Building the future of energy distribution
The world of energy is changing - we are moving from a centralised, fossil-fuel based landscape, towards a decentralised energy landscape, based on seasonal renewables. In order to facilitate this transition, the infrastructure that supports and distributes the energy has to change as well, towards a more decentralised and flexible model. This is where Piclo comes into place, offering Network Operators a marketplace to connect with organisations that can provide energy flexibility.
I worked at Piclo as a UX Designer, working in the conception of Piclo Flex, their new Flexibility product, from inception to launch. I was in charge of usability sessions and research, and I assisted the Product Manager on design, development and prioritisation of features, working to agile sprints.
Understanding the problem
A complex process
Before building a marketplace we needed to understand a complex process of procurement by the network operators, one side of our marketplace.
Understanding the user
In this project I did not build personas. Being a B2B product, it was more important to understand the processes that we were trying to optimise. Instead I made simple diagrams of the actors on the process, what motivations they had to use such a product and where in the process did they get involved.
The blueprint map above was the result of several workshops with one of our collaborators, where we mapped teams, outputs and channels.
Building the product
After mapping and understanding the process it was time to start building. In order to get rid of assumptions and become aligned as a team, I led a workshop on assumptions gathering alongside the CPO. We developed the following template, and asked all stakeholders to fill in as many assumptions as they could.
The result was a list of features, which we affinity mapped and prioritised.
The prototype cycle
The main assumptions then became hypotheses we wanted to test. In order to do that, I created a prototype in Sketch and Invision. We recruited test subjects from the other side of the marketplace (the providers) and recorded our findings in a spreadsheet, tagging them by topic. The prototype had several versions and iterations, which passed rounds of user testing and trickled down into the development sprints.
Learning as a team
I carry all the agile rituals that I learnt at Thoughtworks wherever I go. For example, Retrospectives are key to reflect and grow as a team.
The final product
In June 2018 we launched with the first version of Piclo. It was quite a party and we got the attention of the press (in the energy circles) as well as many valuable signups. The live version is at www.picloflex.com