Modern Tools for Housing – Programme week notes 11/2/22

The Modern Tools for Housing programme is the development of a suite of software products developed in collaboration between HackIT and Hackney Council’s Housing Department to support our staff and our tenant and leasehold residents. It currently covers housing repairs, home management, housing finance and support for our arrears collection team.

Big news this week as with the exception of two small teams we move to 100% digital working in the DLO – no more printing out work orders! On to highlights from our workstreams.

Managed Arrears – Silvia – workstream DM

  • Celebrations:
    • Large parts of the NoSP work already completed
    • Work on Rules Engine and Components Library started
  • Challenges:
    • The team had a few challenging moments with the Ruby on Rails framework, which have now been resolved

Finance – Kate – workstream DM

  • Celebrations:
    • The Council Finance team is undertaking user acceptance testing
    • Two week sprint cycles commenced on 7th February 2022
    • New member to the team; welcome Duncan
    • Direct Debit functionality ready for final testing
  • Challenges:
    • The data migration! It’s been one of those challenging processes where just as one problem is resolved, another emerges.

Manage My Home – Yvonne – workstream DM

  • Celebrations:
    • Got a full team again
    • Started our first full sprint
  • Challenges:
    • Learning and doing means pace is slower, but this is to be expected. 
    • Ensuring we’re capturing and understanding the user needs while we transition between new team members. 

Repairs – Sarah – HackIT workstream DM

  • Celebrations:
    • Work orders will no longer be printed (unless by exception) from Monday 14th February. This means the following for our DLO staff.
      • Planners will no longer need to produce daily pdf run sheets
      • DLO admin no longer need to print & distribute run sheets each day
      • Reactive operatives receiving their work 100% digitally
    • Operatives can now click a tenants number from a work order and call them directly from a withheld number
    • Linking a support site within mobile working so that operatives have more information available
    • Search by address or work order in the bonus app. This is especially important for supervisors and managers when investigating queries with operatives for missing jobs that they’re expecting to be paid for.
  • Challenges
    • Issues with AWS (our cloud hosting provider) has made it tricky for us to deploy everything

Everything continues to gather pace across the Modern Tools for Housing programme as we can see from the big list of celebrations above. In addition to all of that we’ve also moved forward on a number of additional things.

Great work continues to line up our major repairs partner Purdy to be able to start using Repairs Hub and our Mobile Repairs solution. Purdy supplies a significant number of multi-trade operatives. Once they are onboarded Housing will be better able to direct people who can fix a number of issues in a tenant’s property with just one trip.

We’re going to be significantly improving our ability to oversee planned maintenance online. This means a better service for residents for things like common area painting and lift upkeep.

We have received approval for our planned staffing-up of the new ongoing product team to replace the current project team. We’re currently discussing the finalised HackIT 3.0 job descriptions and expect to be able to start recruiting in the next 1-2 weeks. The product team will enable everyone to have confidence that the Council will support our repairs products and continue to invest in their iterative improvement over the long term.

We’re also moving forward with standing up a short project to introduce the open source Repairs Online product (originally funded by LOTI) which will integrate with our existing systems. We eventually expect a high number of our residents to raise repairs online and receive update notifications providing a better service and reducing the number of people who need to call our Repairs Contact Centre.

Over in Manage My Home we’ve agreed a date for the upcoming Government Service Standard review. We’re very pleased that the panel for this will be almost entirely made up of people from outside of HackIT including members from NHSX and the DWP. This review will enable the team to discuss the work they’ve done to date and their plans for the future against the 14 points in the Standard and get guidance from very experienced people on how to proceed.

Finally for today a quick recap on the “ways of working” workshops that we’re undertaking as part of the “soft reboot” of the programme to ensure that everyone across the whole programme has an opportunity to collaborate on defining how we work together. The first of those took place on the 7th of February facilitated by my Delivery Manager colleague Darren Aitcheson (thanks!) and produced an agreed set of Programme Values that we can use to guide us from now on.

We’re firming up future ways of working workshops but at the moment we’re thinking about sessions on Agile delivery, technical and quality standards, meetings and documents and programme metrics, product deployment and support. Each of those will help all of our teams build agreed ways to work together that will slimline and accelerate our delivery to our users.

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