10 Reasons to Use GoShadow® for Process Improvement

The goShadow® app aids the Shadower to follow, observe, capture, and record any process end to end. The goShadow® app, being a digital tool to aid shadowing, provides a level of accuracy and precision, which no manual shadowing technique can match. With goShadow® app, the human errors and misjudgments associated with traditional shadowing techniques are totally removed.



Why Use Shadowing for Process Design?


The technique of Shadowing, used for ages, offers behavioral observation of a professional on the job, which may be later used to improve job roles, functions, and processes. The whole body of user research rests on the theory that a worker in his or her natural working environment provides the best opportunity for corrective action for better outcomes.  The technique of Shadowing used in business settings or particular fields of work such as healthcare enables collaborative process design and process improvements through cross-functional team efforts.

Without continual growth and progress, such words as improvement, achievement, and success have no meaning.”

Benjamin Franklin, American Politician


While shadowing, a shadower engages in direct observation, interaction, and recording of a “worker in action in the field.” The technique of Shadowing has been used successfully in retail, manufacturing, healthcare, customer service, supply chain, and many other industry sectors to correct ineffective processes and enhance the outcomes of existing processes. However, historically, shadowing involved the use of pen, paper, and stopwatches to collect notes and record behavioral observations. The use of outdated tools made the shadowing exercise quite ineffective.


Conducting Shadowing Exercises


    1. If the specific goals and objectives of a particular Shadowing exercise are clearly articulated at the beginning, then the outcome of the shadowing exercise are usually far better.
    2. The shadower must carry proper note-taking devices to make immediate notes while shadowing. Digital image capture devices work better as they record “as-is” leaving little room for personal interpretations.


  • Generally, the parties involved in the shadowing exercise are in constant motion, so mobile devices work best  for following, observing, and capturing important actions, comments, emotions, or reactions.  



Shadowing as a UX Research Technique

According to Khoi Vin, the VP of UX at Wildcard:

“Asking users to adopt new behaviors or even modify existing behaviors is very, very hard. Shadowing lets you understand existing behaviors so that you can adapt your designs to those behaviors.”

The article titled Shadowing in User Research – Do You See What They See? establishes that this novel method of observing, though time consuming and resource heavy, is very useful for highly specific, narrow areas of work processes. As shadowing can be a frustrating experience for both the professional and the shadower if not properly briefed, it is good practice to get the professionals and team members acquainted with the shadowed well in advance, so that the goals and objectives of the shadowing exercise are clearly understood by all involved parties.  The ultimate goal of Shadowing is to observe a process from the other side of the fence – from the perspective of the customer, patient, or user.



Examples of Shadowing Use Cases

The User Research blog offers an interesting use case on the post titled advice on how to be a better user researcher, which is a direct spin-off from the UK Government User Research initiatives.

Since 2013, the UCL Bartlett School of Planning has provides their undergraduate students a golden opportunity to engage in two-weeks of shadowing to augment their learning process. The article titled Undergraduates gaining industry experience through work shadowing discusses the UCL shadowing program. He students use this program to understand how their accumulated learning may be applied to a professional setting. For most students, this program is the first exposure to the professional world.

The Problem with Traditional Shadowing Techniques


In traditional shadowing, observers or researchers used pen and paper to make notes. That practice led to two adverse consequences: the possibility of subjective interpretations in textual descriptions and the possibility “missing” significant details while following and making notes in a fast-paced and lengthy process. This kind of exercise data also lacked the precision of “time-stamped, qualitative or quantitative data.” Over time, the practice of using pen and paper and stopwatches became too time consuming and cumbersome to be actually useful.

Though shadowing was one of the most effective methods for understanding the current state of experience, the researchers were looking for better shadowing aids to enhance the accuracy and quality of the Shadowing experiences. The traditional tools were not very effective in making the shadowing methods useful for improving processes.


The traditional system of Shadowing left a large scope for inaccuracies and personal interpretations. Moreover, in a fast-paced process, the manual capture and recording method could easily “miss out” important steps in a process. The scope for inaccuracies embedded in traditional methods of Shadowing rendered those methods useless beyond a point for improving existing processes. After all, if the shadowing tools themselves were erroneous, one could not expect the outcomes to be much better!


The Solution: Going Digital with Experience Capture and Note-Taking

The emergence of the digital platform with its friendly solutions in the form of apps changed all that.

“The most important practical lesson that can be given to nurses is to teach them what to observe – how to observe – what symptoms indicate improvement – what the reverse – which are of importance – which are of none – which are the evidence of neglect – and of what kind of neglect.”


Florence Nightingale, English Activist

PFCC Framework Source: goShadow®.org


One application of shadowing in the healthcare sector is Patient Shadowing. This technique is used in the six-step Patient and Family Centered Care Methodology and Practice (PFCC M/P), to ensure that care givers follow, observe, and record the care experience from the “patient’s and family’s point of view.” The goShadow® app provides an excellent opportunity to the shadower to follow, observe, and record the care experience as it happens.

