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Discovering discovery – it’s all about the users (hooray!)

Posted by: , Posted on: - Categories: DWP Digital Capability Building
Callum Davies
Callum Davies – HR Fast Stream Graduate

I joined my first discovery project 4 weeks ago – as part of the HR Product Owner team.

I work within a digital capability team, mainly on permanent recruitment for digital talent, understanding how we can attract and retain some of the top talent out there.

I’m also an HR Fast Stream Graduate freshly out of university with a degree in Philosophy.

This was my first real, immersive experience of agile, and a fascinating one. It has been an incredibly different journey than traditional projects I have worked on within HR as there has been an immense focus on aesthetic working, sharing and constantly thinking outside the box to produce some brilliant ideas.

It has been eye-opening as to how effective agile can be in such a small space of time with an incredible team and I can’t wait to see where else this could be applied within the department.

We were discovering how to improve the way we attract people with the right talent and skills to apply for digital and technology roles in DWP.

Surely that should be easy? Who wouldn't want to work here, right? We just need a website to point everyone at and, job done.

That might be where the ideas started, but thanks to agile, we ended up with a much broader, more interesting and hopefully more effective set of products.

We went from ideas to an alpha product in 6 days of intensive teamwork, collaboration and challenge.

What I loved about agile is that it made everyone take a step back and think about the users. Preconceived ideas about the solution don’t really work in the face of clear insight from users.

We interviewed recent recruits to discover their experience and used this insight to design personas.

We thought about Soph - she's a JAVA developer, 25-32 years old, shares her code online, keeps up with her friends who work in similar jobs. Soph isn't looking for a new job but keeps up to date with software development, and has an eye on her future when she plans to start a family while keeping her career moving.

The turning point was when we mapped the user journey - we thought about how a user would get from being 'not aware', to 'taking notice', to 'interested', through to 'finding out more', then applying for a digital or technology role in DWP.

Then we started building the alpha – a range of digital products across different channels, to take the user through the journey of being not aware to applying for a role, as smoothly as possible. We produced a core narrative, and this fed blogs, a twitter feed, a campaign page, a social media approach to engage with relevant sectors and professional audiences.

We developed a working prototype, including graphic design and front-end development. The finale was a show and tell where people who will be recruiting into digital and technology roles in DWP liked what they saw, and agreed that the user-centred approach had delivered a better set of products.

We’re now developing this into a public beta to launch in January 2015. Users will tell us whether it works, and evaluation of the user journeys will tell us which products are performing and which need to be improved. Then we’ll keep iterating.

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