Blog / Digital Customer Programme Discovery Phase: Show & Tell #1 with Newham Council

October 11, 2016

I spent Wednesday morning visiting the Digital Team at Newham Council, to attend the first Show & Tell of their 10-week Digital Customer Programme Discovery Phase.

Newham Council Digital Customer Programme Discovery Phase 1

Over the last week, a small Unboxed team have been working alongside the Digital Team at Newham Council to take the first steps in transforming how they deliver their key services to 325,000 local residents, as well as making these services increasingly efficient for the council, through taking an innovative approach.

These Show & Tell sessions are open to anyone and everyone who would like to come along, including key stakeholders, eager colleagues and those just looking to see what the team are up to. The aim of this 20-minute session is to have a transparent platform for the team to share their progress from the previous one-week sprint, address what they plan on tackling in the following sprint, and answer any questions or queries attendees may have.

Newham Council Digital Customer Programme Discovery Phase 2

Digital Discovery - Sprint 1

Show & Tell duration: 20 minutes

Led by Martyn, the Digital Team summarised the progress they have been making across the first sprint of the project:

1. Holding an Inception Workshop

The team kick-started progress by holding an Inception Workshop to align the project strategy, activities of which included:

  • The team getting to know each other as consumers of council services
  • Addressing service lifecycles and user needs
  • Looking at a range of criteria for prioritising what the team will do and measuring success
  • Discussing the selection criteria for candidate/user services
  • Agreeing the roles, rules and tools for the project
  • Planning for the current Discovery phase and thinking about early-stage visions
  • Addressing the risks and assumptions surrounding this 10-week phase

Newham Council Digital Customer Programme Discovery Phase 3


2. Service team introductions

The important introductions have been made with key stakeholders and departments within a number of different service areas, including:

  • Adult social care
  • Housing
  • Planning
  • Customer service


3. Establishing the ways of working

The necessary systems have been set up by the team to establish how they can successfully progress forward, including:

  • Creating an online project board to manage the day-to-day tasks and user stories
  • Introducing Slack for easier and more open communication within the team (and beyond)
  • Sharing calendars and online document folders for collaborative working
  • Planning further stakeholder engagement

Newham Council Digital Customer Programme Discovery Phase 4

In the final part of the Show & Tell, the team shared the activities they aim to cover across Sprint Two:

  • Meeting key stakeholders within other key council services to begin building up a technological landscape around the current council systems, identifying the constraints and opportunities
  • Interviewing friends and families about how they engage with council services (as users) to increase understanding of how these services are being used
  • Visiting libraries, services centres, housing centres and customer contact centres to carry out further interview with local residents
  • Beginning to create and build up user personas
  • Mapping the current resident user journey for the Housing service to visualise how users flow through the journey, from entry to exit


Debrief and plan of action

Newham Council Digital Customer Programme Discovery Phase 5

With the Show & Tell wrapped up in exactly 20 minutes, the team sat together to debrief, sharing how each person thought the session went and discuss the plan of action for the afternoon, focussing mostly around user interview activities with local residents:

  • How to approach these residents
  • What sort of questions to ask
  • What themes to capture from these interviews

Sprint One: Done! It’s now time for the team to head into the second sprint of this Digital Customer Programme Discovery Phase.