Manage Arrears: Weeknotes w.c. 9/9/2019

Phase 3, Sprint 0:

This week has been quite intense. It started with an Inception workshop attended by key stakeholders. It covered what Phase 3 is about, what the Manage Arrears product currently does, the roadmap and how we plan to work together in an agile way.

The developers spent a few days familiarizing themselves with the product and its code. They ‘Mobbed’, which is a software development approach, where the whole team works on the same thing, at the same time, in the same space, and at the same computer.

As a group, we also went over two of the six epics in the backlog, ‘Prioritisation’ and ‘Layout’. This provided the developers with a deeper insight into user needs. Our developers also met and shadowed some frontline users in both the Income Collection (Rents) and Leasehold areas to get some context around the theory explained to them and how users operate in the field.

Towards the end of the week, we had our show and tell, we looked at the Risks, Issues, Assumptions and Dependencies of the project and had our first planning session.

Some of the risks highlighted were:
*Decision on patches
*Additional API requirements
*Gov Notifies – limitation on the number of pages it can print

The aim is to remove all dependencies as soon as possible.

Next week, we will start our sprint by addressing some of the layout tasks, we also plan to run a workshop on roles and permissions and a meeting has been set up to discuss patches.

Manage Arrears weeknotes: w.c. 26/8/2019

This week’s summary:

The Newly Awarded contract
Made Tech has won the tendering bid to extend the MVP for Manage Arrears. This week, we met to discuss the objectives, resourcing and planned our Inception workshop which will be taking place on the 9th September.

Over the past few months, we have been preparing the backlog ahead of the newly contracted team joining. During Made Tech’s first week with us in September, we will be bringing them up-to-date with backlog and projects development.

User Testing feedback (Case Details page)
We summarised last week’s user feedback. The testing re-highlighted the users’ passion, “As an income collection caseworker, I need to see the Payment history and Arrears Actions diary on the same page so I can assess and understand what is going on with a case at a glance and initiate the appropriate action.” The users all listed their preference in order which we will share with the developer in a couple of weeks. They all had very similar preferences.

GOV.UK Notify
This week we discovered that GOV.UK Notify invoice by Organisation rather than by service area. I’ve started looking into if they will be changing this in the long term and how/if other Councils recharge individual service areas.

Show and Tells
Manage Arrears show and tells, will recommencing from 11th Sept 2019 and will continue fortnightly through to December with updates on the project’s progress.

Up next:
1. Inception workshop 9/9/19
2. Show and Tell 11/9/19

Manage Arrears: Weeknotes w.c. 19/8/2019

This week we welcomed +Lia Tarar to our team, by inviting her along to our RAG (Red, Amber and Green) rating and priority scoring workshop. Lia is a Junior Developer, with Ruby skills and is a lovely addition to the team.

The outcome of the RAG rating and priority scoring workshop was interesting. The aim of the session was to show the product owner and the rents team how the different aspects of the scoring fitted with the RAG and the message flow. We found that our Product Owner would like Red cases to reflect top priorities P1s. Amber cases to reflect P2s. And the Green cases to remain as they are which is to reflect lower arrears cases which will generally be handled through automation. The outcome was interesting because this approach simplifies the existing rules for Red and Amber cases in the system.

This week, we also user-tested, the improved case details layout designs with the Income Collection team. Testers generally shared the same comments. Based on their feedback we have a clear idea of how features can be adjusted to increase the usability of the system. We plan to amalgamate the preferences into one design which will be shared with our UX/UI consultants and the developers joining in September.

Next week we will be:

  1. Collating the User testing, case details layout designs feedback.
  2. Updating the message flow based on the workshop feedback and preparing the automation stories in the backlog.
  3. Continuing to find solutions to the Hackney API/ Hackney action diary bug.

Manage Arrears weeknotes: w.c. 12/8/2019

This week has been a positive and productive week, for Manage Arrears. We have;

*Shortlisted Digitalmarket place bidders, and reviewed their proposals for Phase three. The outcome will be published shortly.

*+Trish Hadden shared some positive feedback relating to service charge arrears. Last month the team saw a huge reduction, approximately by 10%, in their arrears which is a result of their arrears letters being sent. Contributing factors from our project include;

  • The improved content redesign of the letters
  • The improved accuracy which comes from the bulk sending feature providing the ability to provide and send accurate and timely information.

*Many thanks to +Cate McLaurin for assisting with discussions around the Letter before action (LBA) and Ministry of Justice (MOJ) conversations. The Letter before action is a 14 paged letter sent to Lessee has part of the Service Charge escalation policy. We are investigating the possibility of an alternative solution to enclosing paper forms. Which will determine how these letters will be handled e.g. via Gov Notify.

*Also many thanks to +Carolina Gaspari for providing +Elaine Geeves and I with advice and guidance on UI and UX design. We learnt a lot. Particularly relating to simple tips about making use of lines and space and grouping text. We have since adjusted the layout of our wireframes to reflect the advice. Our Product owner was shown the example of these and he is in full support of us user testing these with his team next week.

Next week we will be:

  1. User testing case details layout designs with the Income Collection team
  2. Working to resolve the Hackney API/ Hackney action diary bug.
  3. Continuing to finalise LBA stories.

Manage Arrears weeknotes: w.c. 5/8/2019

This week +Elaine Geeves and I aligned the new Manage Arrears prioritisation scoring adjustments up with the Manage Arrears Message Flow which will be used to automate communications and the RAG which categorises the cases. We will be sharing this with the wider income collection team shortly, to ensure everyone has a shared understanding of how the three fit together. Many thanks to +Elaine Geeves we needed this!

The important cases with high priorities will be correctly positioned and no cases will fall through the gaps. The good thing that came out of this exercise was that no major changes are required to make the three elements work together.

We also shortlisted the Digital marketplace applicants for Phase 3’s business case this week and last week we said thanked and goodbye to +Guy Whitfield, the Senior Delivery Manager on our project.

What’s Next… 

As mentioned in the previous week notes, the business case for Phase 3 includes a few key workstreams. Our focus for next week will be finalising the finer details in the two areas below:

1. Letter Before Action

2. Case Details Layout

Letter Before Action (Leasehold Services Team’s arrears letter)

Amending the ‘Letter before action’ and adding it into the system will benefit both the Lessees and caseworkers. We will be meeting with Team leads to discuss options and agree its format for the next phase.

Case Details Layout

We will be working on prototypes to capture the layout improvements in the backlog with the aim to obtain feedback from the users in the following week. The outcomes of both will be attached to existing cards in our backlog helping to ensure they are clear and stories are ready for the new team for Phase 3 join.