Hackney Spacebank: Weeknotes, w/c 8th May 2019


We started our week with sprint planning. Our goal for sprint 4 is:

“Testing our early prototype with users, pulling together initial recommendations on our tech stack, completing accessibility testing on our three experiments and taking our first look at the service assessment.”

We hit the ground running this sprint. We completed two days of testing by the end of the week. Joy put in some serious leg work to get our prototype test ready and Richard and Sam whipped up a discussion guide. We’ve learnt a lot from these first two rounds and we’ve got two more days of testing next week.

Sebastian is putting our early experiments through some accessibility testing. We want to have an idea of where we might run into accessibility issues and start thinking about how to address these as early as possible.

Liam is kicking off our tech review. He’s been gathering up background material and talking to other project teams. Last, but never least, Winston’s been doing battle (and winning) with the research findings from interviews with library staff and security officers.

From a delivery perspective, a late Easter break and two May bank holidays in close succession is putting a squeeze on our time and capacity. That said, we’ve all benefited from some extra rest and it’s prompted some good conversations about how to prioritise work.

Network redesign and implementation for webfirst – Weeknotes

WC: 07/05

Where we are
We are halfway through sprint 5 which is the sprint before last in this discovery, learning and gathering information phase.

Last sprint: Sprint 4
We made significant progress in the sprint 4, achieving our sprint goal which was to begin surveying users, selected from 10 proof of concept sites, on their current experience of our network services.
We also kicked off work to set up a lab in our communications room, from where we will test new, pioneering network devices, loaned from reputable suppliers of network devices. The aim is to learn from these tests and gain insights on how to design a pioneering and fit for purpose network service for all our users.

Looking ahead:
Our hope is that sprint 6 will be the last of this phase and that we we would have collated enough learning and isight about our current network, user pain points and needs to allow us to begin to enter an exploratory phase to start working out a network design that will be fit for purpose and reasonable for implementation.

What have we learned:
Liked: The team is working better together, user research is amazing, there is a sense of progress on the project.
Learned: Show and tell is good and should be done more often – every other sprint
Lacked: Pressure on engineers time impacts projects. Infrastructural managers will work closely with team to mitigate this where possible.

This Sprint: Sprint 5
This sprint, we have continued with setting up of network devices for testing and we are also collating feedback from our survey of over 240 users across 10 sites. We are excited to have received over 50 responses to the survey in the first couple of days of launch.

Everyone has been amazing. So special thanks to Gillian Newman, Henry Lewis, Isaiah Oketola, Chidi Oko, Shafiq Ahmed, Mal Morris and Lindsay Rex

But I think star of the sprint is Gillian Newman for getting the user research surveys out.

Creating a Job Description Register – weeknotes

Do you know where your Job Description is? And is it the most recent version?

The answer to the above questions should be ‘Yes’ and ‘Yes’ but is not often the case.

Job Description is probably one of the most important employee documents and should be stored in the employee’s personnel folder on eDOCS. For many reasons, this does not happen and causes a great amount of stress when the HR Business Partners or the Manager/employee needs it.

This project, currently in its Discovery phase, aims to understand the depth of the problem. After the interviews with HR Business Partners and Business Managers, the following key issues were identified:

Multiple Storage Locations: Instead of saving the Job Description in an agreed place (i.e. personnel folder), departments have their own ways of storing them. Job descriptions are being stored in many locations. For example Service Review folder on eDOCS, Business Manager’s drive, hard copies. As a result, the overall process becomes inconsistent across the Council.

Versioning: Over time, Job Descriptions get updated/changed. As a result, there are many versions of them and it becomes difficult to keep track of them. This ends up being a huge burden for HR Business Partners and other stakeholders as they have to spend a lot of time to find the correct version of Job Descriptions.

Multiple Job Descriptions for the same role: Many employees have the same Job Description. For instance, there may be 20 social workers, all with the same Job Description. If a change is made to one of the social worker’s Job Description, it then has to be made to all the other social workers’ Job Descriptions. Once these changes are made, the updated version has to be saved into each and every social workers’ personnel folders. This could cause consistency and efficiency issues.

Two User Journey Mapping workshops were held with the main stakeholders: HR Business Partners and Business Managers (see images below). This helped to understand the User Needs of the stakeholders and their feelings. More information on this next week.

