End of our first official sprint. Today we’re camped in Casa del Nic, he’s got the coffee flowing (one thing you can rely on Nic for) and I’m hiding in the shade every time we step outside. (This is not kind weather for us ginger folk).
Anyway back to what we’re done this sprint, and considering how much time we’re actually spending on this we’ve accomplished a lot.
- We kicked off the discovery formally
- Had a great chat with Katie, GOV.UK Panel Service Owner
- With thanks to People for Research we recruited our first 5 participants
- Readied our research materials
- Conducted our first round of research by interviewing 5 people who have been participants previously
So sprint isn’t quite the right word to describe the period of time that we’re talking about, nor does it give you a true reflection of the methodologies that we’re adopting in which to manage this discovery phase. Truly agile methodologies struggle to apply to research heavy discovery phases. This is because there is a lot of up front planning that needs to be done when you’ve got research involved. Participants need a lead time to be recruited. Further we want methodological rigour to what we’re doing. So the mentality of just doing enough finds a hard time to be applied.
Given this there is a degree of waterfall planning that has it’s place in a discovery. We’ve certainly got elements of that in place. We have some milestones that we need to hit, and we have planned what needs to happen and in what order to achieve them. However, we’re also adopting some of the principles and practical ways of working of agile in our work. We are chunking our work up into fortnightly periods, ‘sprints’ that help give us focus for what needs to be done and nicely allows for these notes to have a place 😉. Further to this, we have got a sense of priority and some degree of adaptability in the work that we are doing. If needed some work can drop. If a theme emerges that we didn’t expect that we want to follow up then we have the ability to change course if feeds into our objectives.
As this is a side project me and Nic are committing a full day together every ‘sprint’, in between those days we’re picking up work separately and communicating through various channels to keep in touch.
Sprint in brief
So what have we been up to this sprint.
For starters we actually kicked this show off. Two weeks ago I took Nic on a tour around Cardiff looking for good coffee and stable wifi. The aim we set ourselves for the day – be able to describe what we’re doing, why and what it might look like. These may seem really basic, but these foundations are important. We had spent a lot of time talking about what we were doing, however we still weren’t quite describing the same part of the elephant. This day was to do exactly that. We talked freely about why we were interested in doing this. What we felt it was and wasn’t. To help this we articulated what outcomes we wanted to see and what principles would govern us.
The outcomes we want to see
- Non-research teams understand what research is
- Describe what other things a researcher does
- A framework in which have a conversation about research
- More research, that is less wrong
- A tweet from someone saying they gained better insight from an interview by making a change based on something they had learnt from this discovery
- Thought provoking
During this sprint we also we were also able to have a very thought provoking (those principles already being put to use) with Katie, who runs the GOV.UK Panel. This was great because it gave us insight into how a channel that is normally participants first touchpoint in the research journey works. Also Katie was kind enough to share with us what as a panel owner she is thinking about.
- How to keep panel members invested?
- How to describe what the purpose of a panel actually is?
- How to get people to sign up to panel?
These things we are taking into our thinking during our discovery.