Modern Tools for Housing – Programme Week Notes 10/12/21

Modern Tools for Housing – Programme Week Notes 10/12/21

Ups and downs this week as the clock continues to run down to year-end. Our workstream updates.

Finance – Silvia – HackIT workstream DM

  • Celebrations:
    • Progress was made on the MAA Letters bug, which has now been fixed
    • Great progress is being made on the MVP and is on track to be delivered before Christmas. PEN testing taking place next week.
  • Challenges:
    • MAA Bugs and issues continue
    • Unknown future of the project and who will be running it is causing uncertainty.

Manage My Home – Yvonne – HackIT workstream DM

  • Celebrations:
    • Repairs showing in MMH now live! 
    • Team have left the work in a good place and well documented to be picked up again in the new year
  • Challenges:
    • With the Amido contract ending we have a very small internal team so ability to produce functionality or progress work is very limited. 

Repairs – Sarah – HackIT workstream DM

  • Celebrations:
    • MMH now displaying repairs data
    • Bug fix for mobile – jobs no longer disappearing when completed
    • Bug fix in DRS – jobs are now being closed to the correct time
  • Challenges:
    • Saturday & Monday there were issues scheduling jobs in DRS due to a release on Friday
    • Dealing with queries regarding the Bonus Calculation app 
    • New phones ready for plasterers, multi traders and carpenters which is great, distributing them however is proving challenging so we’ve asked the managers to work with the planners to book the time

Plenty of good news this week. We’ve resolved our Google Groups issue that was blocking the display of repairs data in Manage My Home which means that information is now available for everyone using that product! We also fixed a number of issues in Managed Arrears including the NOSP (Notice of Seeking Possession) bug.

The paperwork is complete to extend the contracts for two of our vendors until mid-Feb. We’re also busy reviewing the Digital Marketplace submissions for the agency to take over all three workstreams in the new year as we transform into a product team (likely with a number of sub-teams given the size of the programme).

We’re sad to see one of our vendors rolling off this week. The work they have done on Manage My Home has been excellent and they’ve inspired service design and technology improvements (especially around testing) across HackIT.

We held our first Product Owner meeting for a while which made a great start on discussing how we’ll measure the benefits of the programme. Much more on this to do in the new year.

We re-started the conversation around how we’ll define the hierarchy of assets (estates, blocks, dwellings, etc) in our Asset data microservice as this will become important in all workstreams in the near future.

Work continues on how we can ensure that a number of components that HackIT is building (patches, Document Store, notifications, etc) can and are reused by as many of our developed services as possible.

After speaking to the Product Owners I’ve been re-inspired to set up my idea for a regular “blue sky day” to change the narrative for the programme away from replacing Universal Housing to one about what we want the long term vision of the combined service to be. I’m looking forward to discussing who should be involved in that – potentially including a set of resident representatives.

Finally, our contractor job role is still open – if you know anyone who may be interested please email david.durant@hackney.gov.uk.

Modern Tools for Housing – Programme Week Notes 3/12/21

Modern Tools for Housing – Programme Week Notes 3/12/21

The temperature’s dropping, the decorations are up – last week’s happenings from our three workstreams.

Finance – Silvia – HackIT workstream DM

  • Next Show and Tell: 7th December 2021
  • Celebrations:
    • Progress was made on the Managed Arrears NOSP (notice of seeking possession) date bug, which has now been fixed. This means that our Income Collection Officers can now see if / when the important action has been taken when they interact with the tenant
    • User testing for the screens for the MAA Enhancement piece of work was successful, with the development handover taking place at the end of the week
  • Challenges:
    • MAA Bugs and issues continue
    • Hackney development resource (see below for our new contractor advert)

Manage My Home – Yvonne – HackIT workstream DM

  • Next Show and Tell: Thursday 16th December
  • Celebrations:
    • Picking up speed on designing processes
    • Offline working well on the way to being delivered and being shared with Repairs
    • Equalities service is live
  • Challenges:
    • Google Groups (permissions) is still ongoing and is a blocker to integrating with Repairs. We’re hoping to get this unblocked next week. 
    • Uncertainty on handover and end of Amido contract. 
    • Notifications – finance isn’t as far along as we’d thought and we’ll need to do some work to reuse their component.

