Light Collection Management

Background:

 

"System A" is one of our main products. It’s a collection management system that allows our users (museums and cultural institutions) to capture, manage and access their collection information. "System A" supports daily activities such as cataloguing, media tracking, and coordinating exhibitions. Collection information is divided into ten integrated modules, or record types: Objects, Constituents, Media, Exhibitions, Loans, Shipping, Bibliography, Events, Sites and Insurance. The application comes with multiple search and viewing options, reporting features and customizable thesaurus. Even though "System A" is highly configurable to accommodate different collection types, it’s customary for our clients to have us modify the application with features and workflows specific to their business. The application had been around for more than 20 years and over this time features had been added and nothing taken away, therefore there is a high learning curve to master the system. In order to sustain a competitive edge and catch up with the newest technologies, we feel compelled to create a new web-based system.

 

A project of such scale would take up a lot of time and resources. Meanwhile, we decided to provide a migration path and create "System B" - a light collection management system that will work in conjunction with "System A". The things that we will learn during this process will serve as basis of a completely new "System A".



1. State the problem you are solving

 

Our users want a light web-based system that will work in conjunction with our full desktop application to complete quickly and on the go a narrow set of tasks that don’t require the full functionality of the desktop application.

 

2. Declare assumptions about your problem and customers


    • There are two types of "System A" users: power users and light users

    • There is a sufficient number of current and potential light users to justify the development cost.

    • Light users use only a small subset of "System A" functionality

  • this subset is fairly similar from one institution to another

  • the light users want to use the light web-based version of "System A" on variety of devices (desktop, laptop and tablets), and currently have or wiling to purchase touch devices.
  • Cultural institutions will pay for a web-based system that will allow them to involve current light "System A" users and other contributors of collection information who don’t use our system at all (scholars, some curators, some interns) in cataloging process, while eliminating the hassle of having to install desktop application and master an extensive feature set.


3. Your riskies assumption.

 

I am a little bit confused about this part. Of course if there are no light users, the whole hypothesis falls apart. However even power users might opt out to complete their light tasks using a faster and more efficient system. Also, I am really concerned that it would be not possible to gage simplicity vs. complexity of the tasks performed as workflows vary greatly from one institution to another, and the subset of "System A" functionality used can vary greatly as well. Where do I start?



4. Draft MVP you will test

 

I already created mockups for a layout and navigation framework, along with the design of some controls, but I think at this point I could use a survey.

 

Survey questions:


  • How many people at your institution would you consider "System A" power users? What tasks do they perform in "System A"? How frequently do they perform each specific task? What skills do they posses that allows you to place them in that category?

  • How many people at your institution would you consider light "System A" users? What tasks do they perform in "System A"? How frequently do the perform these tasks? What skills/training do they lack to become power users?

  • How many people at your institution contribute information that gets entered into "System A" and who never or almost never use "System A"? Please describe the type of information they contribute, their role at your institution and how frequently they contribute information.


5. Determine the measurement and goals for the MVP

 

Number of light users - over 700 (should I send it out to all of our clients or only subset?)

90% of light users tasks have to be the same/similar

the subset of tasks should reflect about 15% of current "System A" functionality (not sure how to measure this metric)

 

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