PIDZ – Improving the existing web application, mijnPIDZ, on a daily basis together with the development team of Smiling Gents.

Being part of the scrum team at Smiling Gents

Project

PIDZ web application

Client

PIDZ – Met Zorg Verbonden

Type

Scrum team collaboration

Tasks

User Research, Concept, Interaction Design, Visual Design, Scrum Master
When I started at Smiling Gents/PIDZ, I arrived in a team without UX design and front-end knowledge. It was a small team of three developers who were working closely together with the organization on the web application. This application provided freelancers from the healthcare industry, healthcare organizations and the back office of PIDZ the possibility to find the right match. All focussed on ensuring that healthcare is given in the right way by the right people.

The hitch

Working at the mijnPIDZ web application brought some hitches. The first thing was a constantly growing and changing development team. Secondly, there was no extensive front-end development knowledge, which made that I as a designer sometimes had to find other solutions for problems since it took too much time to fix it in a certain way. The last challenge was the exponential growth of the userbase. This resulted in challenges for the architecture but also in challenges around how the system behaves and the interaction with a bigger amount of users and assignments.

Step 1

Getting to know the organization and development team

Getting to know each other is, in my opinion, one of the most important things to do when you get into an organization as a UX designer. That’s why I first invested time in getting to know the people, organization, and the market in which PIDZ is involved. It helps in why decisions are made and in what kind of context the current application is built.

Step 2

User Research

Since there was no research conducted yet, I needed to figure out what the most important needs of the user groups of PIDZ were. Therefore I started my first period with extensive research. I created a survey based on the SUPR-Q questionnaire so we actually got valuable results on the improvement of the user experience. The survey brought a lot of quantitative data since 189 freelancers, 43 healthcare organizations, and 11 back office employees filled out the survey. Subsequently, I conducted several in-depth interviews to further explore why the survey showed the results.

The most important take-away of the research was a lack of focus on the smartphone by the development team. Most of the freelancers used PIDZ quite often on their smartphone while the web application wasn’t optimized for the smaller screen sizes. Moreover, the PIDZ smartphone app didn’t have all features so the users always had to go to the web application. This is why we directly started on a new project to improve the PIDZ smartphone app.

Insight Cards User Research PIDZ app
Insight Cards User Research PIDZ app
PIDZ development team
PIDZ development team 3
PIDZ development team 2

Step 3

Sharing research results

The above-mentioned research had to be shared within the organization. Therefore, I scheduled two lunch and learn sessions for which all employees of the organization were invited. During the sessions, I shared the results of the research but also how the research was conducted. This resulted in lots of questions since the employees were very curious about the details and how they can apply the insights.

Besides the lunch and learns, I created Insight Cards so the results were easily usable during workshops, development and other meetings.

PIDZ-Research-Presentatie

Step 4

From research results to user stories

After the research phase, it was now time to get to the solution phase. Together with the product owner, we got the right prioritization of the found insights. Subsequently, the development team got involved to come up with suitable solutions for the most important findings. Together we managed to get ideas on paper and divided the solution into small blocks. We started with some flow diagrams to get all scenario’s right. Next up, an MVP solution so we could bring it live as soon as possible.

Flow diagram - Invoice email

Step 5

Constantly growing user base

While working on the web application mijnPIDZ, we experienced exponential growth of the user base. Each month hundreds of new users made use of the application. This resulted in several difficulties since the growth of users went hand in hand with a growth in assignments. This made that earlier designed parts of the application didn’t work anymore. Think of finding the right match within the application. The overview of available freelancers was designed for a smaller group of freelancers while we now sometimes had to show 100+ freelancers in the overview. Time for some redesign but also a new front-end framework so we could develop a lot faster. At the moment, the development team at PIDZ is working hard to finalize the new front-end.

Development Team at PIDZ
Development Team at PIDZ 2
Development Team at PIDZ 3

Step 6

Growing the scrum team

Inline with the growth of the user base and the company PIDZ, also the scrum team had to grow to ensure the stability of the web application. While I was working at PIDZ the team grew from 3 to 9 people. We just started with one person who was product owner, scrum master and team lead. But after a while, we discovered that this wasn’t the way to go. Therefore, we decided to split the product owner, scrum master and team lead role. Since that moment I was the new scrum master of the team, an awesome role to have since you can guide and coach the scrum team towards a fantastic sprint each time. Besides the changing roles, also the work processes changed each time the team got a new member. Very interesting to discover how fast a team can adapt based on the ongoing changes within the environment.

The end result and ongoing improvements

The end result of working at mijnPIDZ together with the scrum team isn’t that tangible. We worked on so many user stories so the web application improved each sprint. Nevertheless, there are some important milestones which are worth mentioning.

First of all, the organization became more user-focussed by involving the complete organization in user research and giving them some hands-on design thinking tools.

Moreover, the scrum team experienced the value of constantly improving their way of working but also the value of constantly itterating on the existing web application. Together we managed to grow the team from three to nine people.

Finally, some important development decisions were made. Needed to ensure the application keeps working fine while the userbase was growing exponentially. We decided to split the front- and back-end. Build a completely new front-end in components so it is easily scallable and build an API-first back-end so it is easier to build other applications within the ecosystem of PIDZ, as for example, the new PIDZ smartphone app.

In conclusion, the most important thing I, as UX designer, learned at PIDZ is how to change your design process so it fits the need of the organization.

MijnPIDZ Webapplication
MijnPIDZ Webapplication
MijnPIDZ Webapplication