Repairs – Sarah – HackIT workstream DM

  • Next show and tell Wednesday 8th December 2021
  • Celebrations
    • Fixed the 400 error message that operatives were seeing when closing jobs
    • Purdy onboarding discovery making good progress
  • Challenges
    • Managing the needs and expectations of stakeholders/ trade unions/ management as we look to resolve bugs, DRS integration issues, reporting for bonus application
    • Managing the balance between rolling out to more operatives and ensuring that we have addressed the main issues for mobile

The highlight of the week was Daniel and I presenting to the Housing Leadership forum on Wednesday. This was about 50 top managers from across Hackney’s Housing department. We were only one of several people presenting – covering a wide range of topics from Property Management to Resident Safety. Our presentation went over well and was followed by a frank and honest discussion with the audience who supported us in what we’re doing but naturally would rather things were progressing faster.

I’ve had a number of good follow-on conversations including emphasising the need to support people in the Traveller community and the exciting possibilities regarding adding links to the many safety related documents for our properties onto our Asset pages and making them available to our residents.

One minor snafu this week. I was meant to present the programme roadmap to the steering group on Monday – only to discover that somehow we had two different versions that different people had been updating. I’ll make sure they’re combined by the next steering group in January.

We have our first Product Owner meet-up for some time on Monday. Cate and I are looking forward to discussing how we can improve our benefits management processes.

We’re now recruiting an experienced .NET for our Finance workstream.

Lastly, I’m sad to report that Jay, the HackIT Delivery Manager for our Finance workstream, has decided to move on from Hackney. We wish him all the best in his future endeavours. We’re in the process of introducing Silvia into the team. We’re going to give her plenty of time to get up to speed between now and the new year and then it’ll be full steam ahead.

Modern Tools for Housing – Programme Week Notes 26/11/21

Another week zooms by as the nights draw in and we’re getting rapidly close to the festive season. Here’s the update from our teams.

Finance – Jay – HackIT workstream DM

  • Next Show and Tell: 7th December 2021
  • Celebrations:
    • Great progress has been made with a MAA Rules Engine concept
    • PTX testing environment is now set up
  • Challenges:
    • MAA Bugs and issues
    • Hackney development resource

Manage My Home – Yvonne – HackIT workstream DM

  • Celebrations:
    • Detailed discussions are continuing with the Document Storage team
    • The team is working excellently at pace – we managed to bring in four new work tickets (two technical enablers and two delivering user new functionality) this sprint – both of which will move us closer to our goal of delivering our first Housing management processes
  • Challenges:
    • Google Groups (permissions) is complex due to the different approaches the teams have taken across the workstreams. Integration is proving trickier than envisaged
    • Heading into our last full sprint before the current contract ends
    • We have the notifications component documentation but what is currently built is missing a few “must have” requirements for us

Repairs – Sarah – HackIT workstream DM

  • Celebrations
    • Fixed the ‘no access’ jobs being deleted from DRS
    • Development meetings with Advanced started off well
    • Deployed changes to mobile, improved job view including adding in the job description
  • Challenges
    • Solving the issue with the operative job splits – we’ve added more logging to see what’s going on
    • Keeping all stakeholders onboard while we build the last part of the bonus process ‘closing a week’

Our Digital Marketplace tender process is continuing. We whittled the applications down to a five company shortlist who have until midday Monday 6th to submit their full proposals. We hope to be able to announce a decision shortly after.

Some of our senior stakeholders have said that they want to have access to our test systems so they can see for themselves how our products function. It’s fantastic to have that level of interest so we’ll be setting that up this week.

