The Action Workshop: the ongoing cycle of improvement
We believe in continual improvement as a paradigm for developing your business. We suggest that the Action Workshop is the heartbeat in this ongoing cycle of improvement. Run Task Analytics, gather the right people, look at the numbers, build hypotheses and implement. Start over.
Here is an intro to how to run the Action Workshop. The Action Workshop is also referred to as the “Results Workshop”.
- At least one person needs to get familiar with the analysis to be able to brief the rest of the group. Which measures to adopt is not necessary to work out before the workshop. This is the purpose of the workshop.
- Option: If you are a passionate number cruncher, retrieve raw data from Task Analytics and analyze in excel to play around with the insights.
- Option: Prepare some additional slides to speed up the groups common understanding of the insights, allowing more time for discussion on hypotheses and actions to prioritise.
- Time requirement: Preparing the workshop requires on average 2-4 hrs. Prepare participants to set aside 2 hrs for the workshop itself.
- Make a spreadsheet with the following columns:
- Task name
- Priority (1: high, 2: medium, 3: low)
- Estimate (cost or hours)
- Date to implement
There is no such thing as a free lunch. There is no easy-to-use methods who will automatically generate suited actions for you. Competence and experience is all that counts, and it’s crucial that different competence is represented in the group. Consider this competence to be present:
- Technical insight (IT department, technical provider, web agency).
- Content creation (text writers, photographers).
- Knowledge about organization, product and business goals (managers, CEO).
- Knowledge about the users/clients/customers. Consider both the market perspective and the customer support perspective
- UX/Universal Design (web agency, in-house UX-designers).
- Knowledge about brandbook/graphic design (graphical designer).
You also need a decision maker present. Don’t waste time on working out measures that never will be adopted.
Recommended content to cover
Some of this content is easy to cover by just viewing the analytics dashboard. For some content it is more efficient to prepare some additional slides in advance:
- Survey overview (time period, responses, response rate, completion rate
- User task demands
- Completion rates
- Insights into top tasks & selected single task studies
- Insights into Audiences.
- Benchmarking data w/industry competitors or similar organizations?
- Actions and matters to prioritize
- Make sure everyone can take notes during the workshop. Ideas arise when you are introduced to the analysis and listen to others speaking. A group discussion based on the numbers is what you want to achieve.
- The action hero presents the analysis by use of the analytics dashboard, optionally in combination with prepared slides, and helps the group to understand the challenges your organization is facing. If you need an intro to how you can read the analysis, read our article on how to Twist and turn your data.
- Selected single task studies: Select one by one task to work on. Several reasons for this:
- To keep focus
- You can verify that the measures you adopted correlates to the findings in your analysis.
- An overview birds eye view first makes it easy to qualify and select what task you should look into more in-depth and prioritize: Good reasons for drilling down can be: High demand (top tasks), low completion rate (user problems), task critical to organization
- Evaluate the results against other sources of insights
- Do the numbers make sense?
- Is it possible to find explanations for results from other sources?
- Share, discuss and build hypotheses. Suggestions for discussion:
- Which disciplines are affected? For instance; “most users are not able to do this task because they don’t understand the information”. It’s content related.
- Look at relevant comments from users and evaluate together.
- If you have previous analysis, talk about progression and the effects of previous actions.
- How do different target groups perform on completing the task? What about the demand rate according to target groups?
- Fill out the spreadsheet together. Let one person do the typing on a big screen or use a concurrent typing tool like Google Docs.
Useful principles for a fruitful workshop:
- The purpose of the schemas is basically to encourage people to think for themselves before they hear the suggestions from the others. Make time for everyone to think before conversing.
- Do not conclude too early. It kills the conversation. Especially people in high positions should be careful with this.
- Expanding on negative results can stir a positive response as it gives the power internally to convince that something needs to be done.
- Don't neglect discoveries that may seem “boring” - they may be very interesting to one or more participants/departments.
- Help everyone to present their point of view. One person can have this responsibility.
- If there is a boring consensus, give the role of devil’s advocate to one person; pretending he/she has the opposite opinion. Be provocative to avoid group-think and test unqualified opinions with the data available.
- Try to bring in the analysis during the conversation. It will keep the conversation on track.
- Look out for “low hanging fruits”. Actions that most probably will have a positive effect, is easy to carry out and is not resource demanding. Typical actions are “Change the name on menu item”, “Remove unnecessary text to give other text more focus”.
- Whenever the user responses on demand and completion are not giving you enough answers, you can go deeper. Look into behavioral analysis (like Google Analytics) and/or usability testing. In Task Analytics we feed the behavioral analytics tool with data so we can look at the relation; what the users intended to do and what they actually did.
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