Catalyst
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Catalyst

Getting stuck in! VCAA Definition Week 3 Weeknotes

Creating a way for VCSE organisations and climate action groups to work together and share tools to combat the climate emergency. By VONNE.

Monday 1st March — Stand Up

We started the week with our first proper Stand Up and we were actually quite lucky in a way because when we went into breakout rooms, we ended up just having a one to one with our mentor. I know that there is value in being able to work through your process with more of a cohort, but I found this really helpful to decide how we were going to shape the project. Carol also used this time to suggest our mentor showed me how to use Excel for timelines in place of the Show and Tells we were going to have.

Key takeaway:

- Tone testing our content using an online survey alone will be more helpful because people might not be comfortable doing an observed test around this which would affect the answers.

Today was also the day I embraced open learning and posted my first set of week notes for the introductory 2 weeks.

Tuesday 2nd March — User Needs and Assumptions Workshop

I could rave about this workshop all day — understanding user needs are essential when trying to come up with a solution to any problem your users are facing. I came out of the workshop feeling quite confident I knew what a good user need looked like and I have used this to inform my research on deciding what we need to measure and what steps we need to take going forward. It is also important to keep in mind that we can’t test and measure everything in this programme, so we need to work out what our priorities are and deal with less pressing areas later.

Following the workshop, I made a table so I could break down user needs and link them to what we would measure and how we would test it.

It is also important to consider priority of user needs — going forward I would probably add another column to take this into consideration.

We also had a VCAA meeting today where we discussed what we have been doing on the programme so far, our intentions for the end of the programme and what we want core VCAA members to do to help going forward — which includes interviewing existing climate organisations in the North East.

Thursday 4th March — Mentor Meeting: Timelines

Who knew you could use Excel to build timelines? This was such a great use of mentor time for me because it helped me look at a more effective method of timetabling. Previously, I was making lists with dates on Word which was quite clunky and difficult to read. By using Excel instead you can make a much clearer map and brighten it up with colour. We mapped out dates along the top and different areas of work down the left hand side — this allowed you to see the journey of each aspect of areas of work. It’s also so easy to amend if timelines change — which is important to factor into a project, because you just never know what could crop up.

I’m so glad we used the time in this way because I will be able to take this learning with me into other projects.

Key takeaways:

- Utilising Excel as a timeline planner for projects

- Finalising the timeline

- Decide on survey software

Friday 5th March — What next?

We had another meeting this morning looking at the next steps for the information gathered by interviewing mainstream VCSE organisations and also finalised our priority areas with regards to what to test. Using my new Excel timeline, we’ve set target dates and we have a lot to do next week if we want cram everything in.

This week has been quite jam-packed and I imagine this pace will pick up even more as the programme progresses. I am enjoying the challenge so far and I have found the programme to be so useful and beneficial as someone who has only recently started working in the VCSE sector. I can’t wait to see what skills and tips I’ll learn next week!

Next week (informed by my Excel timeline!)

- Big push on getting the tone test ready

- Big push on having the prototype ready

- Learning about usability

- Hectic — but also enthusiastic

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