I’m excited to be working in a team that’s successfully delivering a project to redesign DWP’s Customer Information System (CIS), using Agile (scrum) development methodology and user centric design.
The interface enables over 90,000 users from DWP, other government departments and local authorities to carry out over 16 million transactions every day.
Design with intent
We started by observing the people who use the existing system day in day out to understand their needs. This gave us an insight into the processes, workarounds and challenges. This allowed us to design the new product with these factors at the forefront of our thinking.
We involved users throughout the project, holding workshops to understand their intent, the tasks they perform, and the data they need to access. Most users agreed that the best thing about the system is the wealth of information available. The workshops also helped us to identify useful data about the information held and how it was being displayed.
Since moving through the delivery phases, we’ve maintained our focus on user needs. Every step of the way we’ve ensured that our designs have been tested with users from across the department, iterated and iterated again before we move from prototypes to building new features.
Right now working in government’s digital and technology space is an interesting and challenging place to be as there is so much change and transition happening. As a result, there are loads of opportunities to get involved, contribute, and learn.
It’s a huge scale project, that’s highly complex, but we’ve managed to remain test driven in our development approach. One of the cool things is the way we have structured our teams. Developers are encouraged to get involved across the full stack of the application and to collaborate closely with operations right from the start. Working this way is much better for the success of the system.
We’ve started small and will scale-up as we learn from user feedback during Private Beta. Starting in mid-September we will be rolling out the system to our first 30 users, which will eventually grow to 500 by Christmas. There are tens of thousands of CIS users so we need to ensure we meet their needs in the best way we can to deliver the best service we can to our customers.
The project has been a great example of successful knowledge sharing and up-skilling by working together. Colleagues from apprentices to fast streamers on the project team have been able to develop new skills as we’ve moved from water-fall to agile roles (e.g. Product Owner and Scrum Master). In DWP Digital there are so many opportunities to develop new skills and gain experience.
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