Hackney Re-Platforming Weeknotes : week ending 2019-12-20

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 Manage a Tenancy 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 Manage a Tenancy 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’re getting quicker at building process steps. Yesterday we managed to build a whole process step in under an hour, which bodes well for the final few weeks of the project. There’s been a lot of work to get to this point, but we will now start seeing faster visible progress.

We sorted out how image capture works offline. This was one of the last tricky pieces that Chris and F had to resolve. It’s something that is used across multiple process steps, and getting this resolved will unblock the rest of the Tenancy and Household Check work.

We’re making good progress in the backend work. Mirela has successfully set up DocumentDB, and with Liudvikas’ help is making good progress on the POST API and we’re in the process of hooking the frontend up to that API.

Things we learned or decided

We reviewed all the processes to confirm what extra data is required from other sources. Most of what we need will come from Universal Housing, which is good news. 

We agreed how image persisting will work. We’ll add some endpoints to the process API that will eventually do some image processing and send to the S3 platform API. We’ll send and fetch the images one at a time, but possibly in concurrent requests. The UX consequence of this is that we can show the user the current progress rather than a long “loading” screen with no indication of progress.

Difficulties

We have had to temporarily deprioritise some non-replatforming work that had crept into the team. There is a pressing need to improve how Cautionary Contact is dealt with in Manage a Tenancy. The team felt that it wasn’t possible to deliver this alongside the replatforming work, and we’ve taken the decision to park this for the time being. 

There are a lot of dependencies between the frontend and backend aspects of the work. If we don’t manage these dependencies closely there is a risk that we finish the project with a front end that isn’t properly plumbed in. This is something we’ll look to mitigate during our next sprint planning. 

Acknowledgements

Huge thank you to everyone who has worked on the project these past few weeks. We break for Christmas in a good position to get the remaining work completed early next year. We hope that everyone is able to enjoy a well earned rest.

What’s next

During out mid-sprint review we discussed what outstanding work we needed to complete before we can successfully wrap up this stage of the project. Both F and Mirela felt that we are on track as we head into the final sprint; we still need to make sure that the team are free from distractions but we are in a good place. 

We will be planning our final sprint on Wednesday 8th January. Some of the team will be quietly working between now and then. When we come back in the new year we will have two weeks of Emma Lewis’s time, which will be a good opportunity to work together on building Introductory Tenancy Visit.  

Other things we’ll be doing in the next few weeks: 

  • Finishing the necessary backend work, including a PUT API endpoint, S3 images API and spinning up production infrastructure. 
  • Finishing the remaining process steps for Tenancy and Household Check, Home Check and Introductory Tenancy Visit. 

Between now and 7th January the following people will be working on the project:

  • Bukky
  • Chris
  • Emma
  • F
  • Gill
  • Liudvikas

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