In 2016, Mobility Labs was approached to assist The World Bank in creating the user experience and user interface design for an online, project based learning game – Evoke. When Mobility Labs began their contract with The World Bank, project milestones loomed as The World Bank struggled to organize a fleet of resources towards a united goal. Mobility Labs’ lead the fractured teams through a Strategy Alignment Day that produced a unified vision for the project with clear requirements and realistic expectations for Evoke.
Mobility Labs’ success in this Strategy Alignment Day service, is part of their greater process to change the way in which contractors and stakeholders work together. This allows Mobility Labs to bring order to disorganization and to create clear roadmaps for projects and products to follow, allowing all teams greater visibility into how their digital products and projects can be used to further their mission, campaign or business.
A single, united project plan that established clear milestones, priority and technical requirements that all teams worked from to improve efficiency. An improved communication strategy to support Agile/SCRUM practices in the multi-team workflow. Collaborative designs that surfaced hidden requirements for the critical workflow and interaction points within Evoke.
Prior to employing Mobility Labs, The World Bank utilized a mix of in-house and dispersed designers and contract agents supplying technical and design expertise towards the Evoke project. Because of the dispersed organization of resources, The World Bank’s Evoke project faced significant challenges.
In short, it was difficult to assess what was needed for the project when key requirements had not yet been defined. With development, clear requirements and interaction details are critical into translating end-user and business needs clearly into the growing application. By understanding not only the minutia of individual feature requests, but the big pictures of the application – developers are better able to plan the architecture of the application to provide the best experience for the user and company.
In approaching the abundance of features and needs from The World Bank, Mobility Labs lead a Strategy Alignment Day meeting with the end goal of combining the many documents containing features, design ideasand timelines into one unified master project plan.
By analyzing existing functionality and diving to the root of The World Bank’s user needs, Mobility Labs was able to create a roadmap of features complete with work effort estimates to be used by all teams for planning and development.
By creating clear sprint timelines based on average velocity, Mobility Labs was able to give realistic boundaries based on proven results for stakeholders to better dictate priority and task importance.
This allowed the stakeholders an opportunity to surface clear expectations to higher-level executives, partnering organizations and other team members that was based on realistic expectations for improved planning, budgeting and management.
Mobility Labs’ core practices are rooted in proven development methodology built around the idea of digesting and translating high-level needs or wants into technical documentation.
This transition and pivot point is critical to the project’s success as it allows the design and development team to accomplish more within the milestone timelines. Approaching problems with a diverse background that is supported by fundamental teachings in the field allow Mobility Labs the unique perspective into the best methods for bringing order to chaotic features.
The expression time is money takes a very literal form with web development projects. Every hour the development or design team spends on one task, is an hour they do not spend on another.
The complexity of these choices can sink projects if teams are unable to unite behind clear milestone markers for tasks within those milestones as well as an understanding for tasks that fall outside of those boundaries.
Once Mobility Labs had created a master, high-level task list with development estimates – they were able to work backwards from The World Bank’s timelines to surface risks, conflicts or critical decision points.
By highlighting the weeks remaining in clearly defined ‘Sprints’ of work – the entire team was able to discuss and decide which tasks would be left out of the first deliverable marker and which tasks would be given priority to deliver the optimum user experience.
Creating a clear communication process and deliverable expectation schedule gave the teams a clear measuring stick to evaluate the success of this new process. Because of the clear meeting expectations set ahead of time, Mobility Labs was able to deliver edits to their work in less than 24 hours and ahead of schedule for the project milestones.
Mobility Labs’ mentality is to help stakeholders make decisions…not make the decisions for the stakeholders. Business leaders know what’s best for their company and Mobility Labs aims to surface risks, timelines and considerations in such a way that allows team leaders to more effectively lead their teams and plan for their future projects.
Documentation is often considered an afterthought in technical projects, but without it – teams can feel powerless to solve problems on their own and are often forced to have repeat meetings and conversations to discuss issues or processes. Conversely, some teams go to the opposite extreme, and have excessive documentation that proves difficult to digest and navigate.
At The World Bank, documentation was abound but the teams lacked a central repository for the direction of the features, timelines and milestones which led to misunderstandings and miscommunications.
Because of the ‘assembly-line’ nature of development, some digital projects can bottleneck if clear communication and direction is not present. Mobility Labs focused on solving this problem by unifying all teams involved behind a common set of tasks and timelines and establishing a regular communication process that did not impeded on the team’s ability to work.
Establishing a weekly deliverable schedule complete with ‘Demo Days’, feedback sessions and prioritization meetings allowed all teams to plan their weeks based on solid expectations and better prepare for their next tasks.
Unifying the project plan into a master plan allowed the development, design, research and content teams the ability to better plan how to work together to accomplish the goals set for the week, month and project end date.
By creating a streamlined process for all contract agents (including those working with The World Bank outside of Mobility Labs), it allowed the project goals to supercede the needs of the individual operations to provide a better unified development effort and complete more work in the same amount of time.
Mobility Labs focuses on Lean Development models that translate into lean documentation and project management. Creating straightforward documents that are constantly updated allows for a more consistent historical record to be kept of the project progress and a cleaner vision into the queue of remaining work.