product development without use

OverviewProgram DevelopmentPolicy Development

With the proliferation of technology products to streamline public processes, the government should have rules (legislative or other) in place to guide creation of products and to ensure their useage. The policies which outline these rules can take into consideration the following steps.

Establish preconditions for beginning creation of the product.

  • Preconditions can include things like: defining the problem to be resolved; engaging in a feasibility study (including a cost-benefit analysis); examining existing and required new legislation; assessing strategy documents compliance; exploring alternate solutions; identifying similar products; and engaging in public consultation.
  • Preconditions should aim to ensure that there is sufficient need for the product, that the right populations are consulted, and that there are factors in place to ensure appropriate uptake of the product.

Think carefully about development processes and requirements.

  • Instead of insisting on in-house development, consider the benefits of hiring (through proper public procurement procedures) a professional, a company, or an organization with relevant experience in order to develop the product that would be appealing, functional, user-friendly, easy-to-use and in-line with current web standards.
  • Regardless of who will do development, create a set of indicators, result reports, tests, and benchmarks. In these, incorporate selected users and diverse target groups in order to get input from different perspectives.
  • As development continues, create a promotional strategy by talking to early bird users and by browsing traditional media, blogs, and social media.

Strategically launch and promote the product.

  • Launch the product carefully by using information campaigns and presence on social networks to go where the people are. Once you’ve identified these places, inform them about the platform or product and why it should appeal to them.
  • Make sure you provide support for users, including clear instructions, FAQs and help sections, and tutorials for the product’s functionalities.
Case Study: In Macedonia, in order to standardise what was an ad-hoc consultation process, the Ministry of Information Society and Administration (MISA) introduced an online platform (ENER) for public consultation on draft legislations, legal frameworks, and technological solutions. Before and during initial implementation, MISA conducted consultations, provided training for civil servants and stakeholders, opened a space to publish monitoring reports from NGOs, and built relevant regulatory frameworks to enable a successful product launch. In 2014, over 60,000 individuals commented on new legislation proposals, up from 30,000 in 2013.

Ensure the sustainability of the platform.

  • Sustainability is key to overall success, and there are many steps you can take to build towards it. Consider conducting a user survey and product testing, and respond to the survey results that arise. Ensure further development and improvement by doing regular updates, also taking into account survey results.
  • Provide a continuous and efficient administration for any portal that you might implement (particularly those that require human facilitation).
  • As appropriate, consider using other channels (Twitter, Facebook, whatever is widely used in your particular country) to start and conduct discussions and advance the way that the platform is used.