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HCD Foundations and Frameworks Journey Mapping

CX in Congress

Undertaking the work to improve customer experience in Congress has been a career dream come true. I couldn’t think of a process and mission as critical as transforming the posture of the House of Representatives to become more customer-centric. I have the privilege of working with dedicated and passionate public servants who have a vision to transform the legislative processes to become more customer centric. Supporting their customers is supporting those who are tasked and elected to uphold the processes of lawmaking. A process mired by challenges from legacy systems, antiquated traditions, and the quirks of “business as usual,” from stakeholders who have an 18 month appointment at a time (including times away for fundraising, elections, and recesses to their home districts.)

One of the biggest challenges is the politics of it all. Thankfully, building coalitions with members of congress and this bi-partisan Select Committee on the Modernization of Congress has been an incredible force. Still, it requires a lot of navigating political tensions and nuances that are unlike the executive branch work I’m used to.

This is an on-going project so I’ll share what I know is safe to. Some of the work may have been cropped or obscured slightly to protect the work being done currently.

1. We made very basic user personas on HOLC and Congressional Committees, and their staff to get people acquainted with user centered design.

2. We invited drafters and other stakeholders to come learn about human centered design.

We wanted to start off the project with a call to action. We familiarized them with concepts, terminology, and principles of human centered design and CX.
I made a simple graphic to depict that CX is different from UX. That we want to shift our efforts to understanding the entire journey of legislative actions.
And that the shift was much more than an issue of how a website or tool might look. Its changing the measure of success.

3. Then we began mapping everything we could.

Kirsten G. and I are looking at the flow of how a bill becomes law (from a technology perspective!) She is a brilliant maverick of legislative processes and computer systems.

3 1/2: We determined pain points in the journey to invest early on.

This is a simplified version of what a Congressman’s journey might look like. The version we use has a bit more details about the systems.

We mapped a very comprehensive journey map of all of the touch points of the way a bill goes through the drafting process and into the Hopper for submission to the Floor for voting. This hasn’t quite been done, but it was worth the investment we made. It’s referenced at every decision making step.

4. We involved users wherever and whenever possible to ensure that they stay engaged & interested in the product and process.

We involved users from HOLC to host a “Naming Party,” to help us think of names for the product and it’s outputs.
The invitation to entice our very busy drafters.

5. We developed the product in agile, based on requirements confirmed by users.

We adjusted scope and features that were planned to reflect more of what the users felt were useful to them while still remaining compliant to the contract and the overall user goal of the product, rather than fickle requirements that might not apply.

6. We continue to meet with stakeholders to reimagine the experiences of the process.

Getting a regular time block together between HOLC and the Clerk’s Office is a miracle we don’t take for granted. I feel incredibly lucky that I get to work with these phenomenal leaders.

And there is usually cookies involved.

Press on the project:

www.thinkofcharlotte.com/presspublication