Government Digital Service at the Agile Content Conference

Agile Content Conference

Together London’s Agile Content Conference in mid-January brought together six speakers looking at how Agile methods can be applied to content. There’s only one university (Liverpool) listed in the attendees of their events, but there’s great lessons here for higher education.

I only found out about the conference afterwards, but fortunately the organisers have made all the talks freely available online. After watching these talks I’ll certainly but looking to attend their next event in person (there’s a meetup in Shoreditch on 23 March 2015).

My two favourite talks both gave an insight to the work of the Government Digital Service. There’s no shortage of plaudits and coverage online of the success of GOV.UK. At the Agile Content Conference, Product Manager Lisa Scott and Head of User Research Leisa Reichelt provided inspirational insights into how large institutional web teams can overhaul the way they work and the way their users experience their websites.

Lisa’s talk (embedded below, but you’re better advised to watch it in the context of the original website) was ‘Embed content in agile teams by focusing on user needs’. Lisa packs a lot of lessons into 26 minutes, the key ones being start with user needs, build a multidisciplinary team, do the most important things first, publish early and respond quickly.

In ‘Show don’t tell – how to guide colleagues through the transition’, Leisa (again video is embedded below, but the original website has further links and context) discussed how to bring an organisation along with you. She stressed the importance of embedding regular user observation (not user testing!) in everyone’s workload, with a commitment for staff at all levels to spend a minimum of two hours every six weeks in user research sessions.

Watched together, both speakers give a clear impression of how professionally rewarding it is when an institution approaches digital content in this way. Inspiring stuff.



Web Manager for the College of Arts and Law at the University of Birmingham.

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