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.

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.