The 9th AgileNorth Conference

Celebrating Another Successful Event in 2014!

Photos Here


Wednesday 11th June 2014
The University of Central Lancashire, Preston
A full list of speakers and detail on their presentations are available here.  The ‘headline’ details are found on the AgileNorth 2014 page. Programme for the day available here.

This year’s conference took place in the Media Innovation Centre within the Media Factory at UCLan. Use the ‘How to find us’ link for travel information and Preston Campus Map.  The Media Factory shows as ME in the Green Zone on the Campus Map.  Car Parking is available in the C&T car park (5 on the Campus Map). PR1 7HD should get you to the right area, the building is on Kirkham Street, Preston.

AgileNorth Secretary – Katie Taylor – kjtaylor@uclan.ac.uk

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Kevin Murray & Imran Younis
Kevin is a Delivery Director for Valtech with over 18 years’ experience in the industry, Kevin has successfully managed a number of successful digital projects including our recent work creating the FlightGlobal http://www.flightglobal.com/Pro/What-is-Pro/ and Estates Gazette (EGi) http://www.estatesgazette.com platforms for the successful digital publisher Reed Business Information. Kevin manages and oversees the successful delivery of our GDS exemplars for DWP. He is also an acknowledged expert on the subject of Public Sector Agile, and regularly talks at conferences.

Imran is an award winning UX specialist with over 12 years’ experience. He has experience in a wide range of client domains from large corporate (e.g. AstraZeneca, Littlewoods) to start-ups (CarLoan4U, On the Beach). He has created the user experience for a number of digital exemplars including Carer's Allowance and Single Tier Pensions. He has also played a lead role in contributing to the UX aspects of the service manual and digital by default standards for GDS.
Presentation – Digital Diversity in the Public Sector
This session describes two very different UK government projects where we have taken a UX and user needs driven development approach. The presentation will show how using key UX techniques like guerrilla testing we have been able to influence and change the set in stone government policy.

The first project is the new digital Carer's Allowance service. We will explain UX techniques which brought the average claim entry time down from 1 hour to 16 minutes and ensured a doubling in the digital uptake percentage. More importantly we can explain how guerrilla testing for what is a very emotive benefit allowed us to soften and even remove question considered mandatory by the policy team. We will show a number of videos of the real user testing, some of these are humorous, but the really powerful clips show how some real users a brought to tears by some of the original questions. These testing clips really resonated with the policy team who allowed change when they were presented with the tangible evidence.

The second project is an Asbestos App for the UK Health and Safety Executive (HSE). Here we were able to use UX techniques to ensure we targeted the most at risk from asbestos, which is very difficult due to a significant amount of misinformation and macho peer pressure. The guerrilla testing helped the HSE amend very strict guidance which focuses on always avoiding asbestos to accepting that the target audience will need the safety information to identify and deal with the asbestos risk appropriately. Very surprisingly the guerrilla testing also ensured a change in behaviour for several of the real test subjects who made an immediate decision to review their current project or arrange a doctor’s visit.

Previously these two separate government departments had only worked with the waterfall approach, this resulted in big bang deliveries, which were 100% driven by legal and policy in a legislation first approach. One of the biggest problems we found was there was no analytics or evidence to measure what areas were working or failing.
We took a user needs focused approach on both these projects. Using an agile approach we incorporated iterations of prototyping, guerrilla testing and user insight testing which dovetailed into the development teams continuous delivery cadence. It was important that we incorporated qualitative and quantative testing along with important UX techniques such as:
• Customer journey mapping
• Affinity sorting
• Focusing on content editorial, removing jargon and focusing on the concept of plain English
• Guerrilla testing
• Pop up testing
• User Insight
• Analysing Google Analytics to understand completion rates, drop off points and time taken
• Accessibility testing

Agile News!

The Institute for Government is recommending Agile approaches for all Government IT Projects.  For more details click the link below then see “The £16 Billion Question: What’s Wrong with Government IT?