Working as an integrated team with multiple external parties during COVID-19
Sven de Brouwer June 2, 2020
An example from Nodes’ remote collaboration with Fujitsu and 4 different UK Police forces
Switching from face-to-face to remote has been a transition for everyone across the globe, however, we at Nodes quickly adapted and were able to keep working efficiently with our clients.
An example of this is a project with Fujitsu, focusing on Out of Court Disposals (OOCD). This is a project in collaboration with UK Police Forces, and focusing on reducing small crime and prioritising the public interest by handling small crime cases outside of a courtroom. This is currently a mix of a paper and digital process, and we are looking to digitise it from A to Z. This starts with a Proof of User Experience, which needs careful listening to our potential users: Police Officers.
This project started just before COVID-19, and was very much focused around in-person workshops and working groups, open roundtable discussions and quick face-to-face sparring. Being forced to transition this to online, things went smoother than expected. We were quickly able to set up video calls with both the Fujitsu team as well as the users, and started using available online tools more.
How did we do this?
Daily workflow: This remained the same, but now fully digital. Standups are happening online, and our retrospectives, planning and grooming are all happening over video calls with screen sharing as well.
The biggest change is probably the increased use of Jira and Confluence. We want to make sure discussions are captured and shared, and tasks are assigned to people to create more ownership in an environment where everyone is remote.
Feedback: For design feedback and interviews with users, we used tools like Abstract, Overflow and Whimsical. These tools allow for comments within the file, a single link that can be updated / changes merged into for easy sharing and the ability to collaborate on wireframes and user flows remotely. Slack was used much more as well, and we set up specific channels for individual teams, as well as groups for calling and direct messaging. This also helped to smoothen the transition from being colocated to fully digital.
In summary, it was a very quick and easy transition into working remotely. At Nodes we are already used to working across our European offices internally, and we are now doing more of the same with our clients. Of Course it never fully replaces face-to-face contact, but it does ensure work can keep going and we can continuously deliver value for the clients we work with. Core pillars of a successful collaboration like communication and transparency can still be maintained, even in a remote-only environment.