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UCD into IR/EDS
Usability maturity assessment
Justifying UCD: calculating
with use of the methods
Revenue is United Kingdoms tax collection department and
also responsible for collection of national insurance and administration
of tax credits to working families. It employs over 60,000 staff
in more than 600 local offices and was one of first public sector
organisations to outsource its IT with its partnership with EDS
now running for more than 5 years. Track record of success in delivering
public sector IT projects is second to none and todays challenge
is to continue delivering to time, cost and requirement whilst meeting
the needs of increasingly sophisticated customers in our local office
Paying detailed attention
to usability throughout the lifecycle has become an accepted part
of the Inland Revenues business development process over the
last three years and is seen as playing a pivotal role in helping
our drive to deliver useful, usable business systems. That situation
is a direct result of previous work done between IR/EDS and NPL
on the MAPI project, also funded by the EC. Our usability process
and techniques are all based on that work and benefits have been
evident to all especially in how we now see acceptability from a
different angle, quality in use, rather than just time, cost and
EDS build users into
their IT lifecycle
EDS IR Division use
their own System Lifecycle Rapid Application Engineering (SLC/RAE)
method to deliver IT. Rapid Application Engineering approach with
responsibility shared with IR. Facilitated Workshops drive the process
and empowered end users support those workshops. Iterative and incremental
development with Tool support for the process.
IR then built in usability
- Business prototyping
- Window Design
- User Based Evaluations
- Performance Measurement.
There is no magic formula
that says "users involved equals useful, usable business system"
and both IR and EDS not convinced we were doing all this work at
the right times in the lifecycle, using the right methods and the
right people. Also the processes were running in parallel rather
than being integrated and felt we were also weak in setting and
designing to a usability requirement.
using TRUMP to do better
Firstly to establish
a benchmark to improve from and highlight those areas of improvement
that would give us the greatest business benefit. But also to ensure
we achieve a formal fit with the EDS IT lifecycle, use the right
techniques at the right time in the development lifecycle, are able
to specify usability requirements and gather data on the costs and
benefits of usability.
assessments - First Maturity Assessment
out by Lloyds Register. Interviews with IR/EDS staff including
those working on the trial project (Compliance Quality Initiative)
in January 1999 and February 2000. Findings from the first assessment
gave us a baseline to improve from and met one of our main aims
but also enabled Serco Usability Services to produce suggestions
for refined usability techniques to fit within the development lifecycle.
ISO 15504 capability levels
- level 0 Incomplete
- processes not effective
- level 1 Performed
- processes carried out and effective
- level 2 Managed
- within quality, time and resource requirements
- level 3 Established
- carried out as specified by organisation, resources defined
- level 4 Predictable
- carried out within predicted resource and quality
- level 5 Optimising
- reliable tailoring to requirements
Plus a clear view of usability within
- user centred information
exists, but not always at the right time or in the right place
- usability requirements
are either not documented or documented much too late
- working smarter in
JADs is the key to a more user centred design for IR and EDS
- building usability
into the development process is not always managed or established.
- Extend and integrate
the user centred design methods employed at the early lifecycle
- Identify and document
context of use and usability requirements in the business requirement
- Employ more task
based methods in the Joint Application Design (JAD) workshops
and be clearer on what we are asking the users to do
- We see JADs
as the engine of the Production stage of SLC/RAE and made that
& documenting context of use and usability requirements as
our absolute priorities.
So before JADs we...
- Used context analysis
to scope who will use the system and what tasks they will undertake
- Produced task scenarios
to cover all the main tasks
- Set a usability requirement
for those tasks
- Produced a preparation
pack for each function that collated the context analysis, task
scenarios, IT requirements and design thoughts so the business
share a common view of what they need to deliver from the JAD.
And in JADs we...
- Focused on real life
- Used different prototyping
approaches to design windows
- Managed the issues
- Made more use of
Corporate and Industry guidelines
- Tested the paper
mock-ups using the task scenarios.
And after JADs...
- Used an IT functional
prototype to validate the emerging design
- Testing the business
system against the usability requirement.
of using the methods was that they were almost all very beneficial.
Maturity Assessment - Headline Conclusions
- Significant improvement
in all areas
- IR/EDS strong in
the "core" areas of context, requirements, design and
- Evaluation rated
- Higher assessor confidence
- "A step change
in the awareness and practice of human centred design within IR/EDS.
So returning to our original aims
We established a benchmark
to improve from, highlighted those areas of improvement that would
give us the greatest business benefit, achieved a formal fit with
the EDS IT lifecycle and at the same time ensured we used the right
techniques at the right time in the development lifecycle. Finally
we now have the capability to specify usability requirements and
have gathered data on the cost benefits of usability.