Modern Tools for Housing – Programme week notes 29/10/21

Modern Tools for Housing – Programme Week Notes 22/10/21

Modern Tools for Housing is HackIT’s programme for developing user centred software products to enable our staff to support residents in our social housing. There are three workstreams – Finance, Repairs and Manage My Home. We are continuing to improve and evolve these products so that in future our residents will be able to self-serve as much as possible and we can use our data to identify those in need to proactively offer council services.

Steady progress this week – here’s the updates from our workstreams.

Finance – Jay – HackIT workstream DM

Proud of this week

  • Our latest work package for our arrears product has been approved
  • A great Show and Tell session on Tuesday showcasing the Revived Manage Arrears system and an update from the team, highlighting their progress since the system was revived and brought back online.
  • The creation of an API critical path flow in Miro which clearly displays where blockers lie and will help us with future Sprint Planning.
  • Progress was made to solve the Housing Search API blocker, which still remains, however should hopefully be resolved next week.

Challenges this week

  • Slow progression in obtaining test credentials for the PTX system, which remains a blocker for our Direct Debit development work
  • Delays in fixing high priority Managed Arrears bugs due to development resource bottlenecks.

Manage My Home – Yvonne – HackIT workstream DM

Proud of this week:

  • Pace of delivery – We are starting to refine stories for some of the process critical patch items (patches and process engine) and we’re also making good progress on the technical spikes for notifications and form builder.
  • This week we say goodbye to our Data Engineer Mehdi who has made such a massive contribution to the project

Challenges this week:

  • Refinement – we’re short on BA resource and it’s starting to impact our ability to refine enough work ahead of the dev team picking it up. This means  we’re picking up lower priority items because the top priority critical path work needs more analysis

Repairs – Sarah – HackIT workstream DM

Proud of this week

  • Great feedback from stakeholders in this weeks’ show and tell
  • Our latest work package for our arrears product has been approved

Challenges this week

  • Team changes
  • Effectively communicating expectations around deployment of features

Tracking the usage of our products is becoming increasingly important as we roll out to more users in more teams. The workstreams are already thinking about this and there are more conversations coming soon. I’ve already proposed a reusable component solution – but my tech skills are rather out of date so we’ll see what the teams think next week!

It’s good to have a bit more clarity around our systems for managing resident arrears. We’re going to continue to develop our pre-cyber-attack system which was recently revived and which we’re using to send out 1,000s of reminder letters to residents. At the same time we’re going to organise a trial of an off-the-shelf product to see how its functionality aligns with what we have already and what’s currently being developed.

We’ve had a great first conversation about designing pages in Manage My Home to represent housing blocks and estates. We want to eventually have versions of these for both staff and residents. There’s a large amount of information we can put on each including major planned repairs (like lifts or mass window replacements), communal works (like play parks or new gardens), asbestos info, estate safety issues. Plus we’re hoping to make it a great place to communicate with residents by linking to Tenant Resident Associations but also one-button-press communications to email or SMS everyone in a block about a current issue or something happening soon.

When supporting our staff and residents we need to make sure that we include those that work for and live on the estates belonging to our Tenant Management Association partners so we’re going to review those requirements on all the workstream’s roadmaps soon.

The most exciting thing this week though was a conversation with a colleague from Adult Social Care about “tenancy sustainment pathways”. I’m very keen to support Social Care and Housing working together to support any of our social tenants that are struggling for whatever reason to stay in their properties and am excited to know how we can help with that.

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