Multifunctional devices: Out with the old, in with the new Weeknote 11th September 2020

I’m going to say this is the first weeknote because I don’t think last week’s monthnote counted

It’s been another busy one with the main headline being that we have Canon devices successfully installed in three of our core campus buildings!

The rollout went pretty well overall but in the spirit of continuous improvement, we held a retrospective with Canon and worked out our Good, Bad and To Do Better things for our next set of deliveries. It was a great session that really cemented how we want to work together going forward (which is open and honestly as one team).

We suffered a blow at the start of the week when we had to delay the delivery of the remaining devices for core campus by at least 2 weeks. This is due to a much larger than previously anticipated backlog of devices which is a shame.

We don’t have the new dates scheduled yet but we be getting them sorted early next week.

We progressed great guns with planning our satellite site fleet design despite being terrified at the scale and scope of the thing. We came up with a really clear way forward on how to assess if a device is a candidate for removal or not. We’re going to be looking at the following to inform our proposal:

  • Average monthly print volume pre covid
  • Number of printers at the site
  • Geographic closeness to other potential printers
  • The type of printer in use
  • Approx volume of staff at site
  • Number of ‘unique’ staff printing

We have access to all of this data but we need to collate it into a single place to make a reasonable assessment and proposal.

The geographic element of this is quite important but we were floundering with how to work this out. Fortunately, we were saved by Marta in our fabulous data and insight team. She whipped us up a map which plots all the satellite site locations, lets us measure the walking distance between them and tells us how many devices they have there currently when we hover over. Arfan and I were delighted about this.

emma with two thubs up and arfan smiling on a virtual meeting

Finally, we held our 4th show and tell. You can find the recording and slides to peruse at your leisure.

We’re going to be putting most of our efforts next week into getting a proposal together for our satellite site fleet design so that we can share it with our colleagues and start to get some feedback.

Onecase: Return of the implementing a Council Wide casework management system project

I know you will all have been waiting with baited breath for a restart date since we announced we were pausing this project (I know I have). Well, happy day everyone. It’s here.

If you don’t remember, here’s where we left things:

  • 3 of 4 rounds of UAT complete
  • Integration with MySociety planned
  • Environmental UAT planning well under way
  • Administrator training due to take place
  • Train the trainer sessions due to take place
  • Roll out plan formed

We’re picking back up where we left off but reviewing as we go. As you can imagine, we need to validate to make sure that what was planned before is still viable and makes sense. Some of it does, some of it doesn’t e.g. part of our roll out plan was to have floor walkers and champions who would hold ‘drop ins’ for people to come and learn how to use Onecase. In COVID world, that’s not possible. We’ll be reviewing and re-planning as and when we find we need to rather than spend weeks upfront identifying everything that needs to change.

The core team has reconvened and will, for the most part, be the same as it was before. The wonderful Mandy has retired so we’ll have to cope without her. Another change will be that Darren McCormac (of Platform API Project fame) will be running the project through to live. Emma is covering the kick off whilst Darren is on leave recharging his batteries.

The Civica team is rejoining us on Monday (14th September) to kick their part of the project back off again.

This is how I imagine our reunion on Monday

Colleagues in adult social care, children’s social care, mayor and cabinet office and the business analysis and corporate complaints team have been busy making sure all the issues at the end of the third round of UAT are re-tested and ready to go back to Civica.

We don’t have a new go live date but you can bet your bottom dollar it’ll be in a weeknote when we do.

Until next week…

Multifunctional Devices: Out with the old, in with the new – ‘Monthnote’ August 2020

The observant among you will have noticed that two show & tells for our project have happened but there have been no weeknotes. That’s entirely Emma’s bad. Between annual leave, bank holidays and the general August madness, they had simply been forgotten but, no more!

I am dubbing this a ‘monthnote’. That’s right. I’m going to tell you about ALL of August in one fell swoop. Hold onto your hats (there will be GIFs).


The project started in February 2020 with the aim of reviewing and refreshing the multifunctional device (MFD) fleet across all Hackney Council buildings. It had just started to get traction when COVID-19 hit and our ways of working changed dramatically.

This resulted in a pivot for the project from planning a printer fleet suitable for buildings full of staff to planning for as yet unknown workspaces.

Changes to our buildings are still happening to make them safe for staff and the public so it was imperative that the planned fleet was flexible enough to serve the needs of our users. This is reflected in our vision:

Supporting sustainable printing in a modern workplace

We also have some clear goals for the project that will keep us focussed and centered as our ways of working continue to evolve:

  • Enable printing from any device, anywhere
  • Implement a service that is easy to support
  • Contribute to a greener Hackney
  • Form and implement a data strategy for good analytics
  • Have accessible, easy reporting for the new fleet

The team

The project team did great work making sure the right people were involved in the correct conversations and that they happened at the appropriate time. This resulted in a shift of what the core team looked like. We are now the sensational 6:

  • Alexey – Technical lead
  • Arfan – Fleet manager
  • Emma – Delivery Manager
  • Ollie – Project Lead
  • Jackie – Project Support
  • Tony – Product Owner

We also implemented more regular agile ceremonies and have a quick 15 minute catch up every day as well as 2 weekly print planning and retros. The new structure and team understanding really helped the team gel and prepared us for what was to come.

