Every fourteen days, we start the week with a co-creation session with a couple of ministries (I explained why we do this here). This time we had the goal to use the session in two ways: first to keep everyone up to date with the prototype, and second to gather feedback on our roll-out and communication plans. Both agenda items worked as planned and since this is the ninth iteration of the format also the preparation beforehand went smoothly. Monday afternoon was therefore used to document the results and refocus on the main goal of the week - testing our prototype with people working on policy in the ministries.
In preparation for these tests, I got together with our team’s service designer to create our testing and documentation environment in miro. We decided to divide the tests into two groups. The first group would test a pre-check component in an A:B style. We collected and structured our assumptions and afterward created a rudimental interview guide. The same approach for the second group, that would test the usability and explanations on a different part of our “how to get to digital-ready policy” process.
With the preparations for the tests in place, I had time to make some progress on an internal work stream. For quite some time the DigitalService has had the goal to calculate its carbon footprint as a company. Following the “first measure, then reduce and mitigate approach” we are in the process to collect all kinds of emission-related data. As with all data-related things, the “acquiring” is the most time-consuming task…
Tuesday started with our team’s review and planning session. To structure this meeting, I threw a quick agenda with already prefilled talking points on a miro board (of cause with timeboxes). Using that and setting aside a dedicated timeslot for the “we need to tackle this right away” tasks we got the planning done on time and started a new two-week sprint. This time our goal is to get our product content onto the 80% mark. A challenging but hopefully doable task for the upcoming days.
The rest of Tuesday and Wednesday followed an identical blueprint, in 60min sessions we tested the product. In the end, we did seven interviews, one policymaker did not show up. The tests were successful in the way that we have some strong indications on how to iterate the next version and as always we gained valuable insights into the policy practices of different ministries. I had a blast collaborating with our team’s service designer. We continuously were switching roles (interviewer, documenter), so I also had the chance to observe her style of testing and learn from it. Especially interesting was her approach to asking “the right questions” (not leading or biasing and always with an open outcome). Reflecting - doing tests, is like training muscles, it always takes one or two repetitions until you are back into your routine of asking these open and non-leading questions.
What else happened?
- This week we used check-in questions in several meetings (provided by this fantastic site -> tscheck.in). Once again it was quite helpful to grasp the mood of everyone involved and get a better understanding of their situations right from the start.
- In the company-wide all-hands, I was happy to hear that we finally will be able to talk about our product in more detail. Excited about that!
- We had two retros scheduled this week, one with our project partner in the administration and one with the core team. Both were canceled by “more important” project stuff. Leaves me (upset because retros are super important!) wondering if we did a good enough job in explaining why we find these work mode reflections so important.
- Had a meeting to get the stakeholder back on track after his absents for 2+ weeks - went well, and that’s an important achievement for the team - as we were not sure if we would get our message across in just sixty minutes.
- Prioritization in public administration in contrast to how we do prioritization as a product company. There are many differences, foremost - we are used to always prioritizing as you can not do everything. I would like to understand these differences more. Why? Because I think there is a lot of potential to be able to navigate this or even support our administrational counterparts in reflecting on the different angles of it.
A shorter weeknote, as it has been only a four-day week. Friday and the weekend I will be spending offline catching up with some good friends.