I was part of the team that designed and built it in the midst of a global pandemic. And which suddenly learned, unwarned, that we would be the primary vehicle for the Scottish Government’s response to the emergency for businesses.
We were still in Beta in March 2020, so we were just routinely publishing all the data we had about usage. But, as we – de facto, if not officially – became a production service due to necessity, we just continued to do so.
Polish your elevator pitch because it is more needed today than ever before.
How often do you talk to peers who just can’t tell you what their project exists to do. They can only tell you what they do on the project.
A friend of mine took on a new role at a finance company. When he started there were 40,000 defects in Jira.
When he left 2 years later….there were 40,000 defects in Jira..
He couldn’t tell what his project actually did.
So what was their team actually meant to do?
If you don’t know the Pitch then why is your company funding your project?
A good pitch is a way of telling your story that rolls together:
It does this in a No-Nonsense, Plain English manner.
So how do I create this magical Pitch you speak of
There are lots of ways to create a Pitch, but one that has never failed me in workshops is the Pixar Pitch. This is the structure that ALL Pixar movies use and to date they have raked in over 15 BILLION DOLLARS. So obviously not a bad approach to story telling.
I seem to have been running a lot of retrospectives lately. And yes, I just used an Oxford comma. Get over it.
In case you don’t know what that means, a retrospective (or a ‘retro’ for short) is a meeting-come-workshop where you look back on work you’ve done, as a team, and try to identify ways you could be better in future.
In agile methodologies, you can hold retros pretty regularly. With Scrum, you’d hold one at the end of every sprint – typically every 2 weeks – so you can get feedback quickly and adjust course immediately.
Think guiding a canoe through rapids; if you can’t change course quickly, you are going to hit a rock (a fairly common metaphor for retros uses a sailboat, as above) pretty soon, and pretty fatally.
Applying for a job seems simple enough, right? Set out your own expectations on a job and employer, find something that meets your expectation and apply! However, in the 6 months I have spent with the service design team at Scottish Enterprise (pretty new right!) I have learned that very few things are as simple as we say or think.
Following several queries and concerns relating to our Current vacancies page on Scottish-enterprise.com, the team kicked off a project to research, understand and act on the needs of our customers (potential applicants) and colleagues (those involved in recruitment).
What do we take from those we have worked for, and with? What do we take from each role we do into the next?
I’ve blogged before about my career journey. The best of times has been when I’ve worked for someone who has understood me as a whole person and believed in me. Here’s some thoughts about my journey over 35 years
Anyone who’s worked on iterative design projects – sometimes called ‘agile’ projects, although that term itself often hinders understanding, rather than helping it – will know that reflection is a key part of the journey. We’ve been doing a lot of reflection lately, and it’s prompted me to reflect on what digital transformation is – or perhaps more importantly, what it isn’t.
COVID-19. Collective sigh. If you’re not jaded by it all yet then your reserves of positivity surely know no bounds.
The winds of change that have blown across our world as a result of this surreal event are quite incredible. And many things will never be the same again.
Small town centres, previously peppered with empty shops, are bustling. Employers are embracing remote working like never before. Deserted city centre scenes, previously only featured in apocalyptic movies, have graced the evening news.
But some things haven’t changed.
Many organisations continue to create policy, advice, products and services in complete ignorance of how user behaviour in the modern age will define their effectiveness.
There’s been no more perfect example of this than the four corners of the UK all having different and, in many cases, contradictory rules and advice for citizens to follow during this pandemic.
Scottish Enterprise is changing. We are delivering services to customers and stakeholders in new ways, this gives us a fabulous opportunity but also presents some challenges.
As the team leader for the user centered design team at Scottish Enterprise I hear comments such as ‘What do you mean when you say service’, ‘We don’t really know what you do or who you are’ and also ‘But don’t you just build websites? Why do you care about all this other stuff that’s not digital?’
It prompted me to think what was causing this perception and how I felt four years ago when I joined the digital team at Scottish Enterprise. I was struck by how many people are involved and therefore how confusing it can be.
I started my career at Scottish Enterprise as a content designer. Actually, we were called ‘web content developers’ back then, before we really embraced the idea that there is more to content than just words on a web page. Then I joined the service design team as a service designer, and over the past few months, I’ve been doing a dual role as a service designer and user researcher.
We have a transformation programme underway across Scottish Enterprise. It was getting harder to see what needed to be done to deliver the bigger picture – rather than just bits of the jigsaw. In addition, many people were focusing solely on ‘the bit you need to build’, rather than seeing the whole service – end to end, online and offline.
The FindBusinessSupport.gov.scot (FBS) website had to adapt quickly when the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic hit to ensure that businesses could access up-to-date information about what they needed to do and what support they could get.
Because new funds were constantly being offered, and guidance kept changing as we moved in and out of lockdown, we just added new content when changes were announced by the Scottish Government. We never had time to step back and think about the complete customer journey, and the coronavirus advice page had become very long and complex.
The Scottish Government asked us to make it easier for businesses to access information about coronavirus funding and support on the FBS website, and they gave us two weeks to do it.
The title of this post is misleading. It implies that I’m going to provide you with tips on doing all these things well simultaneously. I’m not. It isn’t possible. What I am going to do is share how I have been balancing my job as a service designer with homeschooling my 5-year-old and chasing after my 2-year-old during this most recent lockdown.
Like many parents, I’ve been faced with an almost impossible task – do your job while also giving your children an education. If your working day is seven hours, and a school day is six hours, and a parenting day is around 12 hours, that’s 25 hours of work to fit within 24 hours. And that doesn’t include eating, sleeping, cooking, housework and this ‘self-care’ stuff that everyone is so big on these days.
According to our website, “Scottish Enterprise is Scotland’s national economic development agency. We’re committed to growing the Scottish economy for the benefit of all, helping create more quality jobs and a brighter future for every region.”
In Scottish Enterprise, we can take up to 3 days per year to volunteer. A few of us on the Digital team have use this to contribute to various projects. Others in the team and across Scottish Enterprise are also volunteering on their own time.