DevOps Practices Weeknotes w/c 05.08.19

What’s happened since last time?

Since July we have been busy preparing the ground for the first alpha / prototype phase of the DevOps practices work. 

At the end of discovery we had 5 hypotheses to test with various teams in HackIT. We’re beginning with these two:

  • “Adopting a consistent approach to containerisation will make it easier and more efficient to develop, test and (re)deploy services”
  • “Picking a primary cloud supplier will save time & money”

We have grouped the other 3 hypotheses into 2 further alpha/ prototype phases, which will be carried out later in the year. We chose to do this to make sure that we were not overloading busy teams now. This will also give us the flexibility to have different people involved in different parts of the work.

Following DMT discussions they have decided that one of them should be responsible for this work as a product owner. Involvement from a suitable product owner was also a recommendation from our discovery assessment. 

For this alpha / prototype Cate will be taking on this role. In discovery we spoke a lot about how ‘DevOps’ approaches will be as much a cultural change as a technology one. Given Cate’s responsibilities in this area this fits really well.

So what’s happening next?

Next week we are kicking off again in earnest. We will be running workshops to learn more about the current situation of containerisation and deployment in HackIT. 

We will first focus on the work the API-Factory team have been doing in this area. After that we will look at what other colleagues have been developing/testing/thinking about.

By having these workshops and conversations we hope to be able to answer the questions of: 

  • what are the details of our current approach to containerisation and why? 
  • what is HackIT’s future ambitions in this space?

Please let me know if you have any questions or want to be involved in these next steps.

What has happened so far on the DevOps practices project?

For those of you who have joined HackIT since the last update or who didn’t follow the DevOps practices project before (shame on you!) so far on the DevOps practices project we have completed our discovery. 

In this work we are working alongside an agency called Digi2al. During the discovery we were able to build an understanding of the issues that affected our ability to deliver and maintain fantastic products. Here is the link to DevOps practices on pipeline. Our show and tells slides are in the comments.

Hackney Spacebank: Weeknote, w/c 5th August

Community Halls Discovery – Trello board

The team is a bit depleted because of annual leave, but work is still progressing at a good pace. We are about half way through our discovery phase. A big thank you to our colleagues in the community halls team, housing and the NCC team for generously giving us their time and expertise. 

A few highlights:

  • Completed initial interviews with the community halls team
  • Successful recruitment drive for research participants
  • Visits to community halls

We asked potential research participants a few questions about their experience of booking community halls. This was to get a flavour of what they used halls for, how they booked, and what they thought could be improved. These are early insights, which we will explore more fully in 1-2-1 interviews. Suggested improvements focussed mainly on:

  • Cost
  • Condition of the venue
  • Booking process

What’s next?

We are continuing our interviews with people who book community halls. We will also be talking to internal users, including colleagues from public health, Hackney Learning Trust and Hackney Works. 

We are keen to speak to people who don’t book halls. We want to understand the barriers to accessing space from their perspective. The team are getting creative in the search for elusive “non-bookers”. User research requires some serious sleuthing skills – Sam, Winston and Joy could have lucrative side hustles as private detectives. 

Our next big task – an epic in agile parlance – is to analyze all the research findings and start to identify themes. More on this over the next couple of weeks.

Re-engineering Hackney content: weeknotes 07/08/19

It’s all about the navigation this week. We did a round of testing, and users were finding it difficult to move between sections. So we’ve worked out a way to have all four levels on the menu, avoiding a left hand navigation and over-reliance on a big ‘menu’ icon. This also means we can go full width and save a whole load of space.

Now we’re trying to speed up the generation of the menu. I also spent the weekend ordering the many, many pages on the menu. It was like the Christmas jigsaw: didn’t want to do it; couldn’t walk past it. 

Real progress is being made on the homepage. Tomorrow, the fab four of Carolina, Gill, Alan and Emma will be setting up shop in London Fields to see if real life people understand what we’ve done with it. We need it to be useful to people but also represent the borough and what we stand for.

We had a demo from Site Improve this morning. This promises to be a handy addition, particularly for accessibility, and we’ll be putting a business case forward to embed it in all our sites.

We’re continuing to look at ways to close the loop between users and services via our Hotjar feedback. As you’d imagine given Parking is our most popular section, we’ve had most feedback on the parking pages. We’ve been in touch with our lovely friends in the service and are thinking together of the best way we can pass on this feedback and how they can best manage it. I’m thinking gleaming dashboard in walnut veneer, currently it’s cut and paste in Google Sheets. We’ll get there. 

Submit My Planning Application weeknotes – Week commencing 29/07/2019

Welcome to Submit My Planning Application weeknotes. 

For more general updates, continue to check our project site; showing all the great stuff we’re doing and key information about the project. Alongside the project site, also be sure to check out our blog post. 


A big thank you to all assessors who was at our Alpha Phase Service Assessment. It was great to hear the different perspectives and to receive the healthy challenges. We’ve got a lot to consider and to implement! We appreciate your involvement. As well as the feedback and questions!

I’d also like to specifically thank Paul Tyler who came in as an assessor last minute. Not only was he really engaged, he also got up to speed in a short amount of time. Thank you once again Paul Tyler!

What we did this week:

  • We had a preparation session for the Service Assessment, to ensure everyone is confident in their roles and responsibilities. 
  • We had our Alpha phase Service Assessment! Well done for overcoming all the hurdles. From the service assessment, we can take this useful feedback and implement any action points moving forward
  • Worked on general testing such as, any timeout sessions and Error 404 
  • Minor bugs have been discovered, when refreshing pages and loading existing data. We’re addressing them to ensure users are able to use and get through the service with all features working
  • We have switched to using AWS DocumentDB for the backend data store, enabling a simpler deployment 
  • The Information Management team have told us that we do not require a full Privacy Impact Assessment, 
  • We’re 99% into the integration of Gov.UKPay and it’s much easier than we had anticipated it to be 

What’s next:

  • We will be creating the Alpha Phase Service Assessment report within 10 days time
  • There will be further testing to ensure no major bugs are present within our service 
  • Continuing with the General To Dos; Error 404s and any session timeouts

What are we keeping an eye on?

  • Integrating with Tascomi 
  • Address API 


  • None this week!

Thanks for reading!

Planning Applications Team

(AKA Emma H, Andy B, Andy E, Ana, Mathew T, Nic and Hidayat).

Digital Support Services weeknotes w/c 29/7/19

This is the weeknotes formerly knows as “Hackney Digital Forms”. Apologies for not updating for the last two weeks, I’ve been ill.

We’ve had some great discussions about the Digital Support Services project and refocused our work away from a primary focus on technology to one based around delivering value to our internal users by delivering a quality service to help them with HR and Finance related actions.

We’re currently paused on the service design front while we do a technology evaluation – who would have thought there would be some many front-end code generators (many with extended functionality) on the Digital Marketplace that are compliant with the GOV.UK Design System.

We’re a bit pressed for resources at the moment but we’re hoping that that will change soon so watch this space!