Case Study

National Health System: Creating Agile Culture

Agile coaching and user experience (UX) best practices create an overarching digital strategy and consistent mobile brand

Interacting with Consumers Across the Country

More Internet interactions take place on mobile devices every day. In this age of device takeover, it is increasingly important for organizations to have brand continuity across native applications and mobile-responsive websites.

One large national health system was missing vital processes for creating and managing hundreds of mobile applications and web properties produced for patients and associates.

Legacy websites acquired from over 140 uniquely branded hospitals confused the design and logistics of their mobile platforms. There were no practices to follow for navigation, typography, layout or interactions. Mobile and web properties had little input from organization leadership, resulting in a scattered brand and little direction for the output of the application or site.

As the organization works toward one consistent digital experience across its many hospitals, leadership demanded unified management and direction for future digital properties.

We provided the needed expertise to identify and prioritize the demands of this project.

Empowering Those Closest to the Work

One barrier keeping the organization from aligning the design of their digital property was work and team processes. Prioritizing their needs and objectives was a large task, and their culture of consortium decision making kept them from establishing a cohesive strategy.

We suggested assigning a dedicated product owner for native mobile applications and responsive web. This individual could determine the work that needed to be designed, prioritized, completed or omitted. Due to the organization’s size and structure, the customer was hesitant to assign one individual to make decisions on behalf of the entire organization.

In the first month of the engagement, both the client-side and delivery team struggled to pinpoint the desired end deliverables. Unproductive meetings resulted in numerous line items to execute, rather than focusing on prioritizing and tackling the work incrementally.

After a month with nothing to show, they were willing to try a different approach. The organization designated technical leaders to head mobile and web services, resulting in work that was well researched, on-brand and effective. This gave time back to the high-level leadership and allowed for progress that was previously held up.

The customer found that executives and department heads are not necessarily the best individuals to make decisions, because they are not closest to the work. Designating a product owner and giving them the authority to make decisions engaged their knowledge of the platform, product, pain points, technical requirements and limitations. By empowering a front-line leader with technical expertise to make decisions, an outcome is arrived at quickly and is more effective.

Working Better and Faster

With clear objectives and a single point of contact, the organization looked for a better way to work. Using agile methodology, units of work were broken down into cards on a shared digital Kanban board, with each card representing a day’s worth of work.

At the end of each day, work can be shared with the product owner and project manager for approval or revision. Having prioritized work arranged within labeled columns on the Kanban board, it is clear to both the client and the delivery team what is next in the queue.

An agile approach provided the client with an effective cadence and rhythm. A 15-minute assessment each morning sets the stage for the work that should be tackled each day. An hour-long demo closes the week and helps inform the broader team of the work that was completed or prioritized. Agile metrics presented during each demo educate the team on the overall velocity for the week, giving teams the ability to gauge how much work can be completed with the amount of time and budget remaining.

Implementing UX Design Practices

Once the organization adopted an effective way of working, we provided them a playbook for creating a consistent digital brand, with guidelines for developing and managing mobile applications and websites.

The deliverables included reusable mobile-designed templates, making application development simpler by providing an established and consistent starting point.

Now the organization can put procedures in place that inform an overarching digital strategy and allow them to create a consistent mobile brand. No matter where a consumer is in the country, they can recognize the brand in their digital resources.