A very busy week and so a long post this time! We've interviewed, we've workshopped, we've reached out, we've analysed survey responses and we've scheduled future activities for all of those things and more.

The week started on December 9th with Sharon and Saul visiting North East Lincolnshire Council to discuss their requirements of an Income Management System. Zoe, Debbie and I were due to attend remotely but the GoTo Meeting software let us down at the last minute and we unfortunately couldn't take part. We did however review the notes after the meeting and by all accounts it was a really useful session. Thank you so much to everyone there who supported that!

On the 10th we popped over to Leeds and ran our agile ceremonies. Starting with our Sprint Review in the morning, we live streamed our very first Show & Tell of the project which is now available to view on our YouTube channel. We all agreed afterwards that we spoke a little fast and perhaps before the next one we should spend a bit of time getting comfortable. But we're happy with it, it includes everything we wanted to say, and the tech worked great - using DXW's 360 degree Meeting Owl Camera and Zoom in their conference room.

We followed up in the afternoon with our Sprint Retrospective and Sprint Planning sessions. The Retrospective was particularly useful and gave our Barnsley contingent experience of a new way to run those sessions. Using post-it notes, we individually wrote down things that we'd liked, learned and wished throughout the previous sprint. There was a list of "other" things we noted too. We grouped together and discussed the common themes that were clear to see from us all. From the common wishes and "other" items we voted individually on the ones we'd like to focus on over the coming sprint and lifted out the 5 top hitters. Against those we indivdiually wrote post-its identifying how we thought we could deliver against each and grouped those into common actions. The whole exercise was then digitised into a Miro Board and we'll make sure we deliver against the actions in the next sprint. Fantastically useful and a great way to reflect on all the activity to date.

Wednesday the 11th we ran a user research workshop in the DXW Leeds office with colleagues from Bradford Council. We had originally intended for this to be our "Northern" workshop, inviting councils from our Stakeholder Map who were all roughly grouped together towards the top of the country. However, we quickly hit up against one of the lessons learned in previous Discovery projects that MHCLG had warned us about - that short notice availability, especially in the run up to Christmas, is a difficult thing to negotiate! So we'll be rescheduling other council's who couldn't attend but in the meantime we got a lot out of the session with Bradford who were fantastic! We also had Egle Uzkuraityte, Lisa Jeffery and Imran Hussain in the room contributing their experience which we very much appreciate!

The rest of the week is a bit of a blur if I'm honest as we've had a lot of engagement. Amongst other things we:

  • Contacted Kirklees Council in response to them contacting us on Twitter. We've added them to our Stakeholder Map and hope to be able to interview them shortly.
  • Followed up with Warwick District Council who partially completed our Local Gov Survey. We've added them to our Stakeholder Map too and we'd love to speak to them in more detail.
  • Engaged in a conversation that Lisa Jeffery started on the LocalGov Digital slack channel about our project and in particular some challenges about future of IMS systems generally from Midlothian Council. Very keen to follow up on this further next week.
  • Organised our train tickets for travelling to Huntingdon on Wednesday where we'll hold our "Southern" workshop with Huntingdonshire District Council, South Cambridgeshire District Council and Cambridgeshire County Council.
  • Contacted colleagues at our partner Cherwell District Council to organise a date to interview them remotely in the New Year.
  • Organised a face to face interview the GOV.UK Pay product team on January 7th next year at their offices.
  • Organised a face to face interview with Sheffield City Council on January 14th at their premises.
  • Received an email from Egle providing advice and guidance on the detail we need to make sure is included in our end of project reports. We'll be digesting that ASAP and make sure our research questions and delivery plan cover the elements we need.
  • Implemented Google Analytics into this blog so we can get an idea of interest and engagement in the project.