Property and Asset Management (PAM) data project weeknotes w/c 05.08.19

This week we focused on two main areas: continuing to better understand the scale of the issues with property and asset management data and also starting to think about how we might use the LLPG to address some of these issues (awful pun not-intended).

In order to make sure that we were aligned with other work that had been done in this area we spoke to Ian Marriot and team (including +Clayton Daniel as our demo-master) who explained the thinking that has guided their efforts on the Property Index. This tool compares data on Universal Housing (UH) and Codeman (the asset management system PAM uses currently).

This gave us a helpful overview of the scale of some of the data quality issues and also a view of some of the things they’ve considered to improve them. There were some headline numbers (more dwellings on UH than Codeman), which had reasonable explanations (UH includes additional dwelling types like temporary accommodation), but others that revealed more of a problem (blocks or sub-blocks marked as disabled on Codeman but not marked on UH).

In addition to this we have started to put together a list of all the teams / services in Hackney that make direct use of PAM data and which data items they are interested in. This will help us to start to build a picture of which data items are the mainstream ones that we need to be accommodating in our solution.

It has also helped us hone our thinking on where we draw the line in terms of which data elements to add into the LLPG to ensure we can maintain data quality (of both our address data itself which is super important to protect, as well of PAM data itself). We’ll need to come up with some clear criteria to test with PAM colleagues in the next sprint.

This week we have started to look in more detail at the LLPG itself. This has prompted a discussion about how we will test the hierarchies in the LLPG. We have discussed the merits of cross referencing vs parent child relationships as a method of creating our hierarchies in the LLPG.

We chose to test cross referencing rather than parent child as parent child itself would not allow us to have enough layers in the hierarchy due to limitations of the LLPG structure and software we use to maintain it. We considered a hybrid of parent child and cross-refs, but in our discussions parent child did not seem to have any significant benefit.

Before the end of this sprint we’ll be talking through the pros and cons of this approach with the Dev team, Apps Management and other Data & Insight reps to get some healthy challenge and ensure that our proposed approach won’t cause unnecessary work for them down the line in surfacing PAM data for applications or reporting.

DevOps Practices Weeknotes w/c 05.08.19

What’s happened since last time?

Since July we have been busy preparing the ground for the first alpha / prototype phase of the DevOps practices work. 

At the end of discovery we had 5 hypotheses to test with various teams in HackIT. We’re beginning with these two:

  • “Adopting a consistent approach to containerisation will make it easier and more efficient to develop, test and (re)deploy services”
  • “Picking a primary cloud supplier will save time & money”

We have grouped the other 3 hypotheses into 2 further alpha/ prototype phases, which will be carried out later in the year. We chose to do this to make sure that we were not overloading busy teams now. This will also give us the flexibility to have different people involved in different parts of the work.

Following DMT discussions they have decided that one of them should be responsible for this work as a product owner. Involvement from a suitable product owner was also a recommendation from our discovery assessment. 

For this alpha / prototype Cate will be taking on this role. In discovery we spoke a lot about how ‘DevOps’ approaches will be as much a cultural change as a technology one. Given Cate’s responsibilities in this area this fits really well.

So what’s happening next?

Next week we are kicking off again in earnest. We will be running workshops to learn more about the current situation of containerisation and deployment in HackIT. 

We will first focus on the work the API-Factory team have been doing in this area. After that we will look at what other colleagues have been developing/testing/thinking about.

By having these workshops and conversations we hope to be able to answer the questions of: 

  • what are the details of our current approach to containerisation and why? 
  • what is HackIT’s future ambitions in this space?

Please let me know if you have any questions or want to be involved in these next steps.

What has happened so far on the DevOps practices project?

For those of you who have joined HackIT since the last update or who didn’t follow the DevOps practices project before (shame on you!) so far on the DevOps practices project we have completed our discovery. 

In this work we are working alongside an agency called Digi2al. During the discovery we were able to build an understanding of the issues that affected our ability to deliver and maintain fantastic products. Here is the link to DevOps practices on pipeline. Our show and tells slides are in the comments.

Property and Asset Management (PAM) Data Project – Weeknotes 1 w/c 15.07.2019

This is the first set of weeknotes for the PAM Data project and yes, I don’t yet have a better name for it. I tried to verbify by calling it ‘Get accurate PAM data’ but that still doesn’t feel quite right. Answers on a postcard please.

This phase of the project came about as a result of some excellent research carried out by the data and insight team earlier this year.  Through their research they came up with the recommendation that “we invest to expand the LLPG to operate as the central, trusted source of unique references to support our property data schema”. 

During this phase of the PAM Data Project (😬) we will be testing this recommendation to see if the LLPG is something that can become a ‘central trusted source’ for the majority of use cases of PAM data. This is part of a strategic move to make us less dependent on Universal Housing as a source of important data. 

The team is made up of: 

  • myself as a Delivery Manager
  • Lindsey Coulson as the product owner of the LLPG
  • Lisa Stidle working on data strategy
  • Herminia Matheiu and Yash Shah from Housing working as data analysts
  • Liz Harrison as the project sponsor

This project is being run using the scrum methodology, this is the first time that many of the team have worked in this way so I’m really interested in the feedback at retros to know how they find it.

This week we kicked off the prototype / alpha phase with a planning session. Lisa, Liz and Lindsey had worked to produce a backlog and a team board with some hypotheses that this phase should test. We were able to use this to plan our first sprint’s worth of work that we are now working our way through. We will have a show and tell on the 31st of July for those that are interested.

This sprint is focused on researching and agreeing with stakeholders a first pass at the hierarchy of data items: floor, sub block, block and so on. Further to this we are keen to build on the work that multiple teams have done on property data for various projects. If you think that any work you’ve done could feed into this please get in touch.