Finding support services near you: weeknotes 08/03/20

As we’ve previously mentioned, we’re running Finding support services near you under Agile principles. We recognise this may be a departure for some of you reading these weeknotes – though, if you’re reading weeknotes, I hate to say it but you’ve already departed! Agile, at its heart, is about collaboration and our aim is to make our comms sufficiently engaging and transparent that you feel connected to the project and know that your opinions, questions and input are valued. Indeed, we actively want you to help us to make decisions together. 

You don’t have to wait for the weekly missive to find out what we’re up to. You can check in on progress whenever you want via our public Trello board. Extensive user research has given us a good handle on what this product of ours is going to look like and you’ll see in Trello that we are breaking its delivery into fortnightly sprints. Again, this is an Agile concept; its aim is to deliver value early and consistently so that we can adjust and iterate as we go. We love a big ribbon-cutting moment as much as the next Project Manager but we also know that the continual check-ins and corrections of Agile pay off. 

The tasks we’ve set ourselves are in the current ‘sprint’ column and the ‘backlog’ is a list of things we haven’t yet scheduled. You may notice that we write our tasks to include the what, who for and why. For example, ‘Display categories on the front-end so that users can browse to a relevant service’ is written as a user story that helps us stay focussed on what we are trying to achieve. We don’t want to blithely crack on with a task without thinking because therein lies the ‘busy but not productive’ mantra.

Enough of the Agile re-run, what have you been up to?

The Readers

We hear you. See, we are listening! 

We’re halfway through sprint 1. We’ve created our advice for organisations on how to write good About Us sections and this will be reviewed this week with a content expert. We’ve also devised our first attempt at a categorisation to help organisations describe what they do, who for and why. It’s their own user story, in a way. Both the About Us and categorisation will help website visitors find services and organisations that are relevant to them.  

Following extensive user research, we’ve finalised our step-by-step guide to the admin interface of MiDoS – our database software – so that organisations can add their listing to our website. We’ll add the verification process once it’s built. 

We’ve also had a peek at the out-the-box MiDoS front-end so that we can better understand how it’s put together. Although we’re building our own custom front-end for the website, we may use this out-the-box version for early testing. We’ve also started mocking up wireframes (think architect’s drawings) of the custom front-end and we’ll start user-testing with those in future sprints. It’s our intention to use the existing Hackney WordPress theme for the look and feel of the website.

The team has carried out desk research to clarify how easy WordPress, Wix, Meetup and Eventbrite are to use. This information will feed into our upskilling piece for organisations who need to develop an online presence from scratch. We’ll be pulling this together in the rest of the sprint. 

That’s all for now. Please fire off your questions or feedback to us and, remember, Trello is round-the-clock if it’s 3am and you just really want to know what we’re up to. Though I can tell you: sleeping. Now go and count some sheep.

Finding support services near you (formerly Directory of services) weeknotes 10/01/20

Happy New Year!

After a bit of a break, it’s useful to recap what’s happened before and why. So here’s a reminder of our problem statement.

In the last sprint of 2019 we:

  • Started to explore investment in digital upskilling across voluntary and care services in the borough.
  • Interviewed and surveyed organisations operating within the Well Street Common Neighbourhood to test the assumption that they will add to and update a single directory; and to get an idea of their digital confidence or any gaps in their skills.
  • Extended the minimum viable directory (currently a spreadsheet) to social prescribers, Hackney Adult Social Care 3 Conversations, Job Centre employment advisors, sexual health nurses and physiotherapists.
  • Ran a naming exercise, and we’re pleased to announce the new name of Finding support services near you that, in just a few words, encapsulates the point of the project rather than the underlying technology. This will replace the Directory of Services name in future weeknotes. If you want to learn more about the importance of naming projects, read here.

What’s next: 

  • Analysing the results of the survey and interviews with voluntary and care organisations, feeding back next time.
  • Transferring the data held within the minimum viable DoS spreadsheet into MiDoS and trialling with end-users within Well Street Common (including social prescribers, social workers, employment advisors, voluntary and care organisations and residents).
  • Continuing to gather feedback, adapt and test again.
  • Implementing the standardised voluntary and care services and local authority data structure led by Buckinghamshire County Council. Click here for an example of how this is being piloted by the Local Government Association (LGA).
  • Running a workshop to define the verification process and standard for organisations that want to be featured in the directory.

These weeknotes were originally written by team member Lucy Clifton.

Manage a Tenancy: Weeknotes w/c 17th June 2019

Where we are currently

As we come to the last two weeks of the current contract with Made Tech we’re on schedule for delivering ETRA and making sure we’re in a good place to carry on with the next phase.

Housing Digital Strategy

We’re not 100% what the next phase for Manage a Tenancy is going to consist of at the moment. This is partly due to the internal consultation that’s just started for the new Housing Digital Strategy being organised by Jasmeen. This is going to include lots of opportunity for discussions with people in the Housing team as to how we can best move forwards.

This is a 30 minute recording of the first of those workshops.


We’re happy to announce that ITV is now live for Housing Officers to use! Lorraine has created a training video for it.

This week’s show and tell

The slides for this week’s show and tell can be found here.

Unfortunately, the recording for this week’s show and tell didn’t go according to plan but we’ll make sure everything’s good to go next time.

What’s next

The next show and tell will present ETRA and Lorraine will be creating another training video for that service.

Lots of meetings in the next two weeks about the next stage of Manage a Tenancy – we’ll make sure we keep everyone up to speed.

Creating a Job Description Register weeknotes – Week commencing 27th May

From the User Needs we came up with User Stories, capturing likely journeys that Users may take when interacting with the HR process. We came up with User stories for HR Business Partners.

We then had a workshop with HR Business Partners to prioritise the User Stories, using MoSCow. The prioritised User stories are highlighted in Yellow, see below:

Must have Should Have Could HaveWon’t Have
As a business partner
I want to make sure the scoring is accurate  
So that the grading of the role is correct  
As a Business Partner I want to make sure I understand the actual changes being proposed So that I can decide if the Job Evaluation is neededAs a Business Partner
I want easy access to the most recent JDs during the disciplinary procedures
So I’m confident we’re making decisions based on accurate information
As a Business Partner I want to have enough information contained in a new JD So that I can carry out a Job Evaluation
As a Business Partner
I want to have the most up to date JD So that I can conduct a JD evaluation if requested by an employee
As a Business Partner I want to easily have access to the current JD So I can compare it with previous versionsAs a Business Partner
I want to automate the scoring method’s process
So that I can reduce human error

As a Business Partner
I want to make sure the decision letter and the Job Evaluation is stored in the agreed place after the evaluation So that everyone knows where to access it

As a Business Partner
I want to publicise the organisation structure
So that anyone can access it

As a Business Partner
I want to make sure I can find the correct versions of JDs
So that I can give them when they are requested by staff

As a Business Partner
I needed a completed questionnaire with the JD
So that I can make a decision quickly whether the JD need evaluating

As a Business Partner
I want to easily access the current JD
So that I can refer to it at employment tribunals and other purposes

As a Business Partner
I want the finalized JD to be saved in an agreed place
So that new recruits and their line managers don’t have to ask me for the JD

As a Business Partner
I want easy access to the most up to date JD when supporting service area managers on HR issues
So that I can perform this administrative task quickly

As a Business Partner
I want to have easy access to the most recent job descriptions when I am participating in service reviews
So that I am making decisions based on accurate information

As a Business Partner
I want to save JDs quickly during Service Review process
So that I can complete this admin task quicker

Next week we will be emailing other councils to understand their process and extract and analyse eDOCS data related to Job Descriptions. Thank you for reading.