Sitka Technology Group

We Just Kicked Off Our New Project with Montana

Shhhhh. While we’re not going to name names, there’s a pretty amazing town in Montana that happens to also be its capital. Hiking, mountain biking, fly fishing, beer drinking, and sun soaking, all in a historic town of roughly 30,000 people.

JohnBrian, and I are fresh back from a great kickoff meeting with Montana’s Sage Grouse Habitat Conservation Program team. The project:  creating a second generation of their Sage Grouse Web App to support consultation on proposed projects that could have an impact on sage grouse habitat. Montana’s IT team created the first generation in a matter of weeks late last year that ranchers, developers, and folks seeking funding or assistance have been using.

Montana’s Department of Natural Resources and Conservation (DNRC) issued an RFP for this next generation web app in late spring, and we were awarded the contract in late June. Our mission:  streamline the review of project proposals by providing more immediate feedback to proponents to help them make decisions on their project siting before starting the permitting process. We are thrilled to be working with the Montana team and look forward to minimizing the role of the “regulator”; reducing workload on state staff reviewers and IT teams; and increasing the timeliness, consistency and quality of consultation services.

Montana DNRC - Card Sorting - August 2016

At the kickoff meeting we facilitated a card sorting activity that built a common vision on the user tasks the new system needs to support. Rather than use traditional prioritization schemes, we asked users of the new system to sort user tasks into piles based on criticality of the task, then on frequency of the task. Combing the two ratings, we arrived at an index score of the importance of the task. While the new system will support the majority of the tasks in the card decks, the whole team is unified on the relative importance of them so that the design and development can appropriately focus on the right stuff.

User Task Analysis is one of the core components of our DataDiagnostic service. For this Sage Grouse project, we were able to start this app development project with this analysis because of the detail and quality of information in the DNRC RFP.

Special thanks to the sage grouse team — Kristy, Brian, Brad, Jacob, Therese, Drew, and Carolyn — you all are awesome hosts! We’re fired up to deliver on this project for you.