learnings from working with the government
overcoming lack of access to users
We proposed a user research plan, and were able to convince them to get access to some people to do stakeholder interviews with to inform the next phase of the project.
We were also able to do usability testing and some user research when training and onboarding beta users.
getting ahead of requirements
Due to some time constraints and anxiety from stakeholders, it was difficult to understand why stakeholders asked for certain features and how the requirements came to be (through a different contractor). I tried giving the requirements form through mocks and wireframes, so that there was a visual representation of our understanding of what people needed, and we could debate why/how they should be implemented more concretely.
I also noticed that we were spending a lot of time in meetings correlating the work that we did with the written requirements, so provided annotated wireframes with the requirements that each tile/feature met. These became a cornerstone of communicating with our client and their stakeholders.
“The pre-work that you did in understanding requirements and doing mockups based on a holistic understanding was way way ahead of where we were. The fact that I’m just now getting through the requirements and understanding the full context behind why you did the mockups the way you did has left me really impressed at the job you did, which was much more than a direct translation of requirements to dashboards.”— Rahul, Engineer
flexibility for other contractors’ additions
Creating a library of dashboards seemed to be a more scalable way to provide some early information into their data, but allowed for us to continually add more dashboards for monitoring information and also plan ahead for the possibility that a different contractor would need to take on the library.
provide frameworks to stakeholders
One thing that we noticed is that because they were in such a data desert, dashboards seemed shiny and useful for everything. However, dashboards are useful for monitoring and are most useful when you need to refer to them on a fairly regular cadence.
We provided a framework to the government agency so that they could determine whether dashboards would be useful or if a report or a different tool may be more appropriate.