So we dug a particular team out of a hole about six months ago
They had a new service going live with a deadline to be able to take payment or have loads of extra admin – at a time when they were already up against it and really didn’t need anything extra to do.
They hadn’t navigated the path of business case approval and requesting ICT development resource in time – we are currently trying to make this a much easier path to walk up, with much clearer signposts directing the way.
There weren’t any “business as usual” ICT staff available – it was a bit of a perfect storm of no resource in the BAU team. Plus Digital First were already digging another team out of a similar hole. So we made two very similar great new forms at the same time.
We can identify and develop a “Minimum Viable Product” (MVP) and deliver it at pace.
We developed a new style of payment that did not take you out of the form to pay as that results in a pretty mediocre payment experience. This one was slick and easy and has been subsequently used to great delight by the Registrar team.
Everyone liked our willingness and “agile” ability to react and help so this will help us have a good reputation and open doors with services across the organisation.
Bad (but ultimately good) learning
We need to hold our ground and insist on discovery work even in these high pressure deadline situations.
Slotting an MVP into a release plan is a risk if there is no time afterwards for further development. It is supposed to be to enable user feedback being quickly gained and the product re-developed from that feedback. We just didn’t have the resource for that, there were already areas we were working on before we embarked on our dig-out mission.
No-one had asked the user.
We assumed the solution would be wanted by the customer. Fast payment would help the team and is naturally something the customers would want, right?
We’ve had one payment via the form.
The amounts they pay are pretty large in one go and the team think they incur too high charges by card payment.
Most have chosen the payment route via invoice. This was not anticipated as the idea was that online payment would be quick and appealing – modern, professional.
So we totally didn’t avoid the extra admin overhead.
The team knew that we had no capacity for further development so didn’t feedback to us until we asked this week about that one payment.
“Your team did your bit brilliantly, but I guess it is hard to ignore the most used avenues of payment.”
Well, arguably we didn’t do brilliantly. We did the building bit brilliantly but what an absolutely classic example of there being no point in building something brilliant that customers don’t want to use. We should have asked them! We need to be the experts guiding staff on the importance of this – and making sure that all analysts – BAU, Digital First or any other know to always ask the user!
Well, at least we have the feedback now from customers and we know that they would use BACS via the form if this was possible. Hopefully we can add this to the mix when we upgrade our payment system but I have no idea if it is feasible at the moment. We will have to do some more discovery!
We also now have a real life lesson learned. When the pressure from managers to deliver is high and real and entirely understandable, we can use it to make the case that good discovery is always going to end up saving time and money in the long run.