CA DCSS Technology Services Division Unveils iHUB Experience

By: Dana Simas, CA DCSS

The California Department of Child Support Services’ (CA DCSS) Technology Services Division (TSD) unveiled its new iHUB project on Wednesday, July 25th to educate staff on the new process meant to further collaboration between business owners and technology design teams.

The iHUB Open House event took attendees through the background and methodology that makes “design thinking” a better working solution for CA DCSS. Design thinking brings the business owners into the planning and design phases at the very beginning to ensure that any design solutions actually meet the need of the end user. This approach will ensure that business owners are an integral piece of the design and the result is a top-notch product that fully meets the business owner’s needs.

To get there, design thinking first engages in a “discovery week” which helps lay the foundation for any technology solutions that are designed according to the business request. This involves meeting with subject matter experts to understand what is needed, conducting research to review what systems might be affected by the changes, clearly identifying roles and responsibilities to ensure the project stays on schedule and who is responsible for which pieces, and finally planning the 5-Day Design Track.

After the groundwork has been laid between the designers and the business owners, the team moves into the design phase. The design phase is a 5-day Design Track which is broken into five steps; map, sketch, decide, prototype, and then validate and learn. This nimble process allows for the most creative, out-of-the-box divergent thinking because it brings people into the design phase that would not have normally been involved, increasing input and perspective which leads to meaningful and user-focused solutions.

The goal of the iHUB experience is to further the department’s transformation into Agile development which promotes more collaborative planning between the business owner and the technology team, as well as encourages rapid, flexible responses to change so any failures in the business requirements or technology design can be addressed early on and prior to the production release of the final product.