Alpha has started. Hallelujah. Sprint 1 notes.

It’s been ages since I blogged on here which to be honest is because a new born has taken (and continues to take) up a fair bit of time, but at last my project I led on discovery, has now started its alpha. After an 8 month hiatus.

The project is called Enterprise Europe Network and is a service that looks to help innovative* businesses grow internationally. It’s a really interesting proposition, but as you’ll see from the current service, has a lot of work to do – both from a comms and digital service point of view. Traffic to the site continues to grow and the site doesn’t test too badly in usability sessions – despite it’s dated UX. Aside of that, it does meet service standard so the march to replace it continues.

Where discovery got to

I was pleased with how discovery concluded which built a strong case to progress to alpha. The prototype tested well…

…and technical architecture went down fine when I showed it to GDS.

EEN to be v3

Where alpha picks up

Aerian won the tender and so far so very good. There’s a great studio feel to the place who run agile projects all day long. We use pointed Jira tickets which track through Kanban. In the first sprint we’ve…

  • Walked through user needs findings and a couple of recent DIY usability session I’ve run on the existing service. We’ll try out using Trello to prioritise the stories
  • Stood up a load of tech
  • Got a local copy of the partnering opportunities working, which APIs from a slightly temperamental database over in Brussels
  • Pulled that stuff through on to a details page and done a first pass design on that too

I recorded the show and tell (10 min camtasia) so stakeholders can stay abreast of what’s going on. These guys will also watch some usability sessions when the time comes, keeping up the 2 hours every 6 weeks.

We’re recruiting our own users to research, and I’m using Twitter to do it. Will see how it goes, but scraping bios of government account followers, and then stuff more peripheral to that is throwing up some really interesting candidates. Will be interesting to cut the needs by their proximity to Innovate UK, as well as business life stage. Finding assisted digital users to speak to and understand is also looking more fruitful. Important for the team to build empathy there.

*need to do some digging into what – if anything – that means to our users