English articles, Top Tasks

Top task survey online at the European Commission

Lots of people visiting a EC website these days are being confronted with a pop-up asking them for their 5 main reasons to interact with the European Commission. Until June 2nd, a top task survey is running to establish what the top tasks are throughout this complex organisation.

At the present pace, over a 100,000 people will have participated, invited by a pop-up on over 400 websites, via newsletters, on social media pages and Twitter accounts of the European Commission. In 24 languages, directed toward their 40 million monthly web visitors.

With the one big question: “what are your 5 main reasons for interacting with the European Commission?”.

The answer to that question will give the Digital Transformation Team at the European Commission the unique insight of how the 77 visitor tasks are ranked and prioritized EC-wide. The list was composed through a thorough process involving all the Directorates-General, the DGs, throughout the silos of this large organisation.

The result – the top task ranking – will then become the basis for building the new architecture of the EC online presence. Classification of tasks, themes and subjects will be tested in the home page level and the level below. With the clear purpose to make visitor journeys easier and more transparent. The task identification survey is the start and core of an evidence-based approach, rather than opinion-based.

More and more, organisations take on the Top Task Management process or consider doing so. Gerry McGovern and the Customer Carewords network have managed hundreds of these evidence-based management projects. In several countries, top tasks are catching web managers’ attention. In the Netherlands, e.g., the top task methodology is now close to standard for towns and other public authorities.

It is however remarkable and daring that probably the most complex hierarchical and silo-organised institution in Europe clearly has chosen to go for an evidence-based and customer centric approach.
“They don’t know what will hit them,” some say, and that may be right. Indeed, Top Task Management is about much more than just a new website architecture and navigation, about much more than making the task easier to complete.

It is about putting the customer in the central position of the online presence, without taking the eye off the business goals of the organisation. And that requires that departments talk to each other. It requires that senior management step out of their silos and allow lower management to work cross-silo.

That process of change, the willingness to change is a prerequisite of Top Task Management. And that exactly is what we see happening in the top task workshops and web rationalisation at the European Commission. DGs start talking to each other and start co-operating, and in one of the following phases, they will start to work together cross-silo on visitor tasks and content. It may take some time before the web visitor sees and feels the new EC online presence, but be reassured, we’re working at it.



About Toon Lowette

Customer is not king on the internet, he is dictator. Online services are successful if they allow the customer to do what he came for efficiently and without confusion. Toon Lowette is online publishing consultant in the Customer Carewords network of Gerry McGovern. Task management is the central issue. We teach websites to manage the task, not the content, not the technology. We teach websites to become relentlessly customer centric.


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