Customer Experience Center of Excellence

Stacy Surla led the project team and designed the approach to stand up the pilot Customer Experience Center of Excellence at USDA for GSA and the White House Office of American Innovation. Her six-person team worked with GSA project owners, USDA stakeholders, field staff, and American farmers and ranchers. Together they established and demonstrated that people-centered research, planning, and implementation make it possible for high-stakes digital products, like, to succeed.

One of the most interesting parts of this project was the team’s use of research, customer journey mapping, participatory design, and workshopping to iteratively test and refine team and client hypotheses about  issues facing farmers and USDA staff, and the potential solutions to these problems.  The rounds of research at headquarters and at 6 sites across the U.S. were interspersed with a series of workshops culminating with a solutions session that engaged developers, decision-makers, and program execution staff.

Leave-behinds to support the USDA’s Center of Excellence included Journey Mapping and CX Playbooks, Personas, and a roadmap of features for the citizen-facing The success of this demonstration project led to the team piloting a Center of Excellence at the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

More information and resources are available at

Client White House Office of American Innovation/GSA
Prime ICF
Areas Customer Experience, User Experience