Case study - BT – TV Everywhere
Technical product management, strategy and planning of a new digital product
As another collaboration with Ostmodern, I worked on the planning and strategy of a project for BT, based around a new and rather secret product that they were to launch – TV Everywhere.
Ostmodern were providing all UX, design, and strategic services, with front- and back-end development planned to be done in-house by BT. There was a considerable impact on infrastructure due to the wide-reaching, cross-platform nature of the project – the concept was to span all kinds of devices, PCs, set top boxes, and had plans for the future that also needed to be factored into our work.
My role was as Product Manager within the Ostmodern team, working as a liaison between the client’s business needs, their technical teams, and the Ostmodern design and UX teams. My work involved the following:
- Investigation of BT systems including content management, scheduling, editorial, recommendations engine, and APIs such as YouView.
- Mapping of data from these systems to component and page layouts, and provision of technical annotations around UX deliverables.
- Recommendations/specifications for improvements to these systems based on desired functionality – challenging internal teams to improve areas that were found to be lacking after assessment.
- Working to help liaise with third party providers such as Bebanjo.
- Definition, management of, and development work to create working HTML prototypes for user testing.
- Participation in lab-based user testing.
- Define and lead documentation processes.
- Twice-weekly workshops with the BT team to explore ideas and work with their internal teams.
- Definition of initial scope, and Ostmodern work sprint plans. Ran daily stand-up meetings.
The project itself involved a new proposition for the BT TV services in the form of TV Everywhere. Over the last few years BT had created an ecosystem of assorted apps, websites, and customer offerings, but this project was intended to do something very different.
The concept involved creating a new entity to be able to support the watching of TV from many sources and channels (live, TV on demand, subscription) across all kinds of viewing platforms. It involved an entirely new brand and strategy, a responsive design process, and extensive documentation and communication to convey information through the BT processes to their development teams. Our work needed to consider both a responsive website, supporting native apps for iOS and Android, plus a tie-in with BT’s set top box. There were also plans to extend consumption methods wider in the future.
Several user testing sessions were built into the work being done in order to validate both the proposition itself as well as the work being created. Initially an Axure prototype was created, but I worked to scope, manage, and help the lead developer with the coding of an AngularJS HTML-based prototype which was created for the second session. Using an HTML prototype was much more time effective, and gave a better representation of the end product’s responsive nature than the version in Axure.
Software and processes
The Ost team held daily stand-ups, and managed the work through sprints intended to overlap with the start of the in-house team’s development work. There were twice-weekly meetings (often more) with the BT team, from senior stakeholders and decision makers, to their UX and dev teams. As the project included teams all around the country, often these meetings involved a mixture of face to face discussion and screen sharing with remote participants.
The project was run using Google Drive and Trello, with code held within a GitHub repo and documentation done through BT’s Confluence system.
Using a wiki for documentation was new to both BT and Ostmodern, and I helped to establish the structure and features that were relevant, as well as giving sessions to explain how it all worked. Within the documentation, information was broken down into ‘atomic’ components, which were detailed individually and related through to the high-level templates and pages that contained them. This was intended to aid the communication with the development teams – they could build the individual components rather than being provided with complex full page layouts.
Our prototype used AngularJS, Sass, and Grunt, and Axure was also used by the UX team. Design was done in Fireworks.