Live stage: improving the service

Live stage is about releasing and improving the new service. You will also retire existing services and products if your new service is replacing something.

You will keep doing user research and performance analysis to plan improvements.

Meeting the Digital Service Standard

You must follow the service design and delivery process to meet Criteria 3: Agile and user-centred process of the Digital Service Standard.

The Digital Service Standard guides teams to build services that are simpler, clearer and faster.

Before you go live

Before you can make your service live, you must make sure:

  • the user can complete the full end-to-end journey
  • the service meets the user needs you found in your Discovery, Alpha and Beta stages
  • the service’s information is secure
  • you have proven that your public beta service is functionally complete and performs better than any existing services
  • you are aware of and have a plan for the transition or integration of any existing services that meet a similar user needs to yours
  • you can add redirects for URLs in the old service that will be deleted
  • the service fully meets the Digital Service Standard and can continue to do so until its retirement
  • you can support the service and you’ll be able to keep iterating it and improving it until its retirement.

In many cases, a live service contributes to a wider transformation roadmap. The code, design, infrastructure, and learnings from service delivery can be re-used across your organisation.

The team you need in Live stage

You should know the roles you need to run your service, based on your experience of building it.

As you iterate and improve different parts of your service, you may find the team size changes along with your need for specialist roles.

Don’t disband your service team after you go live. You need a multidisciplinary team to continuously improve the service and respond to additional and changing needs from the service over time as it evolves.

If the service is handed over to a different team you will lose the empathy and experience developed through the previous stages. Make sure ‘business as usual’ includes resources allocated to iterating and improving a service so that it remains relevant and useful.

After you go live

After you move to the Live stage you should keep improving your service based on user feedback, analysis, and further user research.

If the team needs to work with other teams to support the live service, make sure that you are using the same artefacts. Everyone should be working using the same user stories.

You should also:

  • monitor the status of your service
  • maintain uptime and availability
  • practice vulnerability and penetration testing
  • test your service’s performance
  • maintain quality assurance
  • continue to use a combination of qualitative and quantitative data to inform decision making.

You should repeat the service design and delivery stages (Discovery, Alpha, Beta and Live) for smaller pieces of work as your service continues running. This means you:

  • keep finding things that need improvement
  • do research to get the best solutions
  • iterate and release, then iterate again.

Measuring performance

After the service goes live, you will need to keep measuring performance metrics. This information will help you monitor how your service is meeting user needs and how user needs are changing.

You will need to:

  • monitor the capture of performance data
  • manage the appropriate storage and analysis of this information, including keeping data tidy
  • iterate and improve your methods for measuring performance – if you make changes, keep a change log and only make changes at key intervals to avoid interrupting longitudinal statistics.
  • Consider sustainability over time and only collecting the information you need. It’s ok to stop collecting a data item if you find it is never used.
  • Continue to communicate the results of your performance analysis to service caretakers, stakeholders and decision-makers to keep them informed.

Use your findings to help you understand how to improve your service. Keep testing that your metrics are telling you what you need to know.

Understand that some metrics will only get you so far. Regular user research at appropriate intervals (for example, once a year) is important and should be factored into ongoing resources for the service.

Retiring services

Retiring existing services involves replacing legacy technology and consolidating existing non-digital channels. This also includes appropriate archiving of records and websites.

You should also be aware of changes in policy and legislation that might change how your service can work.

You will need a content strategy to help you as you remove content.