The work

The biggest success of August 2020 was being completely, 100% ready to get new Canon devices into Hackney Council core campus* buildings in September.

We are drastically reducing the number of MFDs in buildings (to reflect the drastically reduced number of staff in said buildings), and we had to physically prepare the space for this reduction. It was a lot of work to get the old Xerox machines ready for collection and return. Arfan worked tirelessly to organise access to closed buildings and stay safe as he did all the work during the pandemic. By the end of August, the only Xerox devices remaining were the ones we planned to straight swap for a new Canon device. We couldn’t have done this without our colleagues in facilities management so huge thanks to them.

We didn’t do this…..

Alexey coordinated end to end testing of the technical implementation for new Canon devices by running a pilot. We located 1 machine in Hackney Service Centre and one in Hackney Education’s building. We chose these 2 locations as Hackney Education has their own technical implementation and network so we needed to ensure that our end to end test worked for both sets of technical requirements. We succeeded and completed our test plan at both sites. Additionally, we documented what we did so that we can rinse repeat it when the time comes for over 60 satellite sites** across Hackney.


Communicating with our colleagues about changes and progress is key so we held two show and tells, one on 11th August and the next on 25th August. You can rewatch on Youtube if you’d like. Ollie and Jackie worked on a comms strategy for the roll out so that users will be able to succeed first time when they print. Once it’s all in place, you can expect to see posters, intranet guidance and signage around our buildings to help you out when you need to use an MFD. Hannah Saunders has been collaborating on this with us as she is involved with the work to get staff back into our building safely so she’s ideally placed to liaise with us on the best way to communicate.

This is what’s NOT going to happen now we know how to best communicate

Finally, Tony and our Service Delivery Manager, Paul Tyler, agreed how the new devices will be supported between service support and the print room. We settled on a minimalistic approach to get us started as we A) have no idea what kinds of issues we might encounter with these new machines and B) will be supporting far fewer of them. We’ve got our starter for 10 and a date in the diary to review and change as we need to. It’s a bit of a new approach for the teams but, as Moira would say:

I’ll leave it there for this whistle stop monthnote and, rest assured, there will be weeknotes from now on.

*The core campus is a group of buildings located very close to Hackney town hall

**Satellite sites are further away from hackney town hall and could be hospitals, libraries, neighbourhood offices etc.

Transforming Print & Post – Weeknote 23rd July 2020

Brought to you by Maria & Claire

This is the last weeknote for this phase of our project to Transform Print & Post at Hackney Council. If you want to catch up on what we did last week, you can still read that (and all our other) weeknotes.

This week was all about rounding the project to an end and ensuring that we had created a service which was fit for purpose, showing how we got to where we did and providing the evidence to build a Business Case for the implementation of this new service.

The long read

We started our week by making changes to the service blueprint by incorporating all the comments and features suggested by users and the technical aspects of the chosen fulfilment solutions.

On the front-end, we articulated a to-be service blueprint with all the features and suggestions for later implementation. On the back-end, a Minimum Viable Product (MVP) blueprint, showing how the highest priority requirements  will be initially implemented. We had a demo for two of the proposed fulfilment solutions, Connect Send and GOV.UK Notify (thank you David Durant).

We finalised a blueprint for the outgoing post and another one for the incoming post

Later on, we assessed the proposed service against the user needs and requirements, this meant we could justify if we have met or haven’t met the user needs.

user needs marked as met or not met

We did this by putting a tick against the user needs that our service has met and created a document explaining our rationale behind it. We also identified caveats for when meeting user needs. In some cases, the design theoretically met the needs but we would only know for certain when developing the solution further. Examples of this could be, after the development and user testing of the solution, or after creating the content of the pages that will be seen by the user.

To make continuing with the project as seamless as possible, we compiled our procedure notes. These are a summary of what we did, the decisions we made and the evidence to back up those decisions. This task took a lot of focus because it entailed revisiting everything we have done in the project over the last five weeks. 

