Latest (belated) sprint notes

Project Team RIPA
6 min readSep 7, 2020

Accelerating our goals

After our last Show and Tell (No. 6) we held our 7th partner workshop of the Beta.

A recent development has been agreement to accelerate the project from an 18 month timeframe (December 2021) to a reduced 6-months timeframe with a March 2021 date set to achieve a private Beta.

Ahead of our seventh workshop, we finalized the screener which we will send out to potential volunteers. This will help us select a broad range of user. This was mailed out to all of the previous Lambeth past applicants, interested residents, businesses, agents and volunteers who were contacted in Alpha. We’re calling out generally on Twitter and Facebook as well but as yet have struggled to get past the Information Governance teams at the partner councils to gain agreement to access their applicant database details from their back office systems. This means, at present, most of our volunteers are Lambeth borough focused, but we’re hopeful we will find ways to reach out further using twitter, Facebook and encouraging partners to individually call out on their own personal social media accounts if necessary. This current sprint will see our first virtual user testing sessions — which we can feedback to all the partners at the next Show and Tell.

We also had a presentation by Camden on their new project around inclusive digital place based engagement. It’s a newly funded MHCLG digital project. This is likely to have cross over points with the RIPA project.

In our accelerated land, the partners workshopped versions of Roadmaps. One is an overarching Road Map. We have also developed / been working on a more detailed version which is partner specific. These two roadmaps vary to the developer roadmap, which, whilst having identical points, also has unique, developer specific items and taks. The partner’s detailed version needs more work on the timelines and what we need to be putting in to place/taking action on in order to meet the March deadline — however it’s a start and beginning to take form.

Part of our current sprint will be for the partners to review those Epics in the RoadMap that have been added and include any “child issues” which may be relevant to their council.

So for instance, one Epic is GIS (geographic information system) layers. For the partners there will be a need to identify any layers they don’t currently have working effectively which the RIPA project’s tool will require — and they will need to consider their own individual timeline to achieve that. Then it will be a case of eacah partner working through and highlighting with the group where a specific layer is problematic for their council. It may be — with the wide range of skills set in the partner group, that a member of the project team with the relevant skill can speak directly to core staff in a partner’s council to help explain and resolve issues and problems.

Next up we discussed the previous workshop outcomes following Show and Tell №5.

We worked on a Miro Board — populating it with information such as key officers who would be responsible for specific areas, contacts for dealing with those areas and so on.

We loaded this into a spreadsheet so we could collate all that information, such as info around Legal, IT etc. We added in additional questions designed to ascertain if a partner council understood what the request was for and they needed another member of the team to explain an area and potentially offer to meet their council team to explain the requirements in detail.

We also looked again at the validation rules spreadsheet that Bucks had put together. The purpose of this is to review and identify what validation requirements exist in each council against what type of application, as well as where similarities or differences exist. Another current sprint task is for the partner teams to spend time updating this as much as they can.

Next up was a look at the GIS master sheet that Open Systems Lab produced. We agreed there’s a need to avoid duplicated info — however the partner version we created is useful to have so that we can record who has the RIPA project tools requirements, but also collect information around any additional layers a partner council may have. This may useful at some point in the future when we scale up to other types of applications. Another task — partners to review entries against their council and add any missing layers information.

Once the GIS spreadsheet is completed, we will need a sprint task where one of the team reviews all of the entries and matches up where a layer is named one thing in one council, another in a different council — but in fact they’re one and the same layer.

Next up — we touched on what the Private Beta’s scope should be — and what it may look like. We’re still in discussion mode on this —it could range from one of many things, or a mix of all.

it’s probable that each partner will be, by March 2021, at varying stages of the journey — the plan will be that at least one partner will be all the way in the process with a working tool that takes the planning application submission tool and feeds it seemlessly into our sister (niece? cousin?!) project — the Southwark-led Back Office Planning System (BoPs) project.

— the private Beta could also be a test set of validation rules — not everyone will have their requirements in a rules based format so it will be a really good indication of how far those who aren’t fully rules based have to go.

— likely we will need to consider what caveats will be required for each different partner

—the private Beta could be a dummy set of applications that we put through the tool to try out first before moving to a few live applications —this would avoid any mishaps with live applications and impacts on performance

— it could be that the private beta is set up to invite a number of agents to submit every application, or up to a specific amount, to allow us put a time frame around the private Beta

—it won’t necessarily be a valid application received the other end bearing in mind at this stage there are a number of items out of scope (e.g. drawings)

—it could be that we agree that the validation requirements could be the lowest level required to get around ambiguous requirements.

So, lots to think about in terms of what the private Beta will be and will look like.

Finally — we discussed the Benefits case and metrics for Beta.

Customer Survey — agreed it would be a good idea to have the same set of Questions. Camden has a standard corporate survey so we agreed we will all try to mirror that set of questions — our next workshop will include a discussion around what questions we all want to duplicate just in case individual councils have specific additional questions they want to ask separately.

Time sheeting exercise — some partners are able to run mini exercises capturing a month or two’s worth of data using a live form of electronic timesheet. For those who can’t do this — if they’re not able to run anything specific, we agreed we could all ask officers to roughly record how long it has taken them to validate an application and ask them to record a set number for reference.

Reasons for invalid applicaitons —the metrics exist for Wycombe but it would be good to have an update on what is currently causing issues for all partners

Other metrics to think about — GDS — partners from Lambeth and Bucks agreed for this sprint to create a document and put in all the metrics that were previously collected by Wycombe but also add in any useful new metrics from GDS. The partners can review at the next workshop meet and start to consider which other types of metrics can be realistically captured now so that there can be a comparison for private Beta.

Next Show and Tell — Friday 11th — and our workshop session scheduled straight after.



Project Team RIPA

We’ve made it to Beta. An MHCLG funded project, led by Lambeth with five partners — Buckinghamshire, Camden, Lewisham, Northumberland and Southwark