Hackney Re-Platforming Weeknotes : week ending: 2019-12-13

Weeknotes 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 MaT offline when there is poor mobile coverage
  • Enable Hackney to decommission Outsystems, saving £80,000 per year
  • Enable Hackney to support, develop and deploy future improvements to MaT more quickly, at lower cost

Sprint goals:

The goals for Sprint 4 are to:

  1. Replatform all of the Tenancy and Household Check frontend (apart from save and return)
  2. Set up the API endpoints we need, including Create (POST) and Update (PUT)  
  3. Set up DocumentDB
  4. Understand how image persisting and retrieval will work in a way that balances technical requirements and good user experience
  5. Have handover plan agreed between dxw and HackIT 

Good things

We achieved a lot in our previous sprint. In particular, Mirela and Liudvikas successfully managed to set up the pipeline and cloud infrastructure; this is a great achievement considering the small size of the team. 

We have a way forward for successfully handing the front end work over to the wider HackIT team. There is still a lot to agree before we can do the handover, but the risk has been reduced significantly for the time being.

Our revised approach to sprint planning worked really well. This week we tried a different approach, bringing lots of the sprint ceremonies into a single day. This worked really well; although it was a very meeting-heavy day, it meant that the developers on the team were able to focus more during the rest of the week. We have a very well defined backlog, and everyone is clear on what needs doing.

Learned things

We learned about exactly what is needed to replatform both Home Check and Introductory Tenancy Visit. The remaining scope is achievable, and there is a lot of overlap with Tenancy and Household Check. We now have a great mapping of the questions between each process – this shows how much can be reused. Thanks to Gill for pulling that together.   

We reflected on the degree of testing that’s required. We agreed that we could have a slightly lighter test suite than we originally planned. The remultiform test suite and LBH-front-end-react have test suites already, which may address most of the things that we want to. This will help us spend more time replatforming the processes. We’ll monitor this decision as we go.

We became more confident in building our cloud infrastructure using Terraform. The cloud infrastructure has now been successfully set up. The code for it has been written in a way that can be used as an  example for other HackIT services to follow, when creating cloud infrastructure. 

Difficulties

We’re aware much of the progress on T&HC is not yet visible. We expect assembling processes to be a very quick job. But before we get to this point, there are several things we have had to put in place. We have taken the decision to rebuild Tenancy and Household Check using standard HTML components as a first pass. The full versions will be completed before the end of the project. Working this way will help us iron out kinks before replatforming future processes using the LBH-frontend-React patterns. 

We have a lot to do before the end of the project. We are still on track to achieve what we need to, but there are some things we can do to increase the likelihood of success.  

  • We’re going to use some days differently to give more time to completing the front end. We had some time allocated to James Smith to help the team in the final stretch. We now think this time is better spent getting the processes rebuilt in React. 
  • We’re going to remove distractions to help the team focus in the final few weeks of this stage of the project. This means allowing the team to work remotely more, and temporarily deprioritising some activities (we will pick them up again once the crunch is over). This includes delaying the Service Assessment for a short period, and temporarily parking some of the discussions about how we make this project an exemplar for reusing things across HackIT.

Acknowledgements

Thanks to everyone who worked on the project this week – Bukky, Chris, David, F, Gill, Liudvikas, Mirela, Richard and Tuomo.  

What’s next

This is our final week before we break for Christmas. Some of the team will continue working quietly between Christmas and New Year. This week we will be:

  • Running a Show and Tell (tomorrow at 3pm)
  • Doing more remote working to help the team focus
  • Replatforming of most of Tenancy and Household Check this week (with the rest picked up after Christmas)
  • Making progress on the handover plan
  • Working on the API endpoints, inc. object mapping and validating the required fields. 
  • Finish setting up DocumentDB

The following people will be working on the project:

  • Bukky
  • Chris
  • David 
  • Gill
  • Liudvikas
  • Lorraine
  • Mirela 
  • Richard
  • Tuomo
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