Impact and Results

The Team and Problem

<aside> 👉 Research question: Do QA Analysts have sufficient capability, motivation and opportunity to fully adopt our new ecosystem?


At the Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan, I was on a project team building internal tools for pension payment and data management. Users for these tools spanned across all departments such as Quality Assurance, Call Centre, Accounts Receivable etc.

After having rebuilt and redesigned an entire ecosystem of applications to meet business needs around software maintenance, the team was dealing with low user adoption of our system with various user groups. Repeatedly releasing features was not changing this.

The business wanted to improve adoption and in order to understand the barriers towards adoption, I proposed to a research project to the product owner using the COM-B method to deeply understand the factors that make adoption a challenge.

I chose to apply this as a case study with one specific group of users, QA Analysts, as they had the lowest adoption based on analytics and understanding their issues would give great insights on the difficulties of transitioning to a new system.

The COM-B Method

The COM-B method provides a useful framework for understanding what prevents people from performing a desired behaviour. In our case, this behaviour was using our new system for their work related tasks.

This method also encourages researchers to observe broader factors such as social environment of users' context and their motivations. From previous research, there was indication that users lacked motivation and enthusiasm for our product. Therefore, investigating further through this framework felt like the right fit.

How it works:

Based on a comprehensive literature review of behaviour change interventions in psychology, the COM-B method suggests that desired behaviors are a result of people having a sufficient level of capability, opportunity, and motivation.

Capability can be further divided into physical and psychological. Physical capability includes perceptual factors in using the system and accessibility issues Psychological capability includes having sufficient knowledge and skill to use the system

Opportunity can be further divided into social and physical. Social opportunity focuses on how other people affect the particular behaviour Physical opportunity includes how the physical space around the person affects the behaviour

Motivation can be further divided into reflective and automatic. Reflective motivation refers to goals and priorities Automatic motivation includes expectations, incentives and fears

Issues found in each of these categories can be mapped to intervention strategies (design solutions) that work well for them as shown in this chart: