Working in an agile way with data can deliver immediate results!
New projects can often seem a little daunting to start with and generally, it is more effective to work collaboratively with others who are skilled in various disciplines that are not your own. The objective for one of our clients here at Jarmany is to (phrased broadly) – make measurable improvements to the customer journeys on their website.
To achieve this end, an agile project managed workstream has been set up. And whilst a client would historically, have tasked one agency to provide a complete solution, in this event the tasks involve no less than three agencies, each with specific skill-sets.
A core aspect of this collaboration is a daily stand-up. Every working day from 9:30 to 9:45 I open Google Hangouts, put on headphones and sign in to a daily stand-up. I wave hello to the other people (most of the time, ten in total) on the call, and we proceed to go around the (virtual) room to update our co-workers on the previous days’ progress.
These ten faces that ordinarily appear on the stand-up can be placed into 5 categories: data, UX, dev, brand and management. And for context I’ve outlined below what each of the roles is responsible for:
The Data Insight Specialists (that’s us).
- Consolidate website interaction data to recommend areas of the site that require attention
- Respond to UX strategy to assess its feasibility on site
- Measure the performance of any live release
The UX Designers
- Design the assets for a new web page, or element of
- Inspire new design ideas as a product of their UX experience
- Collaborate with legal teams to accommodate their requirements into the designs
The Website Developers:
- Bring the chosen designs to life
- Manoeuvre the constraints of the website to provide the best version of the design possible
- Test and audit the code before live release
The Brand Representatives:
- Ensure that the designs are in line with the client’s brand
- Provide knowledge on current business priorities and help the workstream stay aligned
- Communicate with the right individuals in the organisation to ensure the workstream’s progress
The Project Managers:
- Take charge of the workstream schedule and ensure that it is adhered to
- Follow up on any set-backs the team may encounter and see that the best solution is found
- Liaise with all organisations involved and introduce the structure of work where needed
All groups operate in three-week sprints. Each begins with the creation of a backlog.
The UX designers, project managers, the data specialist, and the brand representatives sit together and decide on relevant user stories. For example, if a new homepage were needed, a user story may be, “As a user of this website, I want to navigate around the different areas of the site easily”.
The completed backlog is given to the design team. Once a final design is chosen, it is passed to the development team to decide on time frames for completion. As user stories are the starting point for each design, all design features align with a story, and hence each story has a time frame.
This process ensures the entire workstream keeps the future users of the website – the potential customers, front of mind.
What the data can tell us
Jarmany’s role in this picture is data focused, and yes that does mean we report the numbers. However, this workstream has made it clearly apparent to me, the value, that these numbers hold.
Interactions with websites can illuminate so much about consumer attitudes and investigating the data in detail enables the collaborative team to view where customer experience can be improved.
We can investigate everything from how much visitors use a process on site – the research of the latest televisions available for example, to a page component popularity – the amount of video views the new television promo video received.
This provides a window that is beneficial to everyone on the team. Business priorities can receive a steer from the individuals on site, design ideas can be edited with the same information, and the impact that changes have had can be assessed using these same dimensions.
Working in this way has been illuminating for how we fit within the current landscape of an online commercial business. With website analytics, we can get close to how users ‘feel’ about their online experiences, and its inclusion in this collaborative environment has cemented for me the value of this customer focused information.