Week notes #14-15

Dafydd Vaughan on 12 August 2013

It’s been another busy few weeks.

Our big focus over these few weeks has been making sure absolutely everything we have to do before our public beta is included in our backlog.

We’ve spent quite a bit of time with the dev team and lots of people at DVLA teasing out missing stories, converting ‘documents’ into stories and working out dependencies. It’s always amazing how many stories are hidden in documents and not fully visible.

Another thing we’ve hopefully figured out are the mythical ‘NFRs’ or Non-functional Requirements. I particularly hate this term, but I’ll leave that rant for another time. These usually cover things like availability and response times for the service being built. In most cases they’ve now become acceptance criteria on other stories or stories themselves.

Once we had a full backlog we spent time giving everything t-shirt sizes (small, medium, large, extra-large) to give us a rough idea of how much there was left to do. These will then be sized properly as the sprints continue.

Last week we also ran a workshop with people from across DVLA about running and continually improving live services. The running of a service is usually a black box- once ‘finished’ a service is handed over a fence to a live service team to look after.

The aim is for these exemplar services to be continually improved based on feedback and data, so there is no ‘finished’ state. This means we need to start breaking down the black box. Thanks to Gareth for helping facilitate that session. There will be more over the next few months.

As well as all of that, I also spent more time with DVLAs new CTO and their IT contract teams, did a Digital by Default assessment of DWP’s Carers Allowance service (another exemplar) and got to spent time with my new line manager.