Speaking of senior leaders, we’re looking forward to taking part in the Housing senior leadership day on Wednesday where we’re going to be presenting about the MTFH work to-date and our future plans to a large audience of departmental managers.

We’re restarting our research into moving away a number of our Housing resident processes from needing so-called “wet signatures” (signatures on a piece of paper). We’re collecting evidence of how this requirement has been removed in central and local government processes so if you have any examples of this please let me know.

We’re still lining up to recruit a senior .NET contractor to help work on the MTFH Finance workstream so if you know anyone who may be interested again, please let me know in a comment below.

A couple of bits I’ve been tardy on. I need to finish writing up the workshop that we had of evolving the governance of our programme and share that for feedback this week. I’m also re-starting the regular catch-ups with the programme Product Owners that stopped when I started the new Lead Delivery Manager role. I’m looking forward to discussing a number of important topics with them, but also really listening to how I can best help them with their goals for their workstreams.

Modern Tools for Housing – Programme Week Notes 19/11/21

Some fantastic demos this week, and a great workshop on future governance for the programme.. The current Digital Marketplace tender is attracting a number of applications and we ran a demo for potential suppliers so that they could see what we’ve done so far. Here’s the updates from our workstreams.

Finance – Jay – HackIT workstream DM

  • Next Show and Tell: 23rd November 2021
  • Celebrations:
    • Great progress has been made with a MAA Rules Engine concept
    • PTX testing environment is now set up
  • Challenges:
    • MAA Bugs and issues
    • Hackney dev resource (still a significant challenge which we’re focussing on solving)

Manage My Home – Yvonne – HackIT workstream DM

  • Celebrations:
  • Repairs Hub integration is almost ready – this is a great addition to the product which will make it much easier for housing officers and others to see the whole picture for residents. It’s not quite live yet as we need to finalise the  Google group permissions) 
  • Ever more progress towards building our first process
  • Humairaa’s great work on Patches API
  • Concerns:
    • Amido contract is ending soon so we need to spend time making sure we’ve got everything documented and a plan for what happens next

Repairs – Sarah – HackIT workstream DM

  • Celebrations
    • Building relationships with operatives/ supervisors as we continue to oversee onboarding at the DLO
    • Reporting available for bonus calculation
    • Time booked in with Advanced to address the issue with the sync issue with DRS
  • Challenges
    • Sync with DRS, we’ve increased this to every 15 minutes but we’re still not picking up certain changes from within DRS meaning some jobs are missing from the operative job list (though they still have the printed jobs so the jobs are still going ahead)
    • Solving the issue with the operative job splits

This weeknote is after a short gap as I was away in the Scottish Highlands last week. A tremendous amount of great work has been achieved in the last two weeks.

The key programme level news is that we have clarity on what’s next in terms of budget. This enables us to focus on moving through our roadmaps for the next few months – especially starting to look towards focusing on resident use of MTFH.

We’ve been gratified to see a number of applications for our current tender on the Digital Marketplace. The tender closes on Tuesday and we will be announcing the shortlist of five going to the proposal submission very shortly afterwards.

It was excellent to watch the show and tell for Manage My Home and see the repairs information for properties now being displayed along with hearing about the proposals for the service’s process engine and seeing the wireframes for the new work tray. It also blew me away to hear that in the ongoing process redesign work some processes have had their number of steps cut by nearly 50%. This will really enable our Housing Officers to spend more time with our most vulnerable residents. 

Manage Arrears continues to be used across the whole of the Rents team and as increasingly large amounts of the automation functionality is switched on this is enabling Rent Officers to spend less of their time on IT admin tasks and more on the strategy of which residents to target and how to work with them.

We are shortly going to be looking for a senior .NET contractor to come and work with us in the MTFH Finance workstream. If you know of anyone who is available and may be interested please drop me a line at david.durant@hackey.gov.uk.

Despite the ongoing technical integration issues the Repairs team are still working diligently onsite with the DLO operatives and steadily continue to increase both the number of users and the functionality they have via mobile working.