After looking at the past, we started looking at the future of the service and how its success will be measured. To do that we did consequences scanning and action sorting. We started by thinking what were the intended and unintended consequences of this service. We then grouped them by affinity and plot them in an action sorting map. The map allowed us to define whether we could act on a consequence, influence it or just monitor it. Each of these groups were also ranked as low or high priority. From the action sorting, we dot-voted the consequences we thought were most important and defined our success criteria and its Key Performance Indicators (KPIs). We want our service to:

  • Divert 45 % of franked Mail through the new service
  • Increase Print Room volume by 17%
  • Reduce MFD Volumes by a further 10% on current predictions in yr 1
  • Have 70% of users rate the service as “Good” or better

Towards the end of the sprint, we started thinking about next steps for the project. We put together a backlog with themes and epics for further development of the service. Our four themes are:

  • One Stop Shop
  • Back-end fulfilment solutions
  • Staffing & Support
  • Incoming Post

We also generated epics to support our themes and prioritised them.

Visualisation of epics and themes
Our themes and the epics we identified
epic priority represented in a snake shape
Our ‘Priority Python’ showing how epics form different themes sit in relation to one another

We held our final show and tell which you can watch on YouTube and review the slides of.

The next steps will be to create a business case to move our work into prototyping before continuing with the Hackney Agile Lifecycle.

Project roadmap reflecting the agile lifecycle

Thank you so much for reading our final weeknote and we look forward to continuing the work to transform print & post at Hackney Council

Transforming Print & Post – Weeknote 16th July 2020

This is the penultimate (5 of 6) weeknote for this phase of our project to Transform Print & Post at Hackney Council. If you want to catch up on what we did last week, you can still read that (and all our other) weeknotes.

TL:DR Version

I feel like I say this every week but… it was a busy one. This week’s focus was squarely on wider validation of our idea and data gathering to support shortlisting of fulfilment solutions.

We got a group of 11 interested folks together and gave them a more detailed run through of our proposed solution than we had time to do at show & tell. We then asked them for their feedback via a Google form. The topline feedback was that 90% of users liked the solution and 63% felt it met their needs fully with the rest feeling their needs were met partially.

It was all hands to the pumps to gather as much data about costs, turn around times and services offered with regard to our current fulfilment solutions. We did this so that we could create a shortlist of the best’ ones to plug into our new service to fulfil users needs. This all culminated in sessions on Thursday where we chose our top 2 for each of our top priority print requirements.

Next week, we will be finalising our blueprint by adding in the different solutions for each set of print requirements, producing a roadmap of work required to implement our solutions, defining our success criteria and KPIs and getting ready to present everything back to you in our final show & tell (not much…).

The Long Read

We started our week with our final sprint planning of this phase. It felt like there was a lot left in the backlog but that it was doable. Our goal this sprint is:

Our focus is to refine, validate and communicate our granular service blueprint based on our learnings. We believe producing a robustly tested, granular service blueprint that demonstrates good customer service and value will form a solid foundation to continue this work. We will know this is done when we have a set of artefacts and a roadmap which lays out how we will move our service into implementation.

The team on Monday morning

Again, we were really conscious to include our actions from last sprints retro in our planning to ensure the ways we are working get iterated just as much as the work we are doing does.

The main task was to complete was desk research around the current print and post fulfilment solutions available to users. There are, at least, 6 ways to print and/or post something in the Council. We gathered and backwards engineered as much comparable data as we could around pricing and turn around times as we could. This meant we had to choose some standard requirements e.g. 5 sheets of double sided printed in black and white in a C5 envelope sent first class.

Where does it start? Where does it end? We didn’t know…

We collated this all into a (beautiful) spreadsheet and then scored them (much like you would score applications to tender). This enabled us to form a shortlist of potential fulfilment solutions for the printing and posting requirements that occur most commonly. These are:

  • C5 envelope with 5 sheets of double sided black & white print posted 2nd Class
  • C5 envelope with 5 sheets of double sided black & white print posted Class
  • C5 envelope with 5 sheets of double sided colour print along with a 3 page booklet insert posted 2nd Class
  • C4 envelope with 5 sheets of double sided black & white print posted 1st Class Recorded

We dug a bit deeper into the shortlisted solutions to uncover and record complexity, dependencies and unknowns. This allowed us to size them (XL, L, M, S). We also allocated them an impact number (based on how many of our MoSCoW needs they met). We then plotted them on a graph of Impact and effort to identify which solutions would be taken forward into implementation as a priority.

effort and impact blank graph

On top of all that, we held our last walkthrough and feedback session with 11 users. We took them through our solution idea in more detail than we covered at the show & tell. This meant our users got the chance to ask more pointed and specific questions as well as being able to provide feedback for us to consider in future iterations.

The topline feedback was that 90% of users liked the solution and 63% felt it met their needs fully with the rest feeling their needs were met partially. We also gathered some great ideas about what would enhance the offer even further and identified a few gaps that we can work to fill e.g. legal documents with the need for ‘wet’ signatures etc.

Next week is our final week.

We will be forming our implementation roadmap, defining success criteria and KPIs, finalising the granular blueprint, publishing our last weeknote and holding our final show & tell.