How much time do client teams need to dedicate to a digital service discovery?

Helen Taylor

As the Lagom delivery manager, I will often get asked this by prospective and new discovery client teams.

This is an important question and one which is important to understand before embarking on a Discovery phase for a digital service.

The success of the Discovery is just as dependent on the client team ‘service owners’, as it is on us [the supplier].

Understandably, there is usually some anxiety around trying to fit their discovery commitments around their ‘day job’.

I tell them to expect to dedicate around 2-3 days per week during the inception / set up phase of the Discovery, and for this to drop to around 0.5-1.5 days per week once the Discovery is up and running.

Service owner activities and responsibilities in a (successful) Discovery

  • Help to reach potential user research participants

Although our user researchers handle the research participant recruitment, we still need our client partners to publicise the research to their mailing lists, social media followers, and networks.

  • Attend and participate in weekly project catch up calls

Weekly 30 minute catch up calls with the service owner/s are used to walk them through what we have done, are currently working on and what is coming up. As well as ad-hoc catch ups to deal with more pressing issues. 

  • Participate in stakeholder interviews and workshops

As the main driver of the project our service designer will really want to hear the service owner’s thoughts – usually during a 40-60 minute one-to-one interview at the start of the project. Our service designer may also need their support later in the project to help unblock any issues – usually in a 60-90 minute workshop. 

  • Conduct a service walkthrough for the discovery team

A 60-90 minute service walkthrough with the discovery team will set them up at the start of the discovery process. This is an important step for those projects which have an incumbent service. 

  • Identify and introduce key stakeholders for interview, workshops and show-and-tells

The service designer will work with the client partner at the kick-off to identify and prioritise key stakeholders to participate in interviews, attend workshops and attend show-and-tells. 

The service owner will work with the stakeholders, manage their  expectations throughout the discovery process and introduce the project and the team as required. 

  • Prioritise the user story backlog

About half way through the discovery the service designer and user researcher will walk the service owner through the identified user stories and ask them to prioritise them. This takes 1-2 hours. 

This prioritisation sets up the discovery team for the second half of the discovery process. 

  • Attend user research sessions

We feel very strongly about the service owner and wider service team  participating and observing the user researcher for themselves. 

There are many opportunities to attend user sessions throughout the discovery phase. For example, observation sessions (approx. 40 mins), co-design workshops (approx. 2 hours) and prototype feedback sessions (approx. 40 mins).

  • Attend findings and recommendations walkthroughs

Our user researchers and service designer will run walkthrough sessions with the service owner/s prior to show & tells with wider stakeholders. 

These sessions give service owners early sight of the findings and recommendations with the opportunity to critique the evidence.

  • Attend show & tells 

A typical Lagom Discovery project will have a midpoint show & tell, and a discovery handover show & tell. Both usually last around 2 hours. 

During these sessions the service owner/s may need to manage stakeholder expectations and answer questions directed to them.

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