Hackney Re-Platforming Weeknotes Week ending: 2019-10-25

Week notes are a way for us to keep people informed about progress on the project. Given the technical nature of the re-platforming work we will use them to explain technical choices that we are making, including the benefit and impact of these choices.  

Project goals

  • Enable housing officers to use Manage a Tenancy offline when there are mobile coverage blackspots
  • Enable Hackney to support, develop and deploy future improvements to Manage a Tenancy more quickly, at lower cost

The goal for this week was to ensure that we are in a great place to start sprinting from Wednesday next week. The new desks have been delivered here at HackIT and, as you can see, they’re right next to our project wall which allows anyone to track how we’re doing and provide feedback by leaving a trusty post-it.

Good Things

We had a number of good conversations this week about further work that the team is looking forward to doing as part of the ongoing Manage a Tenancy development. We’ve kept a very close eye on scope creep for the current round of delivery as we’re aware we have a fairly limited amount of time to deliver what we’ve committed to. We’re focusing very strongly on making our supported processes available offline so we can enable Housing Officers to use the service in our tenant’s homes.

We’ve been catching up with our colleagues who produce the dashboards for our Area Housing Managers to enable them to manage their teams of Housing Officers. They work with the same data we use in Manage a Tenancy so we need to make sure that nothing we’re doing in our current development will adversely affect them. To our happy surprise not only are we confident of not breaking what they’re doing but we were also to supply them with extra data that they can use to improve what they’re doing!

We had a good conversation with our colleagues in Applications Support about how we can help them gain some new skills so they can support services that are being built in-house by HackIT. It’s great to continue cross-team collaboration in HackIT.

The team has also been focusing on finishing the technical preparations for starting next week by ensuring that our continuous development pipeline is in good order. This is a collection of software packages that automate steps in our software delivery process, such as initiating code builds, running automated tests (including security) and deploying to our production environment.

We also started discussing the Service Standard assessment for this work and look forward to more planning for that in the near future.

Finally, we continued to think about how we can prepare future work to iterate and improve Manage a Tenancy after the current piece of development has been completed. We’re very happy with how our service design work is going to line up potential new features to be delivered in 2020 and we’re thinking about what a service high-level roadmap might look like.

Learned things

The team learned a lot more about “DevOps” – a set of practices that automates the processes between software development and IT teams. We’ve been working alongside colleagues in HackIT’s Infrastructure team to learn about CircleCI, Docker, Terraform and much else besides.

Folks who are new to Hackney Council have continued to learn about the Manage a Tenancy service and are looking forward to working with the users of our software to make sure it works great for them.

Difficulties

We’re still not in a place where we fully understand how we’re going to support the existing system while simultaneously working on the new development. That’s something the team will agree next week. We’ve also had some minor issues with team members having to work on high-priority issues on other HackIT services – this is something we’ll need to carefully manage going forward.

Achievements

  • The whole team has been doing a great job in ensuring that our technical development infrastructure will be in place to start cutting code next week
  • Chris has been working hard to come up to speed on the HackIT front-end component library
  • Shweta continued to provide stella support for our existing system while preparing for the new development work

What’s next

We will :

  • Start sprinting next week!
  • Plan our first show and tell – which will be made available in real-time to our Housing colleagues in locations around the borough and put online so people can watch in their own time
  • Start delivering code into production (vs. many weeks before that happened if this was a non-Agile project)

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