Rapidly delivering drought, bushfire and Covid-19 crisis support to NSW citizens
How Service NSW delivered nine digital products to meet 150,000 citizens’ needs
About our client
Our client is a State Government Agency that offers frontline customer services on behalf of various government agencies.
Our client faced several unexpected crises that occurred in rapid succession of one another, all affecting the citizens of NSW. These crises included drought, bushfires, and the onset of COVID-19.
To effectively meet citizens’ needs and give support when required, digital products had to be developed and taken to market quickly.
How do we rapidly deliver initiatives while effectively addressing the core needs of citizens?
How can we remain responsive whilst the environment is rapidly changing?
With an already growing backlog of work, the Agency faced a new requirement to support citizens affected by long-running droughts within NSW.
Hypothesis was initially engaged to support the end-to-end delivery of a drought support initiative and then continued to support the Agency, leveraging the work being done, through bushfire season, and later the onset of COVID-19.
The team included two Product Designers, four Full Stack Engineers, and a Product Manager who worked flexibly between being an independent team and complementing the Agency’s existing teams of Engineers and Designers.
Leveraging a Human Centred Design mindset, the team was heavily focused on delivering high impact products to market that met the needs of those going through difficulty. With each product, the Hypothesis team engaged directly with citizens who had been impacted and provided support to get a clear picture of the pain points being faced.
Time played a significant role in the delivery process, with tight timelines of weeks and sometimes even days, which required the adoption of dual-track delivery. In this manner, design and discovery worked in parallel with delivery to create an environment where the team could continue to learn and be adaptive and responsive to new insights throughout the whole delivery cycle.
Throughout the engagement, the team delivered nine separate products, including:
- Application processing for a grant for those affected by droughts
- Two different tools providing impacted citizens of bushfires and COVID-19 access to tailored information to guide their recovery
- Digitising applications for a service centre transaction impacting those most at risk of COVID-19
- Online application for housing support for international students in need
Analytics from each product continued to be tracked after go-live to enable the implementation of any improvements or optimisations discovered through production use.
General: Angular, React, Java, Spring
AWS: EC2, S3, RDS
Over nine months, nine digital products were delivered to market, reaching around 150,000 users.
The range of products supported users in various ways, including providing access to information and grants in times of need and digitally enabling transactions to allow people to continue to transact with the government without physical attendance at an office or service centre.
While it commenced as a three-month engagement focused on delivering a specific product, it quickly extended to support the discovery and delivery of high impact products through a time of need.
Key success measures
The critical success of this engagement was the team’s ability to continually shift context to adapt to the extremely dynamic nature of unfolding crises. Being able to move from discovery and delivery in one domain successfully and then within weeks attack a different problem was a triumph.
We delivered products that aided citizens throughout three separate crises – droughts, bushfires, and COVID-19.
The products’ reach extended to those most at need, including rural NSW citizens and the elderly. Those in a market segment typically known for not being tech-savvy, were able to easily engage with the digital products, proving their desirability and usability.