Delivering remote sprints with BGX

  • Alexandria Evans

How the Accelerator Hub ran a remote family friendly sprint during lockdown

The Centrica Accelerator Hub was approached by the British Gas X team to look at how we could work with them to design, prototype and test a new meter read journey that incentivised and promoted good customer behaviour.

The team assembled with some ideas about how this might be achieved. So, a Design Sprint seemed to be the best way to test out these assumptions and theories. The sprint is a five-day process for answering critical business questions through designing, prototyping, and testing ideas with customers. Developed at Google Ventures, it’s a “greatest hits” of business strategy, innovation, behaviour science, design thinking, and more—packaged into a battle-tested process that any team can use. It’s important to note that the aim is to build and test a façade rather than a final product.

Traditionally we’d run all our workshops in a big meeting room at the office, but with the outbreak of COVID-19 we had the opportunity to transition to running these sessions remotely and with a twist. Normally we’d run the whole week with all members of the team contributing every day, but due to more people than ever working from home and the pressures that brings, we reduced the time commitment from the team. We also felt it was the perfect opportunity to test the legs of some new technologies.

On Monday we ‘asked the experts’ and got answers to questions and assumptions that we had. During the interviews, the team were taking notes. These notes were then reframed as questions beginning with ‘how might we’ and organised into emerging common themes that we could vote on in order to give the sprint a focus.

Now with an understanding of the problems and where we wanted to head, we set ourselves a goal.
The rest of the day was taken up with ‘mapping the challenge’, lightening demos and four-step sketching.

On Tuesday we reviewed the sketches from the previous day. All team members evaluated the ideas and created a heat map of desirable features. The team then voted on a ‘winning idea’ and other elements that stood out. The final exercise was for each team member to put together a 6-step user flow (storyboard). We voted on our preferred flow and this formed the basis of our prototype.

Wednesday, it’s time to build the prototype. I’d never properly used Figma before. I’d only ‘played’ with it. As the BGX team use it day to day I thought it was the perfect opportunity to test the legs of it. I have to say, I love it, wow! I honestly don’t think I’d want to use anything else going forward. Sketch does have its benefits, but I am seriously impressed with Figma and its all-in-oneness.

With the prototype reviewed and ready to go, we rounded off the sprint week user testing our prototype with five participants. Again, this is something as a team we haven’t had to do remotely before as we have a lovely shiny lab in the office. But needless to say, it all went off without a hitch. As the sessions were remote, we set up a separate observation day on the Friday. The user testing sessions provided some great additional insight to and have provided further direction going forward.

I’ll be honest, there were doubts and concerns that we wouldn’t pull off a remote sprint, but we did, and it was a huge success.