that became the touchstone for all work on the revised system.

Cadence and communication

The user experience team held regularly scheduled demo days to:

  • Share work
  • Gather feedback
  • Reflect on consistency

Maintaining cohesion through visualization

The redesign necessitated the need for a new information architecture on which the core team collaborated.

This, along with other artifacts created earlier such as journey maps illustrating user touchpoints with the system, helped the expanded team understand how users interacted with the system.

Design system

I collaborated with engineering to create a design system and pattern library that included guidelines for system behavior, such as validation handling and application voice and style, providing a tool for consistency and efficiency.

Michael is extremely well-organized. There was no reason for me to get involved and address any issues. As a manager of the practice, I only get involved at the engagement level on troublemaker projects. This one ran extremely well, especially from a UX and design perspective. That is a credit to [Michael].

Our client loved him. They came to trust [Michael] with an enormous amount of responsibility on this project. From a project management perspective, he did an excellent job.

Michael Montecuollo, Director of UX, DOOR3

Step 5: Test and Iterate

I managed regularly scheduled and moderated usability tests throughout the project, allowing the team to refine the user experience before committing to development.

To initiate usability testing, I created the initial test script and trained others on usability test setup, subject recruitment, how to conduct usability tests, and sharing of findings.

My role throughout the project

  • Managed stakeholder expectations.
  • Planned and led stakeholder presentations.
  • Led a user experience team of up to 10.
  • Worked across 5 Scrum teams made up of approximately 50 development team members.
  • Mentored junior UX staff members.
  • Coached the client’s internal product owners.

“[Michael] is distinguished by [his] UX leadership, product strategy, iterative Agile design, and user testing. [He is] able to factor user feedback into that process. I was impressed that [he] used measurable, baseline-able metrics to make decisions. To [his] credit, one of the things [Michael] did throughout the project was to baseline the things that we could measure to show progress. ….

User testing and feedback was a critical part of the Agile process. [He] deliver[s] a high-quality finished product, which is what we’re in the business of providing.”

Michael Montecuollo, Director of UX, DOOR3

The Outcome

The team achieved all the client’s goals and more, including:

  • Measurable efficiency gains such as reduced friction and decreased time to complete every workflow
  • Increased learnability
  • Increased associate engagement
  • Increased user delight

The Impact

The project was a success for the company, its employees, customers and their pets, resulting in the following:

  • 2-minute reduction in the time needed to complete a workflow critical to every customer encounter, equating to over 200,000 hours per year returned to the company’s associates and customers.
  • reduction from 105 to 59 steps in another critical workflow.
  • The company’s hospitals eagerly awaited the beta version of the software, a first  for the company.
  • 45–70% increase in satisfaction for each of the tested components of the software.

…Many, including myself, thought that given the amount of work that needed to be completed, the time given to complete it, and the overall configuration of the team, that failure was a foregone conclusion. I am not exaggerating when I say that the only outcome that was in doubt was how monumental the failure would ultimately be.

…Once on board, Michael completely blew us away with his ability to take the most complex of situations and simplify them to the point where a laymen, or even a seasoned business professional such as myself without a creative bone in my body, could comprehend.

To be more specific, he took a process that had literally hundreds of interconnected, non-linear operations and streamlined them into a few very simple, yet very robust workflow that, in contrast to the previous system, literally and quite elegantly told the story of our hospital’s operations. In addition to re-configuring the UX (User Experience) piece of the application, he was also instrumental in completely taking what was before a very ugly and archaic UI (User Interface) and transforming it into a sleek, modern, best in class application that wowed the entire organization.

Feedback for the change was swift and immediate. When the prototype of the application was revealed at our yearly corporate conference (in an auditorium filled with over 500 executives, channel partners, and employees), the presentation, or better yet the newly created application, received a standing ovation. And that was just the prototype…

Ghanee H. Smith, Senior Strategy & Operations Manager, client side

Read the entire client review from DOOR3’s Director of UX on Clutch.
Note: I was contracted under my company name, Humanist.