Live stage: improving the service

The 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. 

Before you go Live 

Before you make your service Live, you must make sure: 

  • users can complete the full end-to-end journey 
  • the service meets the user needs found in each of the service design stages 
  • the information stored in the service is secure 
  • you’ve proven your public Beta is functional, complete and performs better than existing services 
  • you have a service transition plan  
  • you have a service integration plan for any existing services that meet a similar user needs to yours 
  • you have redirected the URLs for the old archived service that will be deleted 
  • the service meets all aspect of the Digital Service Standard and will continue to do so until its retirement 
  • you will iterate and improve the service 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 the 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 the changing needs of the users over time.

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, 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 you use 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 the service performance 
  • maintain quality assurance 
  • continue to use a combination of qualitative and quantitative data to inform decision making. 

Repeat each stage 

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. 

Measure performance 

Continue capturing performance metrics after the service goes Live. This information will help you monitor whether your service is meeting user needs and how user needs are changing. 

You will need to: 

  • monitor how you capture performance data 
  • manage the appropriate storage and analysis of this information, including keeping data tidy 
  • iterate and improve your methods for measuring performance 
  • only make changes at key intervals to avoid interrupting data that you’ve collected over time, if you do make changes, keep a change log  
  • consider sustainability over time and only collect the information you need, don’t continue collecting data if it is not needed or will not be used 
  • communicate the results of your performance analysis to service stakeholders and decision-makers to keep them informed. 

Use your findings to understand how to improve your service. Keep testing to make sure your metrics are telling you what you need to know. Understand that some metrics will only get you so far. It’s important to factor regular user research in at appropriate intervals, for example once a year. 

Retiring services 

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

You should be aware of policy and legislation changes that may impact how your service works. You will need a content strategy to help you audit and remove content.