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Lessons learned v0.4


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insights gained whilst delivering the Discover recommendations service.

Published in: Internet
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Lessons learned v0.4

  1. 1. DIA– Draft in confidence. Jan 2017 DIA Lessons Learned What we learned on the Discover Journey Jan 2017
  2. 2. DIA– Draft in confidence. Jan 2017 Lesson 1: Start with the customer and test your assumptions Results:  Conducting innovative inclusive research involves: workshops, 50+ interviews, two Marae visits and youth centre's around the country. This allowed us to get a get wide number of people of differing perspectives and abilities. We used the resulting evidence to build the Discover service.  Conducting rounds of testing on six two week sprints allowed us to refine quickly and gain valuable customer feedback at every step. Recommendations for action:  This robust, quick way of engaging customers should be standard on any customer centred work.
  3. 3. DIA– Draft in confidence. Jan 2017 Lesson 2: A great team is vital. Results:  Having a mix of skills allowed us to be both flexible and thorough and a small team (3 people) allowed us to move quickly on any new ideas and changes of directions.  Having a team get along and have fun meant that innovative ideas were able to be brought to life. E.g. building a chat bot  The team was cross functional: from doing traditional service design work to highly specialised UX and UAT work they were willing to work outside the job title. This allowed the team to save on hiring and recruiting.  Bringing experts in and out of the project only when needed allowed time and money savings. One short contract saved $72k. Recommendations for action:  Picking the right people so they complement each others strengths and weaknesses is vital to the success of any project.  Only bring in experts for short term work which is clearly defined. “Put the right people in to do the job”—Lee
  4. 4. DIA– Draft in confidence. Jan 2017 Lesson 3: A permissive environment leads to success. Results:  Having a permissive environment meant that ideas could be carried out quickly and that evidence for decisions could be gathered quickly. E.g. We had an idea for a workshop on Monday then ran the workshop on Friday. Recommendations for action:  Having a permissive environment is essential for any project to move quickly.
  5. 5. DIA– Draft in confidence. Jan 2017 Lesson 4: Manage risk at the front to avoid delays. Results:  Sometimes there were challenges and some delays in getting the right feedback from the right people in a timely manner. Navigating organisational processes proved challenging at times.  It was difficult at times to shift mind-sets to what’s possible rather than what’s not. Us: “Well, what should we do?” Others: “We can’t tell you. I can only tell you it’s not right.” To mitigate a lack of direction we made decisions based on the available information.  Keeping the project in two week sprints allowed us to change directions quickly without being wedded to any one particular solution. Recommendations for action:  Projects should find out before interacting with different business units, who the best people to contact are for smooth delivery.  Projects should keep the decision makers informed at 2 weekly intervals so any changes can be made quickly and easily. “We didn’t do Agile, we were Agile.”—Lee
  6. 6. DIA– Draft in confidence. Jan 2017 Lesson 5: Cultivate supportive people Results:  The support of the DCE and senior managers insured that the project could avoid political and financial pitfalls.  However going to people with a defined piece of work ensured some resistance vs. coming to us (open to help at the outset)  Other times we were encouraged and able to complete processes quickly in the organisation. The key: finding supportive people.  Once we found the right people and mind- sets in different teams we cultivated a shared understanding of success which enabled us to deliver in tight timeframes.  Enablers—ask “Are you happy” (Trust us) vs Blockers—tell you “You haven’t done X” (Don’t trust us) Recommendations for action:  Successful projects need support at the highest levels to get across the line.  At lower levels it’s essential to find the supportive people (enablers) who help projects deliver.
  7. 7. DIA– Draft in confidence. Jan 2017 Lesson 6: Re-using Smartstart. Results:  Catalyst & TSS already had experience on Smartstart and this enabled us to recruit the right people and speed up our delivery.  Infrastructure reuse allowed us to cut down on decisions.  Code & docs reuse meant time and money was also saved.  The Coms team was reused, but the level of involvement (with us) wasn’t enough to do detailed work for us. Recommendations for action:  Don’t blaze a trail, find a project that’s recently done what you want to do and re- use as much as possible.
  8. 8. DIA– Draft in confidence. Jan 2017 Lesson 7: Avoid political noise to keep focused. Results:  We’ve had to delay some recommendations (awaiting approval). We should of engaged some agencies earlier.  However we’ve done the work anyway, so now we’re ready when we do get sign off.  We dealt with issues head on by bringing them to the surface and clearing the air. Recommendations for action:  In order to deal with real issues we recommend projects hold a meeting or a workshop to bring them out in to the open. Requires an experienced facilitator.  Engage external organisations as early as possible.
  9. 9. DIA– Draft in confidence. Jan 2017 Lesson 8: Challenging deadlines. Results:  Having a December deadline and a tight budget ensured delivery. Recommendations for action:  Avoid dead development zones such as the Christmas break to ensure delivery.
  10. 10. DIA– Draft in confidence. Jan 2017 “Helpful way to get info without having to do much work.” —customer comment about Discover service. “3 years ago we had to tell the CE and all the way up the chain, that we were going to talk to customers — things have changed for the better” —Shane Lesson 9: Design lessons. Results:  Having the freedom to put aside predefined solutions and assumptions and to start from the ground up in partnership with the customer is and should be, the only way.  Having a big room dedicated to design made holding workshops and performing analysis and design much quicker and thorough than before. Recommendations for action:  Be clear about who’s doing what as soon as possible.  Having dedicated design space makes design easier.
  11. 11. DIA– Draft in confidence. Jan 2017