For the past couple of weeks, Common Good, Nine Sixty and Infinity Works have been working in partnership with Well to improve their online store finder. Now feels like a great time to start sharing what we’ve been up to. We’ll be doing this via a series of posts, focussing on the tools and techniques we’re using to design, manage and build this new service.
As Dan noted in his initial post — Well Digital have a bias for action. Adopting a Lean approach to design, UX and development has helped us support this behaviour, reducing heavy documentation like reports, specs, wireframes and presentations. Instead we’ve focussed on creating and testing prototypes. A method which gets ideas into the hands of our end-users quickly, extending decision-making and feedback beyond just the people in the room.
But before any of this can happen it’s key we understand the objectives of both our end-users and the business. Meaning our first task on the project was to uncover the answers to the following:
- Who are our users outside the business (customers)?
- Who are our users inside the business (stakeholders)?
- How is our solution going to ladder to the needs of our users?
- How is our solution going to ladder to Well’s objectives, values and their vision for the future?
To help, we took two weeks to complete two key phases of work. Phase 1 — Project Planning and Phase 2 — Discovery. The following is a summary of how we approached Phase 1 — Project Planning (Week Zero).
Project Planning (Week Zero)
Project Planning is an opportunity to meet people, create working relationships and develop shared understanding. It’s also the time to do any upfront organisational or logistical tasks which will make our lives easier or quicker as the project progresses. To help, we use a Project Point of Departure (PPOD) exercise. The PPOD gives structure and direction to the start of a project by asking a series of questions with the right people in the room. Done as a stand-up exercise, with sharpies and post-its, it gets all available insight on the wall for everyone to see.
The core questions to answer are:
What is the overall purpose of the project?
What specific outcomes should be achieved by the end of the project?
Target Group & Value:
Who are you doing the project for? And what value does it provide to those people?
Who is involved and what are they responsible for?
Lead — leading or owning the project.
Core — the main group of people working on the project
Advisory — people the core team can go to for input and feedback.
Decision — leader or manager with the responsibility to approve the project.
Milestones & Budget:
What needs to happen by when? And how much money do you have?
How will the team work together, how will you communicate, divide tasks, collaborate, approach decision making, etc.
Success / Fiasco Criteria:
What does success look like? What does failure look like?
Connections: What projects are connected to this one? Are there any other documents or data sources that we need to take into account?
The PPOD usually throws up key people are missing. Post the exercise it’s our job to go and find these people, make them aware of the project and explain how we’d like them to be involved going forwards. The result of the session is a shared document which lists out the why, how, what, where and when of the project. It’s the foundational detail on which the newly identified core team can agree to move forward on. The finer detail around tasks and next actions, which can also come out of the exercise, are immediately transferred to a project backlog on Trello.
Bringing the right people together can be difficult. How do we know who needs to be there? Are the right people aware of the project? Are they available? To get over this or to make the process easier we’ve spent a high percentage of our time co-locating at Well HQ. Co-location has made it easier for us to find the right people and to start the right conversations. It’s made ceremonies like check-ins and show and tells easier to organise and has ensured the process is less formal and more agile in its approach. It’s also helped maintain transparency around what we’re doing and how we’re doing it.
A further activity from Week Zero was organising field trips to Well stores. Speaking to customers and staff was a high priority. We spent time creating 5-minute, in-store clipboard surveys to ask why people visited stores, but more specifically how they thought the experience of finding a Well store could be improved. We wrote Typeform surveys to share across social media channels and to circulate internally at Well HQ — all with the sole objective of getting answers to the questions set out above.
This early attention to detail, via a clear and simple framework, coupled with an ambition for shared understanding and collaboration has helped ensure the project has got off to the best possible start.
Check back for our next post where we’ll explain how the preparation done during Week Zero supports Phase 2 — Discovery.