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The actual problems to be solved

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How to keep focus on the actual problems to solve. From framing the work in the right way to the actual design and build of services. These slides contain useful tips and practical tools to help you help teams focus on what it is we're trying to change or achieve - and avoid "just building more stuff".

Published in: Design
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The actual problems to be solved

  1. 1. #SDinGov@kateldn / @ayeshamoarif The actual problems to be solved Kate Tarling @kateldn Ayesha Moarif @ayeshamoarif #SDinGov
  2. 2. #SDinGov@kateldn / @ayeshamoarif 1. Getting to the right problem 2. The right kinds of solutions 3. Building in the right kind of way
  3. 3. #SDinGov@kateldn / @ayeshamoarif Getting to the right problem
  4. 4. #SDinGov@kateldn / @ayeshamoarif The better you define the problem, the better the solution
  5. 5. #SDinGov@kateldn / @ayeshamoarif Some challenges ● Tech fixes for ill-defined problems ● Teams and budgets focussed on own problems ● Different solutions for same core issue ● No overview of work delivered... or if it’s making anything better #SDinGov2017@kateldn / @ayeshamoarif
  6. 6. #SDinGov@kateldn / @ayeshamoarif Problem or solution? “Let’s scan documents to cut down on paperwork” “We’ll tackle the backlog with a streaming tool” “An online portal will modernise our process”
  7. 7. #SDinGov@kateldn / @ayeshamoarif Do we “transform” our systems or update them? What’s the wider service the systems support? What do we need to improve and how? What’s the real problem?
  8. 8. #SDinGov@kateldn / @ayeshamoarif “We need a portal for applicants to submit their bank statements electronically” #SDinGov2017@kateldn / @ayeshamoarif 1. Break down a brief
  9. 9. #SDinGov@kateldn / @ayeshamoarif “We need a portal for applicants to submit their bank statements electronically” Who is “we”? Why now? 
 Or else? Why do users need to do this? What does this allow us to do? What are users really trying to do? What does this data tell us? Why this? How else?
  10. 10. #SDinGov@kateldn / @ayeshamoarif ● What is it we couldn’t do before? Why do it? ● Who is it for, i.e. users and internal people? ● What outcomes are they looking for? ● What do we do now and why? ● What critical things are we assuming? ● Anything we need to be aware of? ● How would we know we’re successful? 2. (Re)write the brief
  11. 11. #SDinGov@kateldn / @ayeshamoarif #SDinGov2017@kateldn / @ayeshamoarif ● What are people actually doing or what’s the end-to-end service as they would know it? ● What core need does the service meets? ● Where does the work fit in that? ● What does the work make better on a service level? 3. Frame the problem
  12. 12. #SDinGov@kateldn / @ayeshamoarif Services exist because someone wants to do something
  13. 13. #SDinGov@kateldn / @ayeshamoarif Real needs go beyond the service Start there
  14. 14. #SDinGov@kateldn / @ayeshamoarif #SDinGov2017@kateldn / @ayeshamoarif “Study in the UK” not “Class 3 visa application”
  15. 15. #SDinGov@kateldn / @ayeshamoarif A service Sub-services Activities Capabilities Technology Data What someone needs to do, e.g. “study in the UK” Major steps e.g. applying or deciding All the things people need to do The ability to deliver those things Systems and tools to enable delivery The actual data e.g. name, address
  16. 16. #SDinGov@kateldn / @ayeshamoarif*example service for demo purposes only
  17. 17. #SDinGov@kateldn / @ayeshamoarif*example service for demo purposes only
  18. 18. #SDinGov@kateldn / @ayeshamoarif ● Get people to work together on this ● See where we do and don’t agree ● Build shared understanding of the problem ● Identify other parties involved but not present ● Decide what we are and are not going to tackle 4. Agree the problem boundaries
  19. 19. #SDinGov@kateldn / @ayeshamoarif (Decide a solution) (Question everything) “Prevent x Allow y Faster n Less z” Describe outcomes “Build a portal” “Why study abroad?” #SDinGov2017@kateldn / @ayeshamoarif 5. Give “better” a shape
  20. 20. #SDinGov@kateldn / @ayeshamoarif (Decide a solution) (Question everything) “We need a portal for applicants to submit their bank statements electronically”
  21. 21. #SDinGov@kateldn / @ayeshamoarif We believe that how we get users to prove they meet our financial criteria
 isn't working well because people don’t provide the right information, what they send isn’t clear and it takes a long time to determine
  22. 22. #SDinGov@kateldn / @ayeshamoarif which results in a costly service to run, with lots of paperwork being checked manually, and lower confidence.
  23. 23. #SDinGov@kateldn / @ayeshamoarif How can we make knowing whether people meet this criteria clearer, faster and easier?
