Centre for Information Management

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Agile practices for enhancing user experience in a library

gtrgAs a professional  librarian who has been trained in Business Analysis/Project Management,  I have had the opportunity to project manage libraries and executed a change management programme in an hitherto under-utilised learning resource centre. I am very interested in evaluating the library and information services from business analysis perspectives, especially in agile development.

Agile is a valuable and simple tool that would be very effective in a user service environment like the library if implemented appropriately. Agile development incorporates different methodologies (such as Scrum, Kanban, Jira) and incorporates requirements gathering and analysis, individual empowerment and iterations. Agile development tool is usually associated with software development life cycle but really can be used almost anywhere, especially in service industries.

One of the strengths of agile development is accommodating change and combining flexibility in its approach. Agile enhances customer satisfaction and face-to-face interaction works extremely well with agile. Agile in library services will be acknowledging that users have different needs, different confidence levels and different practical requirements at different stages of their studies and accommodating all these in a bespoke and personalised service package rather than a ‘one size fits all’ which had been the bane of library services in the past. This would contribute to enhance their user experience in their student journey.

The evolution of technology is bringing about a rapid change in the volume of user demands and the categories of queries users bring to a library’s reference service point.

In an agile environment, users take priority and they are fully involved in the process(es) taking place. Library services, especially at the helpdesk or reference desk support users.

The reference desk is a service point where Librarians elicit information from users and this is a typical traditional requirement gathering process that had been operating in library’s reference service. A reference librarian gathers requirements, elicits information from the user and while doing this accesses their needs to be able to deliver and provide for their requirements efficiently.

Agile development is one tool libraries should use to develop effective and user centred services for their customers.




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