Where are we?
As we draw close to the end of our first design sprint, we are excited at all that has happened and what has been achieved.
You may recall that about 4 weeks ago, we told you that we had been carrying out user research as part of our discovery phase. We surveyed over 40 users across our 9 proof of concept (POC) sites.
We wanted to understand how they consume our current network services and therefore their frustrations and pain points. We also asked them to tell us what they’ll like us to do to make their working life easier and better.
We had about 98% response to our survey and as a team, we spent time analysing the response. From those we have identified 12 user needs + 7 technical user needs that we collated from our interviews with our engineering and architectural colleagues.
Two weeks ago, we entered the first of our 2 design sprints. We spent the first day doing an exercise to prioritise our user needs. This was to ensure that we were prioritising our design effort.
As part of that, we agreed we will conduct an analysis of all our learning from our sites surveys and from that create a categorisation and possible profile of all sites in the council. So we now have a proposed categorisation mechanism for all sites in the council, for easy assessment and costing: Small site, medium site (high profile), medium site (low profile) and large site.
We have also created initial versions of our low level designs, ready for architectural and security assessment
We have one major activity to test in our POC sites and that is provisioning of internet connectivity.
We thought it was best to explore new internet providers, especially those who are ore local to the council and may have involvement with the council. So last week, we invited 4 providers to come and talk to us about how they may provide internet connectivity to council properties using the POC sites as case studies.
We had wonderful presentations from community fibre, Optimity and Hyperoptics. There technologies seemed really impressive and we will now spend the next sprint working out how we might engage with all of them, so that we can test their technologies and see how they may fit into our plans and user needs.
As noted at the top, we enter our design sprint 2 tomorrow and we hope to achieve the following
- Move our designs to the next version
- Organise and have our first assessment of the designs by internal architectural team and pick up their comments
- Organise design assessment – including with external assessors
- Complete our product cost profiling to enable us have a clearer view of implementation cost and recommendation
- Progress our engagement with our local ISPs
- Do our end of discovery/early design phase show and tell – this Thursday the 13th at 10.30am (it’s on open events calendar)
The team as ever, have been incredibly wonderful and committed to what we are doing. So special thanks to Henry, Isaiah, Chidi, Shafiq, Husain, Mal and Gill
What has happened so far:
User research interviews are coming to an end. Wingwo Kwai (our user researcher) must be delighted to be exiting this phase, having interviewed about 20 participants in the last 4 weeks.
Whats happening now:
We have began our end of discovery activities, so this week, we’ll be immersed into affinity mapping – which is how we systematically analyse all the information that we have elicited from our participants during our research interviews.
We hope that from what we have learned so far, we would begin to gain clearer understanding of our users pain points and problems and hopefully from that would emerge some insight statements or user needs statements.
So what will happen after that:
Our thinking is that we’ll spend some time validating the insight statements that we will be writing, with some of our original research participants. This is to make sure that what we feel we have learnt, is as close to the truth as possible.
And we also expect that we’ll have even more questions to explore. Because we really feel that it’s absolutely important that we are as clear as possible on the real ‘people data’ problems that our users are experiencing, before we start thinking about exploring possible answers and solutions.
Date for your diary:
We have a show and tell planed for next Tuesday the 13th of June. We’ll be showing some of the things we have learned and how we went about our learning. So please plan to attend – Please Please Please 🙂
As ever, special thanks from all of us Henry Lewis, Kirstine Ward, Gerard Mason, Husain Asania, Steve Farr, Wingwo Kwai and me to all our research participants.
Where we are
We entered our sprint 6 – which is our last sprint of this information gathering and learning phase.
Last sprint: Sprint 5
Sprint 5: 30/04/19 – 14/05/19, our goal was to complete the setting up of all the exercises and activities that we had planned for our testing, learning and information gathering. So we ensured that the final parts of the test lab for testing new devices was up and running and the user surveys were all sent out to our users in in our test sites and begin to chase users to ensure we collate as much of the response as possible.