We’re still closely monitoring the integration points our workstreams have with each other and with other teams in HackIT. In particular we’re conscious of the possibility of MMH being blocked on delivering the first Housing processes by issues integrating with our Document Store service. We’ll be picking that up again at the start of next week.

Modern Tools for Housing – Programme week notes 5/11/21

Lots of excellent progress this week, but there’s some uncertainty in different areas which teams are grappling with. Here’s the updates from our workstreams.

Finance – Jay – HackIT workstream DM

  • Next Show and Tell: 9th November 2021
  • Celebrations:
    • PEN test for MAA has been completed and passed
    • 5000+ letters sent to residents
    • Resolved the Housing Search API blocker so work can continue
  • Challenges:
    • MAA Bugs and issues
    • Hackney dev resource 

Manage My Home – Yvonne – HackIT workstream DM

  • Celebrations:
    • The team smashing through tickets and getting loads of functionality and bug fixes done including being able to create new tenures
    • Starting three exciting things in this sprint: Showing Repairs Hub detail; Starting to build first process (sole to joint); and complete the patches API
    • Hugo’s walkthrough of Discretionary Officer process in the Show and Tell  – really well received with loads of audience engagement and questions  :tada:
    • Really supporting each other: we’ve been  tag teaming this week in getting a lot of things over lots of lines in short timeframes – has been intense!
  • Concerns:
    • Uncertainty about how we’ll deliver next phase as Amido contract ending
    • BA resource

Repairs – Sarah – HackIT workstream DM

  • Celebrations
    • Mobile Working launched with plumbers on November 1st
    • Addresses visible to the operative job list view – it’s the one feature every single operative has requested
    • Out of Hours repairs now being raised on Repairs Hub
  • Challenges
    • Bugs from the Mobile rollout
    • Dev capacity
    • Sync with DRS, we’ve increased this to every 15 minutes but we’re still not picking up certain changes from within DRS meaning some jobs are missing from the operative job list (though they still have the printed jobs so these are still going ahead)

Challenges

The Delivery Managers aren’t reviewing the new programme documentation as quickly as I’d like. We all agreed what would have value, but now the reality of all the daily delivery work they need to do, while working under high pressure with limited staff in key roles, means they’re not being able to prioritise time to actually do it. We’ll continue to discuss and work out how we prioritise .

We have a dependence on the Document Storage team especially as a blocker for the delivery of Housing processes in Manage My Home. To manage that I’m starting to consider a potential alternative interim solution.

We’re starting to think about how we transition from blended teams working in partnership with agencies to internal product teams. This will take time and careful thought and I’m starting to plan how we manage those handovers with the current agencies. 

Looking wider

This week I had the first of what will now be regular catch-ups with the head of the Housing Property and Asset Management (PAM) group. It went really well and we both learned a lot about each other’s team’s current work and future plans. There’s still quite a lot of uncertainty in this area around the purchase of a new PAM system and how that will fit in with the Asset microservice that we’ve built so ongoing conversations will be really useful.

Team and programme health 

We had our usual 3-weekly MTFH team leads retrospective. Three strong themes emerged – a desire for less change in the people allocated to the programme, having a better narrative to explain the great work we’ve done so far and making sure new people who join can get up to speed quicker. I’ll be speaking to people next week about the narrative – especially with the significant Housing Management Leaders meeting taking place in December. I’m also going to be working with the Delivery Managers to ensure they all have good processes for onboarding and offboarding new team members.

One of the key items for next week will be planning for our workshop to review the programme governance on the 17th. All the people taking part will be there in person, I’m very much looking forward to it.

Looking ahead

It’s good that we now have some clarity about how we’re moving forward with Managed Arrears. The existing system is now being used by the whole Income Services team and 1,000s of letters have been sent to residents. We’ve also approved the work for the new feature development on that system and for continued support. At the same time, the Income Services team are organising the pilot for RentSense and reporting back by the end of the month how it might fit in alongside our current product to deliver extra value.