I want to get senior management buy-in

Getting senior management buy-in to this way of working is a crucial part of effective digital service delivery. To do this, firstly it’s important that people understand how the principles can help them to achieve their goals – for example reducing costs or getting better outcomes for service users.

We found that four of the principles are most useful in this process.

Start with user needs and keep them involved. Understanding users means that you can build a service that better addresses their needs. If it solves their problems in a way that works for them, it’s likely to get better uptake. That’s more likely to have the impact the organisation is hoping for.

Take small steps and learn as you go. Using agile methods over waterfall very often reduces costs and de-risks tech development as it avoids building things that you know you don’t need.

Collaborate and build partnerships. Building in time to understand how your service relates to what other charities are doing is helpful for senior managers to understand its role in the wider landscape.  

Build for sustainability. Every senior manager will be mindful of costs. Understanding the sustainability and costs of your service is an part of supporting senior management in their financial planning.

Your checklist

Start with user needs, and keep them involved
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  • I have researched directly with my user group to understand their needs from their perspective. This means understanding their behaviours, attitudes and needs. For example, I’ve conducted semi-structured interviews with users or undertaken or contextual research
  • I have a plan to continue to engage with my intended service users over time, such as conducting usability studies
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Things you might have:
  • User needs based on user research
  • Personas
  • Jobs to be done
  • A research plan for ongoing usability testing
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Tools you can use:
  • User needs – the Government Digital Service has great guidance on identifying and writing up user needs
  • 1:1 user research interviews – here’s a handy how-to for charities on NCVO
  • Personas – there’s lot of guidance on the web, this is a helpful overview on Personas
  • Jobs-to-be-done – this Harvard Business Review article a is useful introductory article, more practitioner-focused information can be found on these dedicated sites jtbd.info and jobstobedone.org  
  • Usability testing – Nielsen Norman group have many good resources like this introduction, Steve Krugg has published two very helpful introductory books
  • Contextual inquiry, or shadowing – there’s a good introduction here
  • Form software such as Typeform or Google Forms can be helpful for signing up users for research and gathering short bits of information
  • Acumen parted with IDEO.org to produce a free introductory course to human centred design – Acumen / IDEO Human-centred Design Course
Case studies

Youth Business International

See this principle in action
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Take small steps and learn as you go
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  • I and my team are accepting that my first plan will almost certainly not be the right one. The expectation that the nature of the service will shift over time has been communicated to senior sponsors
  • I have identified my key assumptions and have a plan to test them, for example through a MVP (Minimum Viable Product) or RAT (Riskiest Assumption Test)  
  • I know about, and am using techniques like agile or kanban to manage the development of the product or service
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Things you might have:
  • A good system for tracking your development process, e.g. a Trello Kanban board
  • Scheduled processes in the team’s diary, such as sprint planning meetings and sprint retrospectives
  • A way to track your assumptions, such as a Knowledge Kanban
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Tools you can use:
Case studies
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Collaborate and build partnerships
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  • I have identified other organisations who are working to deliver a similar service or social outcome to me
  • I have engaged with relevant organisation to minimise the amount of duplication
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Things you might have:
  • Map of other organisations working in this space
  • Meetings planned / taken place with other organisations
  • Understanding from a user’s perspective how the different organisations / services they engage with interact
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Tools you can use:
Case studies
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Build for sustainability
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  • I have mapped out the likely ongoing cost of the service depending on its growth. That includes future technical development, marketing and staff support costs
  • I have considered the lifecycle of the service, and when the service might need to change, or be retired. For example by considering it against the GDS stages of an agile project
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Things you might have:
  • An Agile roadmap and a rough budget based on required people and resource
  • An ethical revenue generation model, so you have the money to evolve the product
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Tools you can use:
Case studies

Breast Cancer Care

See this principle in action
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Other things you might want to consider:

These items are part of a larger overall Checklist for Charity members. Take a look at the whole collection here:

The Charity Checklist

See the Checklist

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