Purpose of these weeknotes
To give a little attention to the Manage Arrears dev team who have been smashing it since May, often in tricky circumstances and a complex subject area.
Looking back on previous weeknotes I haven’t really spoken that much about the team themselves. I have spoken a lot about what they’ve done and challenges and how they’ve overcome them but not really about them as a team, who they are and what they’ve been like to work with.
I think this is partly a result of working fully remotely. Not having those normal face to face interactions, which provide a bit of texture to the memories that we have over the course of a week. So in these weeknotes I’m gonna set out who is in the team and set out who is in the team and what they’ve done this week with a little more reference to the actual people involved than normal.
The dev team
So, our team is made up of some contractors from Made Tech, complemented by some people from Hackney. On the MadeTech side we have El, who has worked on two previous phases of Manage Arrears. She’s an old cynic when it comes to Manage Arrears, but knows where all the technical bodies are buried (and more importantly why we buried them there in the first place).
We have Csaba, Ninamma and Antony who are new to this phase. Antony is the senior developer, who is always very calm and considered when taking us through his ideas. Csaba has been the star of many a live demo so far this phase. Although, he wouldn’t appreciate me pointing this out, as he normally thinks they’ve gone disastrously wrong. Ninamma has come on in leaps and bounds, has an A class gif game and has introduced me to the world of floating point number errors.
I’ve been really impressed by how focused the team is on self-improvement. They have been consistent in asking me for feedback with a persistence and enthusiasm I’ve not often experienced . Sometimes I’ve felt bad that I haven’t given as constructive feedback as I could’ve but that partly because I’ve been saying you should continue in the same vein, which no one wants to hear.
They have been complimented on the Hackney side of things by Miles and Elaine. Miles is a Hackney apprentice developer, who was on the project last phase as well. Miles, despite his best efforts, is our resident letter template guru. He is an excellent addition to this team. I hope he will be able to stay on this project in future phases to continue his learning, which everyone has been seriously impressed by.
Elaine has been on this project since day dot. I think she is the last person standing from phase 1, which is no mean feat. She is the font of all knowledge and wisdom when it comes to Universal Housing. On several occasions I’ve had to tell her to stop being so helpful to the rest of the service because she is the go-to person to ask UHW questions, such is her in-depth knowledge of workflows.
Jenny and Liam, from FutureGov and Hackney respectively, have been involved in the design and research side of things. Jenny’s research and design of agreements was crucial in building momentum for it at the early stages. It would have been excellent to have had more of her time, but we were limited by budgets and logistics.
We’ve worked with a number of different MadeTech delivery managers in this phase: Becks, Lu and Paul. Who’ve been incredibly supportive for me during this phase. We’ve also been supported by Ben Pirt, a technical architect, who has done a lot of work to make sure that our architecture is robust.
This week one of the key outputs was variable payments.
One of the key parts of this extension was allowing for Variable payments. This allows an officer to set an agreement with an initial lump sum followed by regular payment. Csaba as part of his ongoing crusade to deliver things more quickly confidently declared that a feature flag was completely unnecessary. This week he has been proven right and they have gone live! 🎉
We had a review of this functionality with a product owner and received feedback that our Agreements system is “easy-peasy” 🍋. I think we can all agree that is the highest compliment a system can receive.
Miles has continued to add court letters to the system. These additional letters were a key thing that we were looking to deliver during the extension. They are much more dynamic than the letters previously were, removing the need for officers to edit them themselves, speeding up the process and reducing the risk of errors.
El also insisted that we improve the user journey by making court agreements and informal agreements more distinguishable. She has carried out minor changes to the UI to make this clearer. Addressing a regular user feedback for the service being slow, she implemented infinite scrolling so a case profile loads faster.
If I haven’t mentioned anyone it’s probably because they were quietly behind the scenes knocking out some fixes or improvement, that are important but unglamorous.
Previous Show and Tells and weeknotes:
No weeknotes (DM on Annual Leave)
Weeknotes 5 W/C 10.08.2020
Weeknotes 4 W/C 27.07.2020
No weeknotes (DM on Annual Leave)
Weeknotes 3 W/C 29.06.2020
Weeknotes 2 W/C 15.06.2020
Weeknotes 1 W/C 01.06.2020