4. Diversity is an asset, not an edge case

[Part 4 of my series on language and service design] When I was working for GDS a few years ago, I was lucky enough to attend the session where Guilia Bazoli presented her research on Welsh language in Government. The session also included Bernard Tyers presenting on the work he’d done as a User Researcher on the Electronic Visa Waiver service. Bernard spent some of …

3. Qualitative, not quantitative, metrics

[Part 3 of my series on language and service design] Even recently, it’s noticeable how many of the conversations about services being provided in multiple languages that I’ve been involved in default to quantitative metrics: of the number of people who used this service, x percentage opted to use it in the language of y. Anyone who has managed metrics or analytics data on digital …

1. How do users find content and services?

[Part 1 of my series on language and service design] When I delivered my first corporate website in the languages of Welsh and English fifteen years ago, I was happy about the fact that it was genuinely language agnostic. The first page you got to was a custom side by side screen with dual permanent navigation and a list of the most recently updated content …

railway tracks being laid

what is change?

If a factory is torn down but the rationality that produced it is left standing, then that rationality will simply produce another factory. If a revolution destroys a government, but the systematic patterns of thought that produced that government are left intact, then those patterns will repeat themselves.” – Robert Pirsig, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance When thinking about change – particularly in …

git branches

Five product anti-patterns

Why not get rid of your product person? Why let a product person enable decisions? The best possible case for not getting rid of them and making sure you enable them is what happens to your team if they’re not there. Here are five alternative approaches that I’ve spotted, and some of the sub-optimal consequences. 1. Anarchy Description: everyone does what they want to do. …

children's amusement park

Websites are amusement parks, not classrooms

We’ve taken our little person to an amusement park several times in the last year. You’ve probably been to one of these at some stage in your life. There are lots of exotic animals to make sure that it’s properly educational. Then there are a lot of other brightly coloured options including (but not limited to): playgrounds, rides, special shows, giant sandpits, cuddly toy shops …

school exam

Getting your (user) stories straight

A recent chat about exams at school reminded me of my favourite exam. It was the unseen paper in English literature, where you had to come up with an analysis of a text you’d never seen before. I devised an approach to this where I’d ban myself from writing for the first half of the exam time and concentrate on getting my head around the …

What we talk about when we talk about product

I was at an event a while ago, listening to a full-time product person giving a presentation about how the private sector organisation they worked for delivered great products. It was a fantastic presentation from a talented product person. I learned a lot and I’d go and work for their organisation tomorrow, despite my long-standing addiction to the public sector. But. There was one line …

scorecard

Could dual-track be tri-track or quad-track for your team?

One of the reasons I think that pace is a problem in multidisciplinary teams is that we’ve become used to not planning or reporting on work beyond a horizon of 2-3 sprints [1]. This is for the good reason that we want to avoid predicting – or, worse, dictating – the outcome of sprints further into the future. It also means that we tend to …

zen stones on beach

the zen of agile

I have two strong views about agile. The first view is that agile is something that you are, not something that you do. It’s a practice not a process. If that sounds a bit Zen, then that’s because that’s what agile is. Being world class at agile means a lifetime of practice and reflection and discipline. The agile manifesto is koan-like in apparent simplicity that …