Manage a Tenancy week notes 2019-11-08

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 MaT offline when there are mobile coverage blackspots
  • 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

The goal for this first sprint is to lay the technical foundations that will help us deliver the project successfully. This includes:

  • Defining and implementing an MVP deployment pipeline. This will allow us to release working code smoothly.
  • Building a data-driven front-end system. This will reduce the amount of effort required to build and improve processes.
  • Beginning to populate a React component library. This will allow us to reuse visual components when building processes, speeding up the process while also maintaining consistency in design.
  • Further defining how we deliver the project in the right way (this includes carrying out a privacy impact assessment, identifying priorities for the service assessment and agreeing what user testing we need). This will reduce the risk of us hitting pitfalls later on.  
  • Identifying a suitable database solution to store data recorded as part of MaT processes that will be flexible and extensible to accommodate the various data structures of the different processes. 

Good Things

We’re largely on track to achieve our sprint goals. We are making progress in laying the technical foundations and are where we need to be at this stage of the project. 

  • We have a clear sense of what we need from the pipeline, with the essential pieces in place for now. 
  • We have started to create the data-driven frontend system and have started populating the component library; once this is complete we’ll be able to start rebuilding processes.  
  • We have a well defined database solution. We’ve done research, set up a test database, and defined how the API will work. 

Testing of the refreshed Tenancy and Household Check process is going well. Gill has been getting feedback from Housing Officers, and this has been going well. We are on track to have an agreed set of wireframes that we can build from by the end of this sprint; these include some extra steps to make offline working clearer.  

We’re working well as a blended team. Although it can take time for newly formed teams to hit their stride, the general feeling in the team is that we are communicating well with each other and are able to make decisions together. There is more we can do to increase the visibility of what each other is doing (see below) but we have ideas to address this

Learned things

Mid-sprint reviews are going to be useful for this project. We trialled having a mid-sprint review; this was an opportunity to check that we’re on track to achieve what we need to, and potentially adjust the scope of the sprint if necessary. Given this is our first proper sprint together as a  blended team, having time to talk openly with each other was valuable, and we made some changes to how we’re working together as a result.

We’ve identified the best database solution. We’re going to use DocumentDB for storing the process data. This means that the backend API layer can have a fairly light touch, and let the frontend make the decisions about how to structure that data.

We’ve discovered that Hackney’s existing pattern library is incomplete. There are components in the wireframes that haven’t had the design work done on them to bring them into the Hackney design system. That work is being looked at, but when it’s finished may impact whether we are able to use what will end up as the final design system look and feel when building out the processes.

Difficulties

We need to ensure that the team have time to focus (especially the developers). There’s a balance to strike between frequent and open communication versus having space to do quiet, focused work without too much context switching. We don’t have the balance quite right at the moment, but there are things we can do to address this – such as blocking time out for focused work and clumping meetings together. Making this work better will help us achieve all of our goals this sprint, and we will explore more options as we go.  

We need to make sure that everyone has visibility of what each other is doing.  Some of the tickets this sprint were too big, and this has made it harder to get a sense of what people are doing day-by-day. Breaking tickets down into smaller chunks will improve this. We also need to make sure we have time to review each other’s work. We’ve scheduled a technical session for HackIT and dxw developers to keep each other in the loop. It’s important we get this right if we want to leave HackIT in a position to continue the work once dxw have moved on.   

Making technical work accessible to a broader audience. We want to give people outside the MaT team – and outside HackIT – confidence that the project is where it needs to be. The first show and tell on Tuesday is going  to be key, and we are thinking about how to bring things like pipelines, React components and databases to life for non-technical people (it involves talking about Lego…). 

Acknowledgements

  • Thank you to the Housing Officers who have given up time this week to give Gill feedback on the refreshed Tenancy and Household check. Your input is really valuable. 
  • Thanks to everyone else who worked on the project this week – Chris, David, F, Gill, Liudvikas, Mirela, Richard and Shweta  

What’s next

Next week we will be:

  • Running our first Show and Tell on Tuesday November 12th at 2pm in the Service Centre. 
  • Continuing to build a data-driven front-end system and populate a React component library. This will allow us to reuse visual components when building processes, speeding up the process while also maintaining consistency in design.
  • Running our first project retrospective
  • Carrying out a Privacy Impact Assessment and working out what we need to think about in relation to the Service Assessment
  • Start implementing the database solution
  • Planning our next sprint, starting on Wednesday

Next week the following people will be working on the project:

  • Chris
  • David 
  • F
  • Gill
  • Liudvikas
  • Mirela
  • Richard
  • Shweta

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