Just 10 days before lockdown began in March 2020, I joined the NHS Digital service manual team as a Product and Delivery Management Graduate. I had an expectation that I would only be working on the NHS digital service manual, with the opportunity to take the time to learn about it and develop my skills.
Instead, I was thrown in at the deep end and tasked with helping to design crucial digital services to help with the COVID-19 response, such as the coronavirus antigen testing service for the public on the NHS website.
Delivering projects at a pace I’m not used to and working with teams I hadn’t known for very long has been both challenging and rewarding. Being a product manager, and as someone new to building these services, the service manual was a crucial resource to help me understand all the tools the team uses to build consistent and accessible services.
The pandemic was not on a roadmap. We could not plan for resources, anticipate user needs or have the privilege of time to plan and build products and services in response to it.
The projects I have been involved with have been delivered at pace but have always complied with the design principles. I was able to see the benefit of using prototypes, built quickly using the prototype kit, to test the service with users. I also had the opportunity to be involved with some of the user research interviews which helped me understand the importance of good content design and good interaction design.
Playing a part in the response to the coronavirus pandemic has enabled me to see first-hand some of the amazing work that has been produced in such short periods of time. It has made me incredibly proud to work for NHS Digital.