Hackney Digital Forms w/c 24th June 2019

What’s it all about?

This is the first weeknote for a project that’s been going on for a little while at HackIT now. This one will be fairly brief but there will be much more coming soon.

I’ll go into some of the detail in a moment but first a quick comment about the title. This isn’t set in stone at the moment so may potentially change for the next update. If that happens I’ll make sure I put links in both posts so interested readers can track what’s been happening.

Okay – this work stream is in relation to investigating whether HackIT should invest time (and potentially budget) in a “form builder” product to enable to a more rapid deployment of services for users.

The work is itself divided into three parts.

Prototype service design

This is a piece of work that has been lead by Rahma, with Kirstine’s help, to investigate the user needs for a specific set of HR processes. It will be used as guide to help us decide which “form builder” tool(s) we might wish to use to build a prototype to test with.

Prototype technical integration

This is a piece of work that will start soon to verify what technical work will need to be undertaken to interface the design of the prototype with our existing HR systems.

“Form builder” needs and market analysis

You may have noticed that throughout I’ve been putting “form builder” in quotes. This is because there is still a diversity of opinion in the team as to what the requirements are for any product we might buy, reuse for free (e.g. open source) or build ourselves. The current most important thing for the project is to lock down our fundamental set of requirements as a set of user needs.

At the same time we’re going to start looking at what systems are available that we could use. Our original estimate was that there would be 3 or 4 potential products we could look at since one of our red-lines is that it general GDS Design System widgets. Instead a cursory search has turned up over 12 potential systems we could use. Defining a set of criteria to score each of these again, based on the above user needs, is going to be key to enabling us to decide which small number we’re going to further investigate by using them to each build the prototype discussed above.


I’m personally very interested in how not just HackIT but the much wider government digital community can make use of this kind of tooling to quickly produce services that can potentially be used by multiple organisations such organisations. There’s a number of related projects in various stages of development and support in different parts of government so, as part of this work, I’m reaching out to see if there’s potential for creating a community to discuss what we could do together.

What’s next?

It’s been difficult to get this project going as everyone involved is also responsible for multiple other projects with pressing deadlines. In order to give us some impetus I’ve created regular stand-ups and show and tells. I’ll also be posting weeknotes like this every Friday to show the progress we’re making.

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