Improving our e-forms: Week Note w/c 21/10/19 – Discovery.

Questions questions questions.

Last week we were full of them in our workshop where we were attempting to correlate what has become known (affectionately for some, less so for others) as “The List”, against a set of criteria that was suggested the previous week.

“The List” is, well, a list.

It’s a huge list of ‘forms’ (ahem, contentious term – see last week), that are currently in use to a greater or lesser degree around the establishment.

The difficulty however, is finding the balance between asking questions and answering them. The classic motion of talking vs. doing.

But what do you do when all of the questions are relevant and important?

What do you do, when in spite of asking them and seeking answers, they re-appear in a sneaky, disguised way? The kind that look and sound different, but when unpicked actually form the same questions.

What about when you essentially return to the same question that was being asked on your first week of starting the job?

(I’m always mildly terrified of putting this kind of thing in my week notes, but I do so because it’s the truth, and more stuff gets fixed when everyone is being honest. So in the spirit of wanting what’s best for the user, I have to set aside my fears of being perceived as having failed in some way and share in the hopes that we will learn and succeed. The HackIT manifesto encourages us to fail in a fortnight after all).

There comes a point when you have to ask about the question itself…

  • Have we actually been asking the right question?
  • Is the question actually a question that people need the answer to?
  • Could it be that this question is actually too big to answer in one go?

This what we came to explore this week.

It’s been a bit tricky, because for the last few days diaries have been less willing to align than the planets in the crystal ball of a dodgy fortune teller, but we’ve worked hard to piece it all together and start to form a coherent direction that we’ll discuss with our Stakeholders once we’ve teased out what we think is the right question to ask and how we might go about answering it.

I’m also thinking on how we can find a way to derive some extra value from this potential pivot – a conversation with Paul, our Product Owner, perhaps will de-fog this a bit. I already cited our criteria list last week, so I’ll resist the temptation to try and claim the same thing twice!

I’m thinking about something around ‘how to manage circular questions’ or a guide on ‘how to know when a question is to big’. I’m going to have a look online and see what sort of resources exist and consider if (had we applied them), we might have reached an understanding sooner around what we were asking ourselves.

For now however, moving forward, this week we have our final conversation on this for now and we are planning for our first show and tell, where we’ll share in more detail the journey that we have undertaken to get here and what we think a ‘pivot’ might look like here.

A special thanks to Paul, Kirstine and David this week, the project team, for being so willing to be robust in discussions and for being committed to understanding each other to reach a common ground.

Until next week…

Ian

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