This Sprint: Sprint 6
This is our agreed and official last sprint of the learning, discovery and information gathering phase. The ultimate goal is complete all tests – network devices testing in the lab and in the user network; user experience and site analysis in preparation to enter our design and exploratory phase.
The team is excited and enthusiastic about entering the next phase. a lot of learning has happened over the last 6 sprints, and we are keen to begin to interpret all the data that we have collated and start turning them into tangible, meaningful network design. We are bursting with the potential possibilities that we’ll uncover and and how we might make sense of all of them to satisfy our user needs and high level design.
What have we learned
Liked: We have enjoyed prompt responses from our various potential suppliers. All our potential suppliers seem to be enjoying working with us in an agile way.
Learned: We have learned that collaboration and knowledge sharing is indeed awesome! We have enjoyed collaborating in a multi-disciplinary team in achieving technical and non-technical tasks specifically around delivering and setting up network switches for testing in our lab and on the network.
Lacked: Our communication to the world outside our team hasn’t been as good as we would have like. So we’ll ensure that we are working with our product owner to ensure that we are telling the wider ICT and the organisation about the things that we are doing.
Everyone has been amazing. so special thanks to +Henry Lewis +Isaiah Oketola +Chidi Oko +Shafiq Ahmed +Gillian Newman +Mal Morris and +Lindsay Rex
Star of the sprint, will be shared between +Isaiah Oketola, +Chidi Oko and +Shafiq Ahmed for all the hard work including working out of hours to get our test sites surveyed and device testing all set up! You guys are really awesome!!!
Where we are
We are halfway through sprint 5 which is the sprint before last in this discovery, learning and gathering information phase.
Last sprint: Sprint 4
We made significant progress in the sprint 4, achieving our sprint goal which was to begin surveying users, selected from 10 proof of concept sites, on their current experience of our network services.
We also kicked off work to set up a lab in our communications room, from where we will test new, pioneering network devices, loaned from reputable suppliers of network devices. The aim is to learn from these tests and gain insights on how to design a pioneering and fit for purpose network service for all our users.
Our hope is that sprint 6 will be the last of this phase and that we we would have collated enough learning and isight about our current network, user pain points and needs to allow us to begin to enter an exploratory phase to start working out a network design that will be fit for purpose and reasonable for implementation.
What have we learned:
Liked: The team is working better together, user research is amazing, there is a sense of progress on the project.
Learned: Show and tell is good and should be done more often – every other sprint
Lacked: Pressure on engineers time impacts projects. Infrastructural managers will work closely with team to mitigate this where possible.
This Sprint: Sprint 5
This sprint, we have continued with setting up of network devices for testing and we are also collating feedback from our survey of over 240 users across 10 sites. We are excited to have received over 50 responses to the survey in the first couple of days of launch.
Everyone has been amazing. So special thanks to Gillian Newman, Henry Lewis, Isaiah Oketola, Chidi Oko, Shafiq Ahmed, Mal Morris and Lindsay Rex
But I think star of the sprint is Gillian Newman for getting the user research surveys out.
Where are we?
We are four weeks into our discovery phase and we are on target of the scope. We have interviewed just under 50% of our selected participants, including users from HR policy, corporate property, security, payroll and facilities management parts of the organisation, people who collate, process and report on people data within the organisation.
Some strong themes have already started emerging, confirming some of the things that we identified as possible problems with the way people data is managed in the in the council.
Themes around data quality, data sources, system processes and reporting are some of the strongest themes emerging.
How we do it
We strongly believe that user research is a team sport, so to ensure our collective learning, through this discovery phase, we have a “wash-up” session after each research interview. This involves the research interviewer(s) playing back from their notes and recordings, all their findings from the just concluded interviews, to the entire team.
We are enjoying working in this way because it means that we are all always on the same page in our learning journey on this project and also able to offer, each one of us, our views on what our users might be saying.
The next few weeks will be exciting as we draw discovery to a close and prepare to enter exploratory phase.
We have also kicked off the process of recruiting a service designer to join the team. Fingers crossed, we’ll be welcoming someone in a couple of weeks.
Special thanks to everyone who has given us their time throughout this process and particular thanks to our awesome participants. We value all that you have helped us to learn.