in 2012 when i interviewed at Hearsay social, they were in need of a major visual upgrade to their social publishing SaaS product. They had been building the product quickly, adding features as needed, but the design was still a series of one-off choices lacking a coherent vision.
I presented a plan to the product leadership to accomplish three things:
Year 1: We implemented a new design framework into the SaaS product along with the first version of a style guide.
Year 2: We added a pattern library and front-end developers to the creative team to work specifically on the UI layer.
Year 3: We expanded the scope of the visual and UI dev team to cover all the product in the suite alongside regular education sessions with the engineering team on best practices of front-end coding.