DH Lab Development process

The CVCE research infrastructure is developed via an interdisciplinary approach combining knowledge of European integration from our team of researchers with analytical and development expertise provided by the DH Lab and application programming from the CVCE development and operations team.

The services and tools developed for CVCE.eu must cater for a variety of target audiences and their specific needs. Frequently, at the start of projects, these needs are not yet fully developed and are highly uncertain. User needs become clearer and more easily defined during the iterative process of technological development.

To take into account these emerging needs and to improve the fit with the target audiences, over the 2014–17 period the CVCE will implement a highly user-centred development process that places user needs (and their uncertainty) at its heart. The process is derived from a framework for developing and sustaining complex products known as Scrum and is ideally suited to circumstances where solutions are required for complex adaptive problems requiring creative and flexible approaches.

The DH Lab development methodology has three phases, as shown in the diagram:


Phase 1: Prototyping & product definition — users are exposed to new tools and services that might become useful for their activities (e.g. research, teaching or interaction with historical sources) through different methodologies such as workshops, brainstorming sessions, guided interviews or prototyping. Findings from exploratory sessions with researchers in European integration are used to gather and create a product definition and corresponding user stories.

Phase 2: Implementation & testing — a user-centered design approach with an Agile Scrum methodology is adopted. Based on the collation, organisation, ordering and prioritisation of user stories into a product backlog, CVCE developers implement increments of code, over a short period, to provide a useful and usable base product for review and refinement.   

Phase 3: Deployment and go-live — the new and adapted tools and services are in productive use and are handed over to the final users.