  24. 24. #SDinGov@kateldn / @ayeshamoarif “Speed up decision-making by checking financial eligibility in a way that reduces the chances of sending incorrect or out of date information” #SDinGov2017@kateldn / @ayeshamoarif (Decide a solution) (Question everything)Describe outcomes 6. Get ready for discovery
  25. 25. #SDinGov@kateldn / @ayeshamoarif If it’s got a name, it’s not a discovery
  26. 26. #SDinGov@kateldn / @ayeshamoarif 1. Break down solution to uncover the problem 2. Frame it in wider service / what people are doing 3. Agree broadly what problem is and isn’t 4. Discipline thinking to define “better” outcomes for now 5. Use it to start discovery and iterate
  27. 27. #SDinGov@kateldn / @ayeshamoarif Think of a way to reframe the problem underlying this brief and re-write it: “We want a digital hub where people can log in to manage their council tax and self-serve more” Exercise
  28. 28. #SDinGov@kateldn / @ayeshamoarif The right kind of solutions #SDinGov@kateldn / @ayeshamoarif
  29. 29. #SDinGov@kateldn / @ayeshamoarif It’s easy to come up with ideas and solutions… ...that bear no resemblance to anything you’ve actually learned or are really trying to achieve. The problem
  30. 30. #SDinGov@kateldn / @ayeshamoarif The best service is one where no one has to do anything
  31. 31. #SDinGov@kateldn / @ayeshamoarif ● Go back to first principles ● Ask the fundamental questions ● Go back to the original brief and ask why again ● Write down what actually needs to happen - not just what is happening now What problems are we solving?
  32. 32. #SDinGov@kateldn / @ayeshamoarif Use the wrong words and you’ll focus on the wrong problems
  33. 33. #SDinGov@kateldn / @ayeshamoarif What actually needs to happen? Find out how... Check eligibility Get proof Report something Stop something Make a decision Unclear activities Managing… Reviewing... Working a case Verify application Streaming work
  34. 34. #SDinGov@kateldn / @ayeshamoarif Working a case #SDinGov2017 What actually needs to happen? Check suitability Check eligibility Check entitlement Make decision Notify of a decision Issue proof Unclear activities
  35. 35. #SDinGov@kateldn / @ayeshamoarif Check eligibility Check entitlement Make decision Remove need for checks Use what we know Manual checks Automate checks Triage checks Issue proof Ways we could do these activities What actually needs to happen
  36. 36. #SDinGov@kateldn / @ayeshamoarif*example service for demo purposes only Trying to find out what is happening Need passport back Worry about posting passport Users don’t know what to expect
  37. 37. #SDinGov@kateldn / @ayeshamoarif Don’t block yourself in. There won’t be one neat, single solution.
  38. 38. #SDinGov@kateldn / @ayeshamoarif #SDinGov2017@kateldn / @ayeshamoarif Idea “An application tracker so people can see what’s happening with an application”
  39. 39. #SDinGov@kateldn / @ayeshamoarif For your idea to be the answer, what would have to be the problem?
  40. 40. #SDinGov@kateldn / @ayeshamoarif Make provocative statements ● People expect it won’t take very long. If we explain clearly what’s involved up front, they’ll worry and chase less. ● The hardest thing isn’t applying, it’s having to be away from one’s passport. So let’s stop taking them away. ● People seem to call every 7 days or so. If we email weekly with an update they’ll feel more confident.
  41. 41. #SDinGov@kateldn / @ayeshamoarif #SDinGov2017@kateldn / @ayeshamoarif By coming up with ideas you’re moving away from research insight to (informed) assumptions. And towards ways to test how right or wrong you are.
  42. 42. #SDinGov@kateldn / @ayeshamoarif*example service for demo purposes only 2. Reduce the time it takes to make decisions 3. Check eligibility without passport 4. Notify users regularly 1. Set realistic expectations up front 5. Track your application
  43. 43. #SDinGov@kateldn / @ayeshamoarif If you can’t easily relate your ideas back to how you framed the problem, either you were wrong about the problem or you are wrong about your solutions.
  44. 44. #SDinGov@kateldn / @ayeshamoarif 1. What really needs to happen & what are the real user needs 2. ‘How might we…’ 3. Don’t block yourself in 4. Make provocative statements 5. Turn statements into clear ideas 6. Find out how wrong or right
  45. 45. #SDinGov@kateldn / @ayeshamoarif Idea ● 5 second summary ● Which user needs addressed ● Why else do this and what we get ● What we need as input to do this ● What it involves ● Key risks & challenges ● How might we measure ● Future opportunities to hold space for?
  46. 46. #SDinGov@kateldn / @ayeshamoarif 5 second summary Notify users regularly about application progress Which user needs addressed Need my passport back, don’t know if the right thing is happening, feeling anxious Why do this and what we get It’s about how we communicate while we’re checking eligibility. If we get it right this idea may help increase confidence, reduce support centre costs and time What we need Input from operational area, input from policy What it involves Could be GOV.UK Notify and email or SMS updates Key risks & challenges Getting updates may require change to legacy system. May be long periods of time where nothing is happening. This fixes a symptom not the root cause (time/passports) How might we measure? Confidence from users the right things are happening, ratio of contact about this.
  47. 47. #SDinGov@kateldn / @ayeshamoarif Level of complexity, cost, resources How expensive? Potential impact on the core problems and what you’ve learned is it a good idea or not? 2. Reduce the time it takes to make decisions 3. Check eligibility without passport 4. Notify users regularly 1. Set realistic expectations up front 5. Track your application
  48. 48. #SDinGov@kateldn / @ayeshamoarif Think of a way to reframe the problem underlying this brief and re-write it: How might we help people know what to expect and how long it might take, when applying for something? Exercise
  49. 49. #SDinGov@kateldn / @ayeshamoarif Write a pitch ● 5 second summary ● Which user needs addressed ● Why else do this and what we get ● What we need as input to do this ● What it involves ● Key risks & challenges ● How might we measure ● Future opportunities to hold space for?
  50. 50. #SDinGov@kateldn / @ayeshamoarif Building (or changing) things in the right kind of way #SDinGov@kateldn / @ayeshamoarif
  51. 51. #SDinGov@kateldn / @ayeshamoarif It’s easy to let the momentum of the build drive everything. Especially when we’re not sure we’re addressing the right problems - and even when we are.
  52. 52. #SDinGov@kateldn / @ayeshamoarif #SDinGov2017@kateldn / @ayeshamoarif Where things go wrong ● Are we building features or working towards outcomes? ● What’s the difference between user needs and user stories? ● Who should stories refer to? ● When is a story ‘ready’?
  53. 53. #SDinGov@kateldn / @ayeshamoarif #SDinGov2017@kateldn / @ayeshamoarif What is a user need? ● Things people need to do - functional needs ● Emotional needs - perhaps people feel stressed or anxious and they need reassurance
  54. 54. #SDinGov@kateldn / @ayeshamoarif #SDinGov2017@kateldn / @ayeshamoarif 1. If you show this need to a real end user would they recognise it as their own need? 2. Does it help you to organise or prioritise the work for your project? 3. Does the need describe the problem and not the solution? 4. Will the need stay the same regardless of changes to technology, policy or how an existing service works? Litmus test for user needs by @leisa
  55. 55. #SDinGov@kateldn / @ayeshamoarif When you move away from research insight and lived experience towards lists of user stories, you immediately increase the likelihood of building the wrong thing
  56. 56. #SDinGov@kateldn / @ayeshamoarif #SDinGov2017@kateldn / @ayeshamoarif User stories A set of assumptions about what will ● meet user needs ● get what it is that you want to achieve ● support the outcome you’re after, given ● what you have learned about the problems and context ● In order to learn how right or wrong you are
  57. 57. #SDinGov@kateldn / @ayeshamoarif #SDinGov2017@kateldn / @ayeshamoarif Who are stories for? “As a security specialist I need people to authenticate themselves securely so that sensitive data is better protected.” This is dangerous.
  58. 58. #SDinGov@kateldn / @ayeshamoarif Keep the connection Why we set out to do any of this Actual user needs User stories. Assumptions we’re making Outcomes we’re after. Policy intent Acceptance criteria What we’re learning about this way of doing something How well this is going to perform, given what we’re trying to do
  59. 59. #SDinGov@kateldn / @ayeshamoarif Write stories as a team from now on
  60. 60. #SDinGov@kateldn / @ayeshamoarif https://cucumber.io/blog/2015/12/08/example-mapping-introduction
  61. 61. #SDinGov@kateldn / @ayeshamoarif Track what you learn from Josh Seiden at Interactions16 conference - @jseiden
  62. 62. #SDinGov@kateldn / @ayeshamoarif http://melissaperri.com/2015/07/22/the-product-kata/#.WLraDUWLSnc#SDinGov2017@kateldn / @ayeshamoarif Track what you learn
  63. 63. #SDinGov@kateldn / @ayeshamoarif ● Get everyone to acknowledge this is all assumptions ● Keep tracking the important connections throughout ● Agree how you’ll handle the things you’re wrong on Lots of red questions suggest you’re not ready When is a story ready?
  64. 64. #SDinGov@kateldn / @ayeshamoarif Summary 1.Getting the right problem 2. The right kind of solutions 3. Building in the right kind of way
  65. 65. #SDinGov@kateldn / @ayeshamoarif https://designpatterns.hackpad.com/Common-tasks-I4NgXoebESl https://cucumber.io/blog/2015/12/08/example-mapping-introduction https://www.slideshare.net/7thpixel/introduction-to-assumptions-mapping-agile2016 http://melissaperri.com/2015/07/22/the-product-kata/#.WLraDUWLSnc Thanks to Alice for the slide template http://alicebartlett.co.uk/blog/how-to-do-ok-at-slides #SDinGov2017@kateldn / @ayeshamoarif Thank you.

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