CERT Plugin workshop


Client Emergency Response Team (CERT) is a tool used to track tier 1 and 2 client emergencies, and communicate business impact and response to  client and IBM executives. Current tool is a 20-year old Lotus Notes database. 

Date: January 29th to January 31st, 2020
Location: IBM Client Experience Center, Austin, TX, 78758

The goal

The goal was to find effective ways to modernize, automate and improve performance of the current tool. 

User roles map

I started the workshop with our common design thinking presentation. The team really wanted to just start talking about the problems they have in hand. Different team members had different expectations on how to handle those issues. It was really important to make the team agree to take a step back and look at the problem in users perspective. Among many things I used my favorite quote from Don Norman in my presentation.

Designers […] don’t try to search for a solution until they have determined the real problem, and even then, instead of solving that problem, they stop to consider a wide range of potential solutions. Only then will they finally converge upon their proposal. This process is called ‘design thinking.

— Don Norman

We divided the users in three groups-


  • Engagers
  • Initiators
  • Drafter
  • Publishers
  • Long Outage and Feedback


  • Stakeholders
  • Resolution leaders
  • Live engagement /client execs
  • Problem fixers


  • Business impact
  • Ultimate owner
  • Exec follow up
  • Informed

As-is experience map

From the users perspective then I had the team to to create the As-is experience map listing any pain points along the way. 

Pain points

From the As-is experience map, the team identified different pain points on every steps. I instructed them to group those into similar themes.

  • High stress environment
  • Shift handover to different people and shifts
  • Plan for future weeks
  • Pager Duty context-shift
  • Different Slack channels + tools
  • Copy PMR to right place
  • Manually update distribution lists
  • Difficult to deep dive
  • CERT and ENL notifications take too long
  • Content mis-match between CERT and ENL
  • Customer wants frequent updates
  • Not every CERT has a CMT

The hills

Once they grouped the pain points into similar themes, the team could see distinct and measurable hills that they can divide their work progress into.