UX Prod­uct Design · 2023

Dig­i­tize the con­struc­tion industry

In Ger­many, approx­i­mate­ly 300,000 hous­ing projects are built every year. How­ev­er, 80% of them end up exceed­ing their planned costs. To avoid this, project devel­op­ers need to care­ful­ly mon­i­tor expens­es through­out each stage of con­struc­tion. This task requires reli­able data doc­u­men­ta­tion, smart work­flows, and an intu­itive user inter­face capa­ble of man­ag­ing com­plex data. Alas­co is a cloud-soft­ware that has been cru­cial in help­ing hun­dreds of project devel­op­ers achieve finan­cial suc­cess since 2018. With Alas­co projects devel­op­ers now stream­line and opti­mize their con­struc­tion projects, ensur­ing time­ly and cost-effec­tive completion.

Enough of this sheet

Sin­gle source of chaos
With­out a cen­tral stor­age loca­tion for all project data, file man­age­ment resem­bles an unman­age­able labyrinth of out­dat­ed project data and email attachments

Error-prone Excel spreadsheets
No secu­ri­ty mech­a­nisms: Crit­i­cal human input errors of finan­cial data in Excel are only a mat­ter of time dur­ing the project.

Miss­ing workflows
Each con­struc­tion site invoice must under­go a mul­ti-step approval process. In case of dis­crep­an­cies, com­mu­ni­ca­tion and doc­u­men­ta­tion become a tedious adventure.

Dis­claimer: I bor­rowed this clever title from coda.io

Alas­co to the Rescue

Cloud-stor­age, Invoice automa­tion, col­lab­o­ra­tive workflows.

My team was­n’t in charge of devel­op­ing this fea­ture, but I played a role in its improve­ment through feed­back. As this page pro­vides an “Aha” moment for Alas­co, I want­ed to share it with you.

Next Endeav­our: Revenues

The cost-con­trol fea­tures were cru­cial in secur­ing a suc­cess­ful €40 mil­lion Series‑B financ­ing round for Alas­co. With the new fund­ing, new prod­uct teams have formed, includ­ing my team “Project Suc­cess” which focus­es on a project’s rev­enue streams. Sim­ply put, with­out rev­enue, there is no project success.

Var­i­ous ini­tia­tives and respon­si­bil­i­ties with­in my team
Auto­mat­ic gen­er­a­tion of pay­ment requests, Track­ing of rental income, Track­ing of glob­al sales income, Rights & roles man­age­ment, Project cre­ation flow.

Select­ed Case Study

Record Actu­als for Rent Units

There are dif­fer­ent ways for project devel­op­ers to sell a project prof­itably. One option is glob­al sales with rental income. Here, I am pre­sent­ing our solu­tion for cap­tur­ing rental income.

Main user story
To make cash inflow and liq­uid­i­ty con­trol­ling more accu­rate, we enable the record­ing and pro­cess­ing of sched­uled month­ly rental pay­ments in Alasco.

I want to be able to fil­ter rent pay­ments by a spe­cif­ic time range, so that I can effi­cient­ly report to project stakeholders.

Design chal­lenge #1

How to enable users to report about rent incomes to project stakeholders?

Report­ing rent incomes is a cru­cial aspect of man­ag­ing a mul­ti-mil­lion project. Project man­agers need to have an accu­rate overview of rent incomes for a giv­en pay­ment peri­od, such as the cur­rent year, or for a cus­tom time frame, like Q1-Q2.

The design solu­tion enables users to fil­ter by select­ing a cus­tom date range using the time-peri­od but­ton. With the check­box fil­ters, users can also eas­i­ly view all out­stand­ing pay­ments, pro­vid­ing an overview of how much mon­ey is still owed by ten­ants. While an export fea­ture for the fil­tered selec­tion as an Excel sheet was fre­quent­ly request­ed for report­ing pur­pos­es, it was not includ­ed due to time constraints.

Design chal­lenge #2

What’s the opti­mal default time peri­od for dis­play­ing rent pay­ments for any giv­en rent unit? 

We learned from cus­tomers that by default they want to see 1) ‘cur­rent pay­ment month’, 2) ‘next months’ and 3) ‘pay­ments from the recent past’.

This default view log­ic (‘6 most rel­e­vant months’) makes sense for active rents but isn’t applic­a­ble to all use-cas­es. When a rent is planned in the future or is even com­plet­ed, the 6 most rel­e­vant months are dif­fer­ent. E.g. a ten­ant in the future has no his­toric data to show and there is no ‘cur­rent month‘ that match­es with an exist­ing pay­ment. With this learn­ing we decid­ed to have dif­fer­ent default view set­tings for all rent sta­tus con­di­tions (planned, active, com­plet­ed) to always show the most rel­e­vant pay­ments to the user.

I want to reg­u­lar­ly review and con­firm month­ly pay­ments for peace of mind regard­ing the accu­ra­cy of my cash flow planning.

Design chal­lenge #3

How to alle­vi­ate the bur­den of month­ly pay­ment con­fir­ma­tions for users?

An auto­mat­ic track­ing sys­tem using a bank­ing API was not fea­si­ble with­in the allo­cat­ed time for this ini­tia­tive. Through our dis­cov­ery phase, we found that 95% of cus­tomers pay their rent reli­ably. We learned, that our cus­tomers dis­liked idea of con­firm­ing pay­ments each month, pre­fer­ring to only engage with Alas­co when an issue aris­es (the remain­ing 5%). To address this, we designed a solu­tion where all pay­ments are auto­mat­i­cal­ly marked as “auto-paid” and users have the option to remove the sta­tus if some­thing is off. This change updates the planned with actu­al val­ues in the cash inflow, pro­vid­ing accu­rate liq­uid­i­ty plan­ning for project stakeholders.


I want to track par­tial pay­ments and its actu­al pay­ment date to keep my cash inflow reliable.

Design chal­lenge #4

How to record par­tial pay­ments pay­ments and its impli­ca­tions on liq­uid­i­ty planning?

In the major­i­ty (95%) of cas­es, rents are paid on sched­ule, while the remain­ing 5% can cre­ate plan­ning issues. These out­liers include ten­ants who either miss pay­ments entire­ly or pay only a por­tion of the amount due, par­tic­u­lar­ly when rent increas­es at the start of a new year.
To address this, users can set their own pay­ment dates. When an actu­al pay­ment date does not align with the planned date (e.g., March rent paid in April), the liq­uid­i­ty table will be updat­ed accord­ing­ly to pro­vide accu­rate data for all stakeholders.

Appre­ci­a­tion & Learnings

1,5 years at Alasco

Alas­co has a pro­fes­sion­al­ly man­aged prod­uct orga­ni­za­tion. Best prac­tices from pop­u­lar prod­uct man­age­ment books are put into practice.

Lean UX
Alas­co’s UX inter­face relies on sim­ple com­po­nents like tables, forms, radio menus, and check­marks, which speeds up time to mar­ket. How­ev­er, its lim­i­ta­tions become evi­dent when screens become too com­plex due to uni­for­mi­ty and design constraints.

Foun­da­tion­al Decisions
Be mind­ful of the rip­ple effect that foun­da­tion­al deci­sions can have on future devel­op­ment. The sig­nif­i­cance of these choic­es can­not be overstated.

Team and colleagues
It’s a delight to work along­side intel­li­gent and coop­er­a­tive col­leagues. I also learned to appre­ci­ate a skilled and pro­fes­sion­al HR-team with­in the com­pa­ny tak­ing care of a con­stant influx of kind and skilled coworkers.

Con­tin­u­ous improvement
Each team mem­ber is empow­ered to opti­mize run­ning process­es. Our prod­uct dis­cov­ery frame­work under­goes reg­u­lar review and refine­ment for greater effi­cien­cy with each new feature.

Mas­ter­ing the art of effec­tive search saves a sig­nif­i­cant amount of time. Sim­pli­fy the process for your team mem­bers to retrieve doc­u­men­ta­tion and oth­er impor­tant documents.