Those of you who’ve been following our blog closely over the last few months will know that we recently launched a new front-end noise reporting workflow for Hackney Council, designed to give citizens an easier, more secure way to submit a noise-related report to the Council.
Following on from that, we’re now working with Hackney to create a robust, well-tested case management back-end system that simplifies processes for the teams responsible for responding to and managing noise reports.
After a kick off meeting on 16 February, we started our first sprint on the 2 March – 16 March, during which our designer Zarino met with various key stakeholders at Hackney to capture information on how they currently work, and what they would need in order to make their working lives easier when handling noise reports. So far, we’ve had some really useful and insightful conversations and are getting a sense of pain points and areas of complexity. For sprints from 16 March onwards, Gillian will first be working with Louise, Operational Director, and then taking over as DM on the project for SocietyWorks.
Communication is key to any project, especially for one of this size, so as part of the project we’re holding two-weekly Show and Tell meetings, as well as an internal status update call in the weeks between. The Show and Tell meetings are hosted by Hackney, and recorded for stakeholders who aren’t able to attend. This also means they can invite the most relevant people to ensure it keeps everyone updated, but without having to take up too much of their time. We’ve also created a slide template together through which we share information beforehand and allow time for Q&As.
The internal status update acts as a check-in half way through the sprint to make sure things are going as planned, and to see if there are any new risks or blockers that need addressing. As with all of our calls, this is documented and then added to our communication tool, so the notes can be referred back to at a later date.
We’ll be keeping you updated on the progress of this project every two weeks, so keep a lookout for the next post!
If you’d like some more information about our new noise service development, or about SocietyWorks’ services in general, you can contact us here.
Image: Paul Esch-Laurent on Unsplash
You’ll now find the staff manual for FixMyStreet Pro online and easy to access. Do take a look!
When we were putting the design for this manual together, we thought we’d have a quick google round for other council SAAS documentation, to see if anyone was doing it particularly well.
We didn’t get very far, though— it seems there’s a culture of corporate secrecy amongst other suppliers, and a fear of publishing such materials in case of imitation.
So our decision to publish our entire manual online, along with a handy print version, freely available with no password, is perhaps a little unusual.
We’ve gone our own way on this one for a few reasons.
First, because it helps you. We know that it’s far easier for customers to look online for materials than it is to remember where they’ve put a physical handbook.
We know we could have put it behind a password, but that just adds an impediment for our customers, and for anyone hoping to understand the service a little better before making a purchasing decision. Plus, who remembers passwords for something they might only be accessing a couple of times a year? It’s just extra faff.
You only need bookmark the documentation page, and you’ll always be able to find the most up to date version of our staff manual.
There’s another reason as well, though. Most mySociety codebases — including FixMyStreet — are Open Source, meaning that anyone who wants to can inspect or use the code for their own purposes. If anyone really wanted to know our ‘secrets’… well, they’re already out in the public domain.
We reckon there’s more to gain by publishing our instruction manual than there is to lose. Sure, competitors might see what features we offer, and they might even copy them. We’re confident, though, that our customer service, company culture, and our insistence on making our products as user friendly as possible, all give us an advantage that imitators are unlikely to be able to match.
So, please do go ahead and read the manual. We hope you’ll find it useful, and that you’ll get in touch if there’s anything you think is missing.
Image: Alexandre Godreau (Unsplash)