Understand the 'as-is' process
Once you know who your users and stakeholders are, you need to understand how they are currently “getting the job done” or how their needs are currently being met. What users say they like or dislike about their current state are important data points, but you also want to bring your own product mindset to identify problems and solutions the users may not have thought to articulate.
In addition, no process, service, or product lives in a vacuum, so you will want to understand how these fit together to impact the overall user experience. And past efforts and solutions will offer useful lessons to refine your understanding of what works and doesn’t work.
Your partners likely have an incomplete view of the current state or what their users need, so developing a shared baseline of where you are starting from is a necessary step to envisioning a path forward.
Below are some outcomes 18F product managers drive when understanding the “as-is” process:
Describe the intended purpose of the current “AS-IS” process
Map out the current “AS-IS” process end-to-end
Contextualize the current “AS-IS” process within the ‘key’ actors’ overall workflow/job
Identify explicit and implicit pain points and opportunities with regard to the current process
Know what else has been tried and what the outcomes were