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Making Agile development and UX work at Citizens Advice

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- Why Citizens Advice chose an agile development philosophy to develop their new CMS and inform their digital strategy …

- Why Citizens Advice chose an agile development philosophy to develop their new CMS and inform their digital strategy
- How user testing has informed that development
- The lessons learnt – plus points and drawbacks

Published in: Internet, Technology

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    • 1. Making Agile development and UX work at Citizens Advice Adrian Hunt, Publishing Manager, Citizens Advice First time agile
    • 2. What I am going to talk about  Why Citizens Advice chose an agile development philosophy to develop their new CMS and inform their digital strategy  How user testing has informed that development  The lessons learnt – plus points and drawbacks but first ...
    • 3. This is a picture of the 1.8 million people who attended Barack Obama’s first inauguration as US President.  That’s roughly how many people walk through our doors each year  Twice as many ring us  Nine times as many use our websites
    • 4. A well performing website but... Citizens Advice’s advice website has seen traffic consistently increase over the past five years. Last year was its most successful ever with nearly 16 million unique visitors. However it is built on a creaking,15-year-old CMS.
    • 5. Vince Cable saves the day In March 2013, Citizens Advice was awarded additional funding to develop their online offering, some of which was allocated to a new CMS, a refresh of our website design and the development of a new digital strategy.
    • 6. Scope of the project  Technical – Replacing a content management system and developing new functionality  Data – Migrating the content of six existing websites  Information architecture – All sites on a single domain with some sites merging  Design – Refreshing existing and introducing responsive design  Workflow – Changing the editorial model of intranet to include workflow  Commercial – Setting up a web subscription service for one of our websites and ...
    • 7. Agile project management • Following disappointing experiences in previous ICT projects, we decided to develop the new CMS using Agile principles. This decision was made before any CMS had been chosen. It was an experiment and the first time it had been adopted at Citizens Advice. • After a procurement exercise, the EPiServer CMS was chosen with Sigma as the developer. One of the particularly convincing arguments that Sigma had made was the emphasis they placed on user experience and continual user testing within the development cycle.
    • 8. Why Agile: Key differences
    • 9. Agile against traditional development Pros  Early visibility of developments  Changing priority of features easy  Changing order of releases easy  Testing done throughout Cons  Requires a lot of time  Almost dedicated input from business owners  Lots of testing needed
    • 10. Our Agile approach  Story – item/feature to develop  Backlog – prioritised list of items to develop  Sprint – 2 week mini development cycle taking top items from the backlog, developing and testing them before presenting them -  Showcase – Where developed stories are presented. They are then tested against the specification  Each story costs a certain number of points  Each sprint contains a max of 120 pts = velocity  Intention: early and continuous visibility of development
    • 11. Agile – Sprint meetings Week 1 SPM Week 2 “Sprint” Showcase Look Ahead Week 1 SPM Week 2 “Sprint” Showcase Look Ahead Week 1 SPM Week 2 “Sprint” Showcase Look Ahead Week 1 SPM Week 2 “Sprint” Showcase Look Ahead Week 1 SPM Week 2 “Sprint” Showcase Look Ahead Week 1 SPM Week 2 “Sprint” Showcase Look Ahead Week 1 SPM Week 2 “Sprint” Showcase Look Ahead Week 1 SPM Week 2 “Sprint” Showcase Look Ahead Release Sprints SPM Look Ahead Showcase Week 1 Week 2
    • 12. Intended velocity July August September October November December January February March BMIS CABlink Adviceguide BMIS CABlink Corp Adviceguide Advisernet AdvisernetCorp
    • 13. User experience approach At the outset of the project, we had the goal to test new ideas, designs and functionality with users and place each site in a beta version prior to rollout… Feedback was gathered through a variety of techniques, including:  Workshops and focus groups  Interviews, surveys and questionnaires  Natural environment observation  User testing (remote and observed, guerrilla)  Analytics  Website feedback mechanisms
    • 14. Where UX counted  Benchmarking of existing sites  Template design  Paper prototyping  Strategic goals  Internal stakeholder requirements  Key external stakeholder requirements  Accessibility reviews at each site launch  Beta testing of the internal sites, BMIS and CABlink  200 Citizens Advice super testers recruited  Two focus groups representing the public and power
    • 15. Agile and UX in action My sketch of a section start page with the different types of feature Agile and UX in action (idea generation)
    • 16. First draft of the design of the section start page in Photoshop Agile and UX in action (design 1)
    • 17. Agreed design of the section start page in Photoshop Agile and UX in action (iteration of design)
    • 18. Functionality specified and uploaded onto project tool, Trello Agile and UX in action (specification)
    • 19. Testing of functionality by Citizens Advice, comments and findings recorded on Trello Agile and UX in action (staging)
    • 20. Agile and UX in action (live) The home page of one of our intranet sites, CABlink, which is built from interchangeable blocks developed for the start pages of other sites
    • 21. Milestones: Where are we now  Sep 2013: Presentation to Annual Conference  Oct – Dec 2013: BMIS beta  Jan 2014: BMIS live  Feb – Mar 2014: CABlink beta  Apr 2014: CABlink live  Jun 2014: Last two development sprints planned  Early Sep 2014: AdviserNet launch planned -  Mid Sep 2014: Corporate and Adviceguide sites merged and new citizensadvice.org.uk launched  Autumn – Winter 2014: UX review of sites
    • 22. Lessons: Agile  Exhausting – get the velocity right  Testing resource  Bugs – with complexity comes bugs  Specifications are still required  Tracking of progress essential  More stabilisation sprints  There is built-in redundancy  Co-location helpful, though not essential
    • 23. Lessons: Project specific  Make sure you have real content in the CMS on which to develop  Know the technology – as the client you will be specifying and testing  Think design/templates and then develop functionality  More UX  Second staff full time  Was a shift-and-lift migration project suitable for agile development?
    • 24. Successes  More client involvement in development  Don’t go too far wrong  Continuous redefinition / iteration  Constant reprioritisation of stories  Encourages you to test with users  You get better at it as the project progresses  Better product as an end result
    • 25. The future  Agile is now being rolled out to other projects and areas of Citizens Advice  On the websites, we are adopting Agile and user needs wholesale as a means of producing and reviewing content and tools  User experience is central to our future content strategy  Testing resource is recognised as an essential component to any development
    • 26. Thank you and questions My name is Adrian Hunt. I am Publishing Manager at Citizens Advice. I can be contacted at: adrian.hunt@citizensadvice.org.uk or adrhunt@googlemail.com