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It’s been a while since our last update here regarding our Speed Evidence Project.  There has been a lot going on, with the biggest news being that we now have a working information management portal.  By no means is it pretty or full of all the bells and whistles, but it works and we are excited by it!  It has also been great to share demonstrations of it with lots of people and organisations.  We have been stunned by the reaction of people so far, especially by people in other organisations, which have been far more positive at this point in the project than we ever dreamed of.

We’ve put together short user guides and videos to help explain the portal and how it works.  A video showing some of the features of the portal can be found here while a more static pdf version explaining similar features can be found here.

There a certainly things that we are learning and re-learning most of which relate to communication and change management:

  • We’ve learned “Speed Evidence” as a title is not very informative or helpful for people to understand what it does and/or how it fits into other systems.  We have found that using the language of information management is quite helpful in framing the role of the Speed Portal, especially when we explain the Speed Portal is a tool for the Information Manager (Perhaps at one point, we’ll need to have a competition for a better name…).
  • We learned too, that building a site with little organisational specific branding and terminology, is quite helpful in communicating with other agencies and seeing the possibilities of customisation for their own use.  This has been incredibly useful.
  • Keeping the user interface simple has been valuable for user understanding, uptake and interest, but has made some of the coding and site administration more complex.
  • We’ve learned that how we communicate the information management tool to our internal stakeholders needs to be quite different than with external stakeholders.  Internal stakeholders ask different questions and want to know how it fits with the existing systems and who will be responsible for maintaining it; while external stakeholders primarily want to know if they can use it and how it can be customised.
  • We’ve learned the agile development/project management process is not well understood by many people in our industry and too often is belittled.  At one point, someone told us that “we didn’t have a proper project plan”, which we found quite an interesting perception.

Up next for us, is to carry out as many tests of the system as we can fit in over the next few months.  We are in conversations about possible simulations – both internal and with other agencies, we’re hoping to use the portal in small one-country disaster response, and we will continue to conduct demonstrations and promote the portal at workshops and conferences.  We’re taking a short break from coding at the moment, so that together with users of the portal we can prioritise what features to building/improving.

Click here to read a blog from our Partner SMAP.

Click here to read blogs from our Partner Ushahidi.

Click here to read our project blog.

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