MOKRs weeknote – 3

This week

Well, this week was better than last. Most teams had drafted their objectives for the year, by the deadline we set before Christmas. No one had slavishly stuck to the format but most explained the ‘what’ and the ‘why’ very clearly, which was great!  

From time to time I make progress by using my diary to bully me into action. Four things came together to force me to move the project forward. 

Following the housing services away day, I wrote up their expectations of ICT as a set of objectives for the next year. We’re not yet ready to commit to key results, but I underpinned these with the key activities that would enable achievement of those objectives. That’s been helpful to ensure we understand the ‘why’ as well as the ‘what’. 

We looked at our emerging roadmap to understand what it means for the data we’ll need to expose via APIs. Having clarity over the objectives is starting to help us spot which user needs will be dependent on the same data. 

We have worked with the Hackney Works service to understand their objectives over the next year and what that means for how we’ll work together to develop the digital service.

The session that did most to move us forward was a team workshop to review the draft objectives, collaboratively. We broke into groups to look at the objectives connected with our five missions. Each group made sure that everyone could understand the objective, and that it was clear what it required us to do and why. This might have been the best bit of the week. People challenged each other, constructively, and got to grips with what was important to each team. 

I then mixed up the groups to make sure that we had different perspectives and different teams looking at the same objectives. And whilst a good idea in theory, I hadn’t spotted what would happen; that the objectives might be re-written to a point where they lost their intended meaning. But despite that, we ended up with a better understanding of what we were going to do together, and how we all needed to be involved. 

Next week

Next week, we start to develop the key results that sit behind the objectives – what we want to achieve each quarter. We’re working with different members of the team, so it will test how well we can understand the work of each team and how we can challenge each other constructively. 

I’m hoping the key outcome will be that we start identifying where we have too many things to achieve in each quarter, so that we can start prioritising objectives. 

I’m also developing a tool to capture the objectives for each council directorate and service. It needs to be simple and visual, so that it’s accessible – but has just enough detail so that people can spot particular initiatives that are important to them. The timing may not be perfect, but Rob has a regular catch up in the diary with a Group Director which is too good an opportunity to test our approach not to miss.

So by the end of next week, we should have a longlist of objectives, some emerging key results and tested a tool to communicate these across the organisation. A good place to be with 8 weeks to go before the end of this phase of the project.  

Single View Project weeknotes: wc. 27.01.2020

Sprint 1

The Project

The concept of this project is about providing a single view of customer data, enabling staff to build a better picture of a customer’s situation and inform decision-making. It is one of the workstreams which form part of a wider programme of works for Benefits and the Housing Needs service.

FutureGov and Made Tech have done a lot of user research and developed usable prototypes, ahead of me joining the team.

Using the single view, staff are able to see at a glance the complete history of a customers interactions, reducing the time spent gathering information across multiple systems and the likelihood of errors. It supports real-time collaboration between everyone working with a customer.

So far, the systems being used to create this display include; 

UHT, UHW, Comino, Jigsaw and Academy. Caseworkers can create a read-only Single View of a customer with all existing notes from across the 4 systems. It can even display UHW documents!

Single view is currently being piloted by the Housing Needs Complaints team. Over the next 14 weeks one of our goals is to move the Alpha into a Beta, and roll the system out to the rest of the Benefits and Housing Needs teams.

Last week, we onboarded two new developers onto the project +Maria and +Katrina. + Ben and +Matt have been bringing them upto speed with the code by addressing some of the technical debt cards.

Highlights of this week include:

  • We had a really great design workshop with +elle and the team on Wednesday. Elle brought along some design improvements and based on user feedback and the team contributions we came up with ideas on how best to iterate the single view.
  • +Glyn and I have been working on the Single View roll-out plan for Benefits and Housing needs. We are due to start with the Housing Register team which consists of a team of 14. Exciting times 🙂

Challenges

My own personal challenge has been around time management and not being able to dedicate as much time as I would have liked to on the project this week. Glyn our Product Owner and the developers have done a good job with getting on with the tasks which need to get done. 

Key activities next week 

  1. Setting up a staging environment for Single view 
  2. Single View Alpha Assessment 
  3. Next Show & Share, 10:30 5th February 2020, Kitchen Area, Pillar B, First Floor, Hackney Service Centre.

Hackney Poverty Index Project: week commencing 20th January 2020

Sprint 6

The Hackney Poverty Index aims to build a shared understanding of poverty in Hackney by making the most of our local data.

The goal for sprint five was to produce an interim output for our project. +Tim Burke has been working really hard to develop our data model and prepare some initial outputs over the last two weeks.

