Manage Arrears weeknotes: w.c. 30/9/2019

Phase 3, Sprint 2

Last week, the Manage Arrears team focused on delivering our sprint two objectives. This included adjusting the prioritisation scoring. They will continue to work on this most of this week. 

Highlights of the week included;

  • A very productive meeting, with the Product Owner and key Leasehold Services stakeholders. During this meeting, we reviewed the objectives of our current phase (phase 3), discussed and agreed the prioritised backlog for sprint 3. Sprint 3 is set to be an exciting sprint because the tasks due to be introduced move us closer to getting more caseworkers using the Manage arrears system. We also started discussions about features for the next phase.
  • Working with the team from Made Tech’s office and attending a Learn Tech session hosted by Barry Anderson was the second highlight of the week. As a non-techie, I was slightly wary at first. But, it was great to have an opportunity to learn something new with the team. The session I attended was “How to measure team happiness”. I learned why it is important to have a happy team, a few techniques on how to measure happiness and factors we have control over versus those we can influence to encourage a healthy, happy team.

Next week:

  • The Product Owner and I will be meeting with Islington Council’s Income Manager to talk about our project and lessons learned etc.
  • Show and Tell (Thursday 10th Oct @10:30, 4th-floor HSC, in the standup area)

Manage Arrears weeknotes: w.c. 23/9/2019

Phase 3, Sprint 2

This week’s highlights:

The Team

I am really proud of the Manage Arrears team this week. We have had a few challenges to overcome both internally as a project team and with stakeholders. I would like to thank everyone for their dedication, support and for handling constructive criticism well. I can see that the whole team have a genuine passion and an invested desire to deliver the best product possible. A special well done, also goes to +Miles Alford and +Maysa Kanoni for their achievements this week.

Roles, Permissions and Patches Workshop

Earlier in the week, we brought the Income Collection team together with the Leasehold Services team in a workshop, to understand the differences and similarities between their roles. The purpose was to help the developers get some insight into how they will approach this part of the build. We now have a clear and simple structure to work from. This part of the development will be a Corporate benefit as it will allow multiple service areas including Leasehold Services to be easily embedded with the Manage Arrears system for future phases.


Elaine Geeves has done a great job, gathering potential efficiency savings that Phase 3 will offer. Each saving identified can be supported with evidence. The biggest value that Manage Arrears can demonstrate once delivered in phase 3 will comes from the automation of income collection’s letter 2. Letter 2 is the second letters sent as part of the escalation policy.

Next week:
*Usability Testing of the priority scoring adjustments
*Starting to work on the backend of the system to adjust the priority scoring

Manage Arrears weeknotes: w.c. 16/9/2019

Phase 3, Sprint 1:

This week’s highlights:

  • Discussion around patches and it value

We have a consensus that we can build patches into the system for the income collection team. It is important however that we think about how we can measure it, e.g. collection rates, activities around NOSPs served, no. of visits etc. It is also important that we build in flexibility so patches can be adapted in the future, these will be addressed during our workshop next week. + Rob Miller thank you for facilitating this week’s meeting.

  • Development

Our developers started working on some ‘Layout’ cards to get familiar with the Manage Arrears code and API integrations. Our developers have shown confidence, capability and a lot great initiative this week, especially + George Schena, one of our junior devs, +Elena Vilmite and +Kyle Chapman. Next week more complex cards will be introduced into Sprint 2.

  • Google Authentication 

Our tech lead, +Ben Pirt, began discussions with +Keith Gatt around authenticating our application against Google. The findings were that we need to use it for identity authentication and that although it is not mandatory for authorisation, we will need to use it for authorisation within the Manage Arrears system. We will continue our investigation into this. If anyone is interested in this, feel free to send us a message in slack #income collection.

Next week:

  • There will be an exciting workshop on roles, permissions and patches with users
  • Show and Tell (Thursday 26th Sept @10:30, 4th-floor HSC, in the standup area)
  • Sprint 2 begins on Thursday, where we will be introducing more complex tasks into the next sprint around prioritisation

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