Tribalism vs. Collaboration and Change

The customer is a stranger and humans are not used to paying so much attention to the needs of strangers. The organisation is a tribe, and each department or division is its own sub-tribe. It’s so much easier and more comfortable to be organization-centric. — Gerry McGovern

This reminds me of Dave Gray’s excellent Culture and Change talk at DareConf 2013. Dolphin Department vs. Shark Corp; understanding the organisation’s culture and its potential for resisting change…

Shark Corp; Dolphin Department

Building a user-first culture

user research issue ranking

We ran summative usability tests for some critical user journey’s for the new UCL Undergraduate Prospectus student recruitment site. The penny dropped and future projects will include users’ from the start.

It’s an important project because the domain accounts for 23% of traffic to the UCL website and contributes significantly to the £326m / year in revenue from students.

Issue prioritisation

The super-useful red routes issue prioritisation flowchart is projected for reference…

user research issue summarisation
Post user research issue summarisation workshop. Normally I would run these with fewer participants, but stakeholder buy-in for user research was one of the main objectives.

Further reading

Digital Transformation means bridging the divide with reality

Digital Adaptation by Paul Boag

The people farthest from understanding the technology are often the ones making the strategic decisions Dennis Kardys Great opening quote in Paul Boag’s book Digital Adaptation. The inference is that the people most removed from digital publishing are senior management and their influencers. This is often true, certainly in the higher-education sector. However I might … Read more

User Centred Government, Notes

My favourite nuggets from Leisa Reichelt’s talk at HCID Open Day 2014, organised by City Interaction Lab.

Leisa was talking about about affecting good user-centred practices in large and complex organisations via her role at GDS. As usual she had lots of sensible, practical and plainly spoken advice for helping to stay focussed on collaborating to ship great experiences.

Notes

“User research closes distance”

— insightful and succinct way to remember and describe empathetic experience design practice.

“You can’t iterate away bad policy”

— you’ve got to get people and process aligned on projects.

“Every team member should observe 2 hours of user research every 6 weeks”

…and…

“At least one session of research should be planned for every two weeks of design work”

— about the idea of a minimum viable number of exposure hours[1] that are necessary to make a difference to a project team.
Also about using quantifiable targets (numbers) to positively affect behaviour, culture and processes: “it’s amazing how things just become a thing”.

“The strategy is delivery. Deliver useful stuff to teams incredibly regularly”

— a nice way to think about selling your value to people and teams by being dependable, visible, findable and just-in-time.

Further reading

  1. UIE: Fast Path to a Great UX – Increased Exposure Hours

Enterprise IT: the complexity-simplicity tradeoff

Making life easier for employees requires much more ongoing hard work from management and IT. It takes management time to save employees time and managers are simply not prepared to make that sacrifice. Gerry McGovern …painfully true and why the User Experience function needs to be included in Enterprise IT software selection, intranet information architecture … Read more