R00 OXD CNC Case Study Assets Hero V00 ST

Building Organizational Consensus With an Alignment Phase

Learn how OXD helped the College of New Caledonia ensure they were asking the right questions and crafting the right vision for their website redesign using our alignment and exploration methods.

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British Columbia’s College of New Caledonia (CNC) has been “empowering learners to achieve their educational, personal, and career goals” for over 50 years. The resources and information offered on the CNC website serve over 5,000 students a year. They act as a critical source of information to support student recruitment activities. To continue to improve the student experience, CNC wanted to revitalize their website. The CNC leadership team engaged OXD to apply our expertise to inform pre-planning activities, using an alignment phase (sometimes referred to as Pre-Discovery). This would help them prepare a business case for the next phase, Discovery.

The challenge

The alignment phase is about coordinating all the elements of a project. This helps to deliver better services and reduce risks associated with any project. These risks can include:

  • Differences on what approach to take
  • Varying expectations of the project goals, budget, and outcomes
  • Not including the right people in the room and on the team
  • Misaligned budget or funding for the scope of the work

Having an alignment phase helps reduce these risks by defining:

  • strategic goals and outcomes,
  • gaining consensus on the current state and what the future might look like,
  • and the approach to take for Discovery, the next phase of the project.

This phase also uncovers the enabling technologies, people, and processes needed to deliver that future. We can then provide industry best practice advice to guide the initiative.

R00 OXD CNC Case Study Assets Support V01 ST

The approach

Visualizing relationships with mapping

Service ecosystem mapping helps the broader team visualize the relationships between various people who play a role in supporting the digital project, in this case, the website. Content contributors and members from across CNC, marketing and communications, and IT teams contributed to the service ecosystem mapping activity.

The map surfaced all the people benefitting from the website services, including students, parents, high school and college teachers, and administrators. The mapping activity also revealed the various touch points those people interact with (e.g., Instagram, course catalog, and events calendar) and the technical systems involved (e.g., images database, content publishing platform, and registration system).

Uncovering possibilities with workshops

A Strategic Possibilities Workshop provides an opportunity to reflect on how an existing digital product or service has delivered value, and who it has served. It shows us what areas have worked well and where there might be gaps or opportunities to address in the future project strategy.

We asked the CNC Executive Committee to focus less on the design of the “thing” (in their case, the website) and more on the design of a “service”. A service is something that helps a user do something. For example, people who use the CNC website want to learn about educational programs, apply for scholarships, or connect with recruiters.

Good services are verbs, bad services are nouns.


While the look, feel, and functionality elements for a site are important, they aren't enough. Instead, the Strategic Possibilities workshop keeps decision-makers focused on what their users are trying to do when they approach the website.

The result

Our guidance helped detail a comprehensive solution and possible activities for CNC and a vendor partner to consider in shaping the Discovery phase of the website revitalization. The alignment phase also generated excitement among leadership for the future vision and work ahead to enhance the student experience.

Ready to get aligned on your project?

We can help align your team’s goals and expectations and streamline your digital strategy—setting a solid foundation for future phases.