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Digital Outcomes and Specialists: finding an individual specialist

We blogged about how we're delivering the earliest usable product and shared the latest research and prototypes of how buyers will be able to write and publish their requirements for an outcome.

We’ve also been looking at how buyers will be able to able to create their requirements when they want to find an individual specialist to work on a project.

To do this, we used the research and analysis on outcomes and we also asked buyers what they needed when they were bringing in a specialist.

Researching user needs and existing solutions

Before starting to design the buying journey we:

  • spoke to users to understand their needs
  • reviewed the insights on how buyers write requirements for outcomes
  • looked at other government frameworks that are designed to bring in individuals
  • looked at how the private sector bring digital specialists in

Testing the prototype

The buyer journey for specialists is simpler than for outcomes. Buyers found the flow easier and more intuitive. Here’s some of the feedback we got:

  • the role should be one of the first options and was too low down in the process
  • cultural fit is very important but more guidance is required as this can be interpreted differently
  • buyers are not sure what to do if they want a number of the same role with different levels of expertise

Delivering the earliest usable product

We'll keep improving the buyer journey as we test it and iterate on user feedback. This will be particularly important for the evaluation part and we're currently looking at this in detail.

Although we expect it to change over the next few weeks, here’s what the user experience looks like at the moment. We’ll continue to show you the changes as we go.


The user goes to the Digital Marketplace and can see a variety of options of digital and technology services that they can buy. They select ‘find an individual specialist’ and they're taken to a page that shows information on the steps a user must take to buy what they need. The user then chooses the type of specialist from the following list of roles: agile coach, business analyst, communications manager, content designer, delivery manager, designer, developer, portfolio manager, product manager, programme manager, quality assurance analyst, cyber security consultant, service manager, user researcher, web operations engineer. The specialist would be brought in to work on a clearly defined scope of work rather than on an interim basis.

In this case, the user selects a designer.

The user then chooses the location where they want the work to be done. In this case, the user selects London. They are taken to a page that shows how many suppliers can provide designers who work in London. The user is then asked to create an account or login. The user logs in and a box appears where they type in the title of their requirements.

They are shown an overview of the ‘description of work’ that they want the specialist to do. On this page they enter:

  • the organisation the supplier will work for
  • what the specialist will do
  • the expected start date
  • contract length
  • working arrangements

The user adds a short description under each of these headers. Some of these questions are optional. After filling in every section, the user clicks ‘save and return’ and is to a page showing an overview of the process they’ll go through to send out their requirements. On the page there are section headings including ‘write the requirements’, ‘publish requirements’, ‘answer questions from suppliers’, ‘short list’, ‘evaluate’ and ‘award’. The user has already completed the specialist role, location, and description of work under the ‘write the requirements’ heading. They select the last link of this section which is ‘evaluation’.

They are shown an overview of the evaluation process that they will use to select a supplier. On this page they enter:

  • the essential and nice-to-have skills and experience the supplier can provide - this is initially used to create a shortlist
  • how they will evaluate the supplier and individual specialist on cultural fit - for example, how they’ll work with your organisation and whether they’ll be able to transfer skills to other members of your organisation
  • the criteria weighting against technical and functional fit, cultural fit, and price - percentage for each, totalling 100 percent
  • the assessment and scoring method, including profile, reference, interview, scenario or test

When all of the evaluation information is complete, the user clicks ‘save and return’ and is taken back to the overview of work. The user is then ready to publish their requirements.

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1 comment

  1. Comment by Tom posted on

    This looks great guys. Could you please clarify whether the future product will allow customers to buy multiple Specialists simultaneously through Lot 2 (e.g teams of named specialists) rather than one at a time?