Project Tracking Tool

Research Plan

I. Research Goals

  1. Gain insight into the broad project tracking/portfolio management practices and needs across City departments.
  2. Identify and gain insight into the detailed needs of a subset of City departments that would benefit most from a new project tracking/portfolio management solution.
  3. Gain insight into the type of information departments want to share with residents and other City departments.
  4. Gain insight into the knowledge residents and City staff want to gain regarding City projects.
  5. Gain insight into how users want to interact with information provided in a project tracking tool.
  6. Gain insight into the level of interest residents and City staff have to engage with City projects.
  7. Gain insight into the user experience of existing “Smart” and open government project tracking tools.
  8. Form design implications based on insights to guide the prototype and test phase of the project.

II. Exploration Questions

  1. Fieldwork
  1. Project information consumers
  1. What do residents and City staff want to know about City projects?
  2. What level of interest do residents and City staff have to engage with City projects?
  3. What level of interaction do residents and City staff expect from a project tracking tool?
  4. What would make residents and City staff want to use a project tracking tool?
  5. How might we create meaningful opportunities for residents and City staff to engage with and collaborate on other City projects?
  1. Project information producers
  1. How do City staff collect and report project information?
  2. What information do City Staff collect and report on for projects?
  3. What information can’t be collected or shared (due to feasibility, security, etc.)?
  4. What information do City departments need to communicate about their projects?
  5. What value might City staff see from contributing and updating information about their projects?
  1. Both
  1. How should we decide what projects to publish?
  2. What information should we publish?
  3. If we want to make the project tracking tool sustainable for information producers and consumers, what does sustainable mean to residents and City staff?
  4. What other programs/initiatives does this effort implicate/touch/depend on that we need to take into consideration?
  5. What is the biggest value you see the project tracking tool bringing?
  6. What would make you not want to use the project tracking tool?
  7. What works/doesn’t work well with existing “smart” and open government portfolio management tools?

  1. Data Collection
  1. What project tracking tools and project management systems currently exist at the City?
  2. How many “smart” and open government projects are active, planned or completed at the City of Austin?

III. Target Audiences

  1. Primary Audiences
  1. Information consumers:
  1. “Community liaisons”: people closely involved in civic activities with some knowledge of City programs/projects
  2. “Emerging activists”: people engaged in an issue or set of civic issues they care about, but not as knowledgeable about what role the City plays in these issues
  3. City staff stakeholders: City staff that want to connect projects across departmental lines
  1. Information producers: City staff performing project management/reporting, including decision makers, implementers

  1. Secondary Audiences
  1. City staff that are project stakeholders but do not perform project management/reporting
  2. Other Cities that want to see what Austin is doing

Audiences for future research: We’ve prioritized the above users for this project because of their role as “super users” of city information. We’ve also identified the following personas that are important to serve with project information. Roadmapping at the end of this project will include plans for designing for the needs of these groups.

IV. Methods

  1. Desk Research (June 2017)  Get a lay of the land, a cursory understanding of portfolio management and project tracking

  1. City staff interviews (June 2017)

  1. Public information consumer interviews (July 2017)

Lists of potential interviewees here: 

V. Timeline 

VI. Diversity

For residents and City staff, we will recruit for a diversity of:

VII. Recruitment

  1. Community liaison and emerging activist recruitment will be done through social media and networks and community leaders.
  2. City Staff recruitment will be done through professional networks, existing project portfolio contact lists, department directors and CitySource.

VIII.  Deliverables

  1. Research plan
  2. Interview guide
  3. Review of existing resources
  4. Competitive Analysis
  5. Research artifacts
  6. Insights document
  7. Insights share-out session