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This Thursday is BarcampNFP, and we’re going along to talk about doing digital properly. We’ve had lots of these conversations with digital teams recently. Last week, Lily went to a department to give an informal talk about how to build the best product for your users by starting with research and testing what you build. It went down really well. We’re always up for a chat and barcamps are a great non-hierarchical space to do it in.

Charities and Not For Profits sometimes get the short straw in terms of digital projects. A study published in Charity Digital News found that there were three big killers for digital projects in charities: money, buy-in from management and skills in the team. Sound familiar? Us too. We’ve seen these in every bit of the public sector that we’ve worked with.

Money

Money is tight everywhere, but doing a project with a bit of user research up front and using a properly agile methodology is a much more realistic and cost conscious way of building the right thing. Building evidence in from the starts lets you focus on user needs rather than organisational wants, and makes it much easier to stick to your budget. Too often, lack of evidence means the most important things don’t get built first, and teams end up having to magic up extra cash late in the day for an overrunning, feature-creep-filled site.

Management

Management buy-in can be difficult, which is why we advocate testing and building by results. Your team are not your users (most of the time anyway) and often don’t see the trouble with things as they stand. But evidence changes minds. We’ve seen this time and again. It also means that you can focus on building what you need, make your charitable proposition clearer and information for your service users more accessible.

Skills

Digital skills are what barcamps are all about. We’ve been part of all sorts of unconferences and bar camps (UKGovCamp, CommsCamp, TeaCamp, AgileTea) and seen the fantastic peer-to-peer learning that happens on the day when you get enthused people in the same room to share skills and experiences.

We’re proud to sponsor BarcampNFP, and we can’t wait to see what comes out of the sessions.

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