Blockers:

  • It’s a real struggle to get everyone together for workshops due to the existing workloads.

Next week:

  • User Needs prioritisation session with HR Business Partners
  • Meeting with the Head of HR to review the current progress and prioritise the next steps.

Phase: Discovery

Team members: Kirstine Ward, Phillipa Newis, Jignesh Sanghvi, Hidayat Deen

Thank you for reading this far, have a great weekend!


Hackney Spacebank: Weeknotes w/c 28 April 2019

We’ve been living our best agile life this week! A fully staffed team, buzzing with the anticipation of testing next week and glowing from a successful show and tell. The tenacious conversations and hard graft of the last couple of weeks is really paying off.

A couple of specific things to highlight:

Changing up the way we do show and tell

Show and tell is one of our forms of governance at Hackney. For it to be effective, we need not only articulate our progress but to proactively offer means of gathering feedback. Here’s what we tried:

  • Offered sticky notes and sharpies to every attendee when they arrived – setting the expectation that they would be making a contribution to our show and tell
  • Provided a feedback flipchart where participants could add their sticky note (important for people who don’t like speaking up in groups)
  • Broke down the show and tell into small interactive chunks and asked for feedback at the end of each section
  • Kept our content down to three key messages, including talking about the hard stuff (not just the shiny things)
  • Only used slides when absolutely necessary (additional slides were added afterwards for stakeholders unable to attend)
  • Every member of the team spoke
  • We practised beforehand
  • Every question answered honestly, even if that meant saying “we don’t know”

None of this is rocket science, but by the end of 30 minutes we had the most feedback from a show and tell to date. It wasn’t only the quantity but the quality improved too. Some great challenge offered in a positive way, really helpful signposting and the offer of collaboration from another team.

It definitely took more thought to organise, but not much more time in the grand scheme of things. The added value was worth the time investment.  

Meeting with Councillors Selman and Kennedy

On Thursday we met with Councillors Selman and Kennedy, the Cabinet members with overall responsibility for this project. We look forward to these conversations. It helps to understand things from their perspective and to hear what they need from us to support their conversations at Cabinet level.

They track our progress closely via weeknotes (we use these as a governance tool too). This means their questions and feedback is robust and well informed. These conversations keep us on our toes, which is good, and we appreciate the spirit and enthusiasm in which this regular scrutiny is offered.

Hackney Spacebank: Weeknotes w/c 23 April

Five things you need to know about Spacebank this week:

Sprint 3 is under way

We started the week with sprint planning. Our goal:

“Defining our measures for success, drilling down into what happens at the end of the library booking process, and sharing our progress with stakeholders via a show and tell.”

Paying for and accessing a library meeting room is the final piece of the puzzle in our user journey. This involves librarians, security staff, finance officers and the end user. To find out more, Winston has been out and about in the borough’s libraries armed with his trusty discussion guide, consent forms and a winning smile.

Mining the data

Joy, our service designer has been mining the data about library bookings. This is hard graft; I am suitably in awe of Joy’s eye for detail and rapid analysis. She’s been trawling through emails for information that will help us to understand:

  • Where we can co-design improvements which will smooth out the booking experience for users
  • What we can measure to determine whether or not we are making a positive difference

Preparing for show and tell

Seeking a bit of inspiration, we prepared for our show and tell by playing the anti-problem game. Planning for “the world’s worst show and tell” was a lot of fun, but importantly it helped us think differently about how we could communicate clearly and creatively. In particular, we are thinking about how to engage attendees more effectively so we get quality feedback on our progress.

Front end developer – unblocked!

I have written about recruitment challenges in previous weeknotes. I’m delighted to say that Sebastian will be joining the team on Monday. Getting this recruitment over the line has been a joint effort with Susan McFarland and Nic Teeman. A problem shared is a problem halved as the saying goes!

Testing, testing, testing

We are over half way into our prototyping phase. We’re getting ready for some rapid testing and iteration in sprints 4 and 5. Central to these early conversations is challenging ourselves to ask the right questions. These tests will put our assumptions under close scrutiny. What we learn over the next couple of sprints will be the foundation of our MVP.