Modern Tools for Housing – Programme week notes 25/2/22

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.

Highlights from our workstreams this week.

Managed Arrears – Katie – workstream DM

  • Next Show and Tell: 22nd February 2022
  • 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

  • Next Show and Tell: 8th March 2022
  • Celebrations:
    • Establishing Jira processes to allow us to start using it for our next sprint.
  • Challenges:
    • ADR sign off pushed into next week due to key Senior Technical Lead being on annual leave.

Manage My Home – Yvonne – workstream DM

  • Celebrations:
    • Had a really good workshop where we explored our roles and responsibilities, identified gaps and now looking at how we close them. 
  • Challenges:
    • Learning and doing means pace is slower
    • Not enough BA, Front end, service/UX design or QA capacity

Repairs – Sarah – HackIT workstream DM

  • Celebrations:
    • Adding legal disrepair flags is almost ready
    • Really positive meeting with the trade union
    • Making good progress mapping out risk assessments for operatives
  • Challenges
    • We weren’t able to release new features this week as planned
    • Teodore, one of our software engineers, is leaving

There’s a lot of other work always going on in the programme that isn’t directly related to the delivery being done by our four workstreams. This week that’s included the following.

  • Lining up conversations with our new partner Mobysoft to ensure that we’ll have all the technical integrations in place for when our Arrears team starts to use their product RentSense in April
  • A number of conversations with the new team in Hackney working on reviving the pre-cyber-attack service called Single View. We’ve been explaining to them some of the reasons why previous decisions related to their product were made and showing some of the reusable components and APIs that they’ll be able to integrate with.
  • We’re set to have our first technical integration meeting with MadeTech to help line up their team which will be joining us shortly to introduce the resident-facing service Repairs Online

Meanwhile, other work that our teams are doing that’s not mentioned above includes the following.

  • It’s “statement of work” (SoW) time again. This is how we chunk-up the work we do in order to gain spending approval through our governance process. This time around it’s unusual that all four teams will be writing SoWs at the same time so we’re going to have to coordinate carefully to enable them all to be approved before the next steering group meeting on 11/3/22.
  • We’re now fully lined up with approved job descriptions so will begin the process for recruiting into the long-term HackIT 3.0 Repairs product team next week
  • The Delivery Manager community at HackIT is going to be spending a bit of time observing each other’s teams – potentially leading to an “Agile health check” document that could be used by teams in retrospectives. We’re lining up someone to watch some of our sessions.
  • We’re just about to confirm the introduction of two QA engineers who will be joining the programme soon – working across all four workstreams.

Finally, speaking of quality assurance – we’re going to be reviewing our programme QA requirements (accessibility, privacy impact, data retention, etc) to make sure they’re all up to date. At the same time we’re going to review our regular meetings and documents to make sure everyone understands the purpose of each one and that we’re not spending time on anything we don’t definitely need.

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