We are still waiting for a lot of data in the education, health and housing themes, so for prototyping purposes, we have focussed on bringing together income data. Our draft ‘income’ index includes data on:

– Estimated household income

– Eligibility for means-tested benefits

– Impact of welfare form

– Pensioner poverty

We’re also still working on other income datasets (food bank usage, debt, child poverty), but this limited amount of data has still been enough to develop our model. The initial draft is looking good, however, we have realised that we need to make some decisions as a team about how best to: 

  • Normalise the data (getting indicators into a standard format so we’re not comparing apples and oranges)
  • Handle missing data e.g. where values are suppressed due to small numbers
  • And consider the best method for combining different scores (using either a geometric or arithmetic mean)

As a team, our next steps include workshopping the above in the next sprint and validating the proposed methodology with a challenge group, to help form the basis of the next iteration of the model and its outputs.

+Anna Gibson also obtained access to a cool tool called Hometrack (part of Zoopla) which will help us source data related to average rents and housing affordability.  

Challenges 

Gaining access to data is a challenge and we continue to work closely with various data experts/owners to obtain this.

Next sprint, our goals are to: 

1. Make important decisions about our methodology through team discussion and feedback from our challenge group

2. Follow up on outstanding data

3. Refine our model and its interim outputs

Report a Problem Weeknotes : week ending: 2020-01-24

A picture of the standard mySociety FixMyStreet service in Hackney Council branding.

A little late – the latest update in the implementation of FixMyStreet for Hackney Council.

GOOD THINGS

Look and feel slotting into place. Things ended on a high last week with mySociety delivering HackIT first sight of what FixMyStreet will look like with Hackney branding. This was done very quickly using our web asset library – going to show again how we can accelerate projects by designing for future reuse.

First cut of reporting categories agreed. We’ll be able to iterate these when we do further user research.

Website service design discussion kicking off. All the relevant parties have been invited to attend a session this Friday.

Noise nuisance workshop being planned. Invitations have been sent out to potential attendees including staff from two other councils who have previous experience of this area.

LEARNED THINGS

Sometimes it’s just good to take the easy path. After a number of conversations we’ve decided to currently leave the name of the service as Report a Problem. We’ll ensure we test this with Hackney residents before the go-live but we feel we have more important things to do with our time at the moment.

DIFFICULTIES

We still haven’t delivered the FixMyStreet PO. I’m reliably informed this should land by the middle of next week. It’ll be great to get the contractuals under our belt and be able to focus on delivery.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

Our widely distributed team continue to do great work on this. Thanks to Louise H., Louise W., David E., Martin, Matthew and Rasit.

WHAT’S NEXT

In the next week we will do the following.

  • Land the PO
  • Confirm how we’ll approach the service design for how FixMyStreet will integrate with the Hackney Council website
  • Start discussions with our contact centre staff about how to train the right internal staff on how to use FixMyStreet to report issues citizens phone in with
  • Confirm the attendees for the noise nuisance workshop
  • Review an initial draft of the technical integration document for Alloy (for Highways)
  • Start thinking about our Privacy Impact Assessment
  • Start planning out first show and tell!

Manage Arrears weeknotes: w.c. 20/1/2020

*Phase 3, Sprint 9*  

The focus of this sprint has been about getting Rents Letters One and Two right, and user feedback has suggested that we have finally succeeded 🙂

Highlights of the week

  • The performance of our sync which runs overnight to update cases in arrears from UH into Manage Arrears has drastically improved. It used to take over 12 hours to run. It now takes only 15 minutes! Richard Race and Alex Demetriou worked on this on Thursday as we noticed a few cases in credit were appearing in the system. Nice Work! 
  • This week we adjusted some of the rules which classify Rents letters Ones and Twos. The changes were a good test demonstrating how well Manage Arrears has been designed to flexibly handle different service requirements for displaying cases. Caseworkers are working hard to cleanup the data ahead of the automation being switched on. We are currently awaiting confirmation from our Product Owner to let us know when the UH worktrays can be switched off, so we can carry out the above. 
  • This week, we also added pagination to the letters view page as it was loading every single letter ever sent from Manage Arrears causing the page to load extremely slowly. 
  • +Elaine Greeve ran an Agreements workshop to gain some insight into how these can be incorporated into the system in the next phase.

This week is our final week on the project and we will be:

1. Mapping the new service blueprint with the Rents team

2. Mapping the Leaseholds service blueprint with the new Leasehold Service Manager Chorwar Hussain in preparation for the next phase

3. Meeting with Housing Support team lead for a Technical Handover

4. Addressing the High Accessibility requirements from the assessment

5. Working with the Rents team to resolve showstopping bugs