Modern Tools for Housing – Programme week notes 4/3/22

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

  • 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 data migration update on staging’ this is a big step forward, as it includes millions of rows of data that can now be tested by users
  • Challenges:
    • Waiting for ADR sign off to enable progression on a number of tasks

Manage My Home – Yvonne – workstream DM

  • Celebrate:
    • Really getting into the swing of working in sprint formats
    • Great workshops for the team to understand how they’re working, their pinch points and what they want to do differently.
    • Julian returned this week – welcome back Julian!
  • Challenges:
    • Only one FE Dev is meaning a much slower pace.
    • One service designer/Ux designer is also meaning a slower pace

Repairs – Sarah – HackIT workstream DM

  • Celebrations:
    • Removed Wick village TMO flags
    • Deployed: New priorities surveying and planned maintenance, syncing to the new contact details API, bulk cancelled over 600 out of date jobs, jobs can be closed without paying operative bonus
    • Introducing a simple but structured release strategy
  • Challenges
    • We weren’t able to UAT legal disrepair flags
    • Lots of questions about online repairs and how we need to ensure it fits with our needs
    • Bugs reported by operatives on Monday

The biggest news this week came from the Manage My Home team where they were able to confirm that the product is now being used by over 500 staff members across more than 40 Hackney Service Area teams. This is a great achievement and a testament of all the hard work put in by both the current team and our previous partner agency for that service, Amido.

Speaking of great teams, the Product Manager role for the new Repairs product team, a key pilot part of HackIT 3.0, was advertised internally on Currents on Friday. If you’d like to apply for the role you have until 17/3/22 to do so. We’ll be finalising the discussions about potential internal moves for other roles in that team this week. Following that we’ll be doing external recruitment starting as soon as next week!

In addition to the new roles in Repairs we should be finishing staffing up the new Manage My Home team soon to get them back up to full speed as well as hopefully bringing in both a Service Design and Business Analyst at the programme level. The BA in particular is going to focus on finding paths to enable us to start removing the remaining interim spreadsheets introduced after the cyber-attack and also looking into clearer ways for the programme to be able to express the value to users that’s provided by each of our newly released features.

Even that’s not everything related to new people coming into the programme. On 14/3/22 we have two new QA engineering specialists joining to help all four workstreams ensure that they deliver the highest quality code.

Meanwhile, the must be an auspicious date as it’s the same day the our new partners in the programme, MadeTech, will be starting the delivery of Repairs Online. This is our implementation of a free pre-existing open source system that will enable residents to raise repairs directly without needing to call the call centre.

Finally, it’s our steering group on 11/3/22 so we’ll be prepping for that this week including make sure that the new SoWs for MMH, Repairs and Finance are circulated in advance so we can have them approved at the meeting (they’re all in good shape and should be sharable on Monday).

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