Teaching the Elephant in the Room To Dance, Lorraine Patterson and Mike Jefferson

It's tough being an 'innie'. Lorraine Patterson and Mike Jefferson spoke of doing agile inhouse.

I’m sharing notes from UX Scotland 2014, which took place in Edinburgh Thursday and Friday this week.

Lorraine Patterson and Mike Jefferson spoke about the issue of being a small UX fish in a big internal pool, namely as part of pensions company Scottish Life (now part of Royal London).

They’d had a particular issue: new legislation meant that employers needed to be able to auto-enroll their employees in a pension scheme. This meant a new project with a hard deadline.

To take on the challenge, the internal team took on ideas from the Google Ventures Design Sprint.

Aside from issues of expectations and time(!), their key problem was lack of access to customers: for much of the process they tested with end users but not customers. Luckily finally getting at customers validated their concerns, however, they’re still working at ways to incorporate the feedback that came out before them.

Their tips were:

  • bite off small chunks: much like Chris Clarke earlier in the day, they advised to think small and scale big.
  • be pragmatic: know when to prioritise certain elements
  • be clear about the prototype’s purpose: they had problems with stakeholders not having the right expectations of wireframes
  • be proactive/look for opportunities: if you can find a quick win e.g. a change that will minimise call centre time, it can help with your standing later on
  • be inclusive: involving stakeholders where possible can help you find allies when not expected.
  • Create a library of resources: the team started making an Axure library that meant they could keep consistency and share patterns. The team actually spoke about this at UX Scotland 2013.

The slides are available on Slideshare or below:

UX Scotland 2014 19th june from Lorraine Paterson

Vicky Teinaki is a user experience designer at Newcastle upon Tyne agency Orange Bus. She is also working on a PhD at Northumbria University about better ways of communicating design methods within the design industry.