Patient Shadowing with the goShadow® app forges an emotional bond between the care givers and the patients and family members, which inspires the care givers to bring immediate change in healthcare processes. The practice of digital note-taking and recording care experiences removes doubts, ambiguities, and personal interpretations from the recorded experiences. After making serious efforts in transforming processes, the Shadower and team members can rest in peace knowing that the shadowing tools are accurate.  

What Can the goShadow® App Do for Me?


The goShadow app, being a digital tool, provides a level of accuracy and precision, which no manual shadowing technique can match. In this case, the human errors and misjudgments associated with traditional shadowing methods are totally removed.




The goShadow®App Source: goShadow®.org


“You need to set a tone at the top that inspires trust – and encourages open and honest 2-way communication. So you hear the brutal facts, and you listen to the good news and the bad news – so that, in the spirit of continuous improvement, you can make changes.


Denise Morrison, American Businesswoman


The goShadow® app is an economical but highly impactful digital application, which enables businesses or service organizations to understand how their “customers, patients, or users” experience service, in healthcare, retail, or hotel industry sectors. These industry sectors can use the goShadow® app to follow, observe, and capture images and notes in real time with high-precision tools, while different services are being rendered to the customers, patients, or users.

The accurately captured notes and images can be later organized and shared with other team members and presented in published reports for process improvements. One can hope that with a digital solution, the risk of errors associated with traditional note-taking methods has been removed.


Top 10 Reasons for Using the goShadow® App


“The biggest room in the world is the room for improvement.”


Helmut Schmidt, German Statesman


The goShadow® app is a distinct step forward from the traditional pen, paper, and stopwatches, the use of which left a large scope for inaccuracies and misinterpretations. The goShadow® app offers a three-step approach to co-designing business or service processes – enabling  organizations and service centers to take it from the “actual” to the “ideal” situation. So, here are top 10 reasons for selecting the goShadow® app for any kind of process improvement:

Reason 1: The digital capture, record, and note-taking capabilities of the goShadow® app reduces errors and removes any scope for personal interpretations present in traditional note-taking methods.


Reason 2: The goShadow® app works equally well for individual and team situations. The individual can use it to improve personal habits or routines by observing, capturing, and reviewing personal habits for impartial assessments later. The team on the other hand, can use it for collaborative problem-solving.


Reason 3: The goShadow® app is designed for mobile devices, such as the iPhone, iPod, or iPad – thus offering easy usage mobility and flexibility to the user in any kind of shadowing environment. A marvelous replacement to the cumbersome pen, paper, and stopwatch!


Reason 4: The goShadow® app enables merging of “qualitative” and “quantitative” data, which can be very useful for getting the complete picture of an existing process. The time-stamped notes provides further opportunities for detecting and localizing issues that need to be improved.

Use goShadow® to merge qualitative and quantitative data Source: goShadow®.org


Reason 5: This app may be used to build team chemistry through dialogue, sharing of ideas, and participative problem solving. The goShadow® app offers a unique platform for getting your voice heard – no matter who you are in a hierarchical structure.

Impactful Teams Source: goShadow®.org


Reason 6:  You can use goShadow® to measure the “true cost” of any process or experience. The ability to view actual performance metrics in goShadow® gives business owners and service providers a firm grip of the big picture. The analysis and reports generated through this app can help business owners and service providers to reduce waste and improve outcomes.

Use goShadow® to identify true costs Source: goShadow®.org


Reason 7: By design, the goShadow® app promotes a culture of collaboration


Reason 8:The goShadow® app includes a handy Field Journal, which comes with guidelines, observation pages, and a Flowmap template to get your started without any learning curve.

Reason 9: The time-stamped data and process buckets aid the user to easily keep track of observed processes.


Reason 9: The mobile app can be easily synced with the web version of goShadow®, which makes data transference and reporting a breeze.


Reason 10: The Free 30-day trial period, which you can comfortably take advantage of to get acquainted with this friendly app. You can get the details of this app here: go Shadow.org



The goShadow® App in Action: Case Studies

If you have time to review the goShadow® Case Studies available on the company’s portal, you will get an idea of how businesses are currently using the app to shadow specific business processes to gain vital insights about existing process-related issues. The Shadowing exercise with the goShadow® app has helped businesses identify and eliminate silos, get rid of redundant steps in specific processes, involve frontline staff in a collaborative problem-solving discussions, and bring about the necessary changes to reduce costs and enhance efficiency.

The goShadow® app has many useful applications such as Time Management, Team Building, and Care Experience. The following case studies will help you get an insider’s view of how the app is helping organizations improve processes:


The study titled Transforming Office Practice Flow A Quality Improvement Specialist’s Experience explains how patient feedback data related to wait times and clinical inefficiencies helped the quality improvement (QI) specialists at a medical practice uncover the “root causes” of the stated problems and recommend improved processes.

The study titled Meal Packing Flow and Home Delivery describes the partnership formed between the United Way, the Greater Pittsburgh Community, and FitUnited, to develop a supply chain system for delivering fresh food to home-based childcare providers. Using the goShadow® app, FitUnited brought actionable changes to the existing food delivery system, which was both time consuming and inefficient.

Even better, explore the Trial version of the app yourself.


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