Week notes

These weekly posts are designed to give some insight into what is happening inside the Business Connect team and allow us to share what we’re learning and achieving.

September 2023

1 September – GOV.UK Forms

This week we had a call with 2 senior product managers in the GOV.UK Forms team within Government Digital Service (GDS). 3 of us jumped online to meet with Adam and Katie at 8:30pm our time.

While we were a bit tired before the call, we felt energised afterwards. The experience of talking to people who have a similar mission but are months ahead of you is like the chance to shake a magic eight ball that really can predict the future.

We bombarded the team with questions including:

  • Where do you see your product in 2, 3 or 4 years?
  • How are you preparing to scale the use of your form builder?
  • Are you under pressure to crank out forms and get a high volume of end-users? How do you balance that with the right product choices?
  • How have you structured your team?
  • Does anyone check that the forms are well designed and user friendly before they are published?
  • How do you measure the value you’re delivering?

Each time we speak to people at GDS we come away with a new perspective and about 50 more questions we’d like to have asked.

This time the key takeaways were having a focused value proposition, keeping it super simple when measuring how much time we’re saving for government and the importance of automating onboarding and support processes before scaling.

Shelley, Product Manager

8 September – Accessibility testing

This week let’s talk accessibility testing.  Accessibility testing is a subset of usability testing and is defined as a type of software testing performed to ensure that the application being tested is inclusive for all groups of users.

Inclusive software products allow use of assistive technologies by users to help them navigate through the software product when they have hearing, vision or other permanent or temporary disabilities.

To ensure we at Business Connect are compliant and inclusive we are working on a program where accessibility is treated as a must have during the development lifecycle.  As a team we review and prioritise each new piece of work with accessibility in mind. We refine the work we do in Business Connect and collaborate with the project team to ensure that accessibility requirements are met and integrated into the design and development.

Accessibility testing tools are used to support the manual testing, and we as a team are committed to adding these as part of our Testing Best Practices.

Future state – accessibility standards are fully integrated and met during the development lifecycle day to day.

Dion, Test Lead

15 September – Transforming Sprint Prioritisation: From Battle to Harmony 

Looking back at the evolution of our sprint prioritisation process, it's fascinating to see how we've transitioned from what used to resemble a battlefield of conflicting interests to a harmonious orchestration of goals and collaboration. In the past, it often felt like every sprint was a battleground, with stakeholders jostling to get their stories pushed through and satisfied. 

However, our journey has led us to a significantly more organised and streamlined approach, bringing about a multitude of benefits. Here's why our sprint prioritisation is now less chaotic and everyone is onboard with achieving our quarterly goals: 

  • Strategic alignment: We've anchored our sprint prioritisation to our broader strategic objectives. By ensuring that every story aligns with our overall mission, we've eliminated the scramble for attention and resources that used to dominate our sprints.
  • Transparency and communication: Open lines of communication have become our allies. Transparent discussions about the rationale behind story selection have brought clarity to our decisions, minimising misunderstandings and conflicts.
  • Data-informed decisions: We've embraced data-driven insights to guide our prioritisation. This has fostered a more rational and objective approach, lessening the subjective clashes that used to characterise our sprint planning. 
  • Value-oriented approach: Prioritising stories based on their potential value to our users and stakeholders has shifted our focus from the quantity of stories to the quality of impact. This shift has garnered support for our prioritisation decisions.
  • Quarterly planning consistency: Our goals set during quarterly planning provide a stable foundation. With a shared vision, our sprints are no longer battles to gain fleeting advantages but rather united strides toward our larger objectives. 
  • Empowered teams: Teams now have the autonomy to make decisions about what they can realistically accomplish in a sprint. This empowerment has instilled a sense of ownership, reducing the tension surrounding forced commitments. 

As we continue on this journey of transformation, it's incredible to witness the harmony that arises when everyone is aligned, empowered, and focused on the bigger picture. Our sprint prioritisation process has evolved from a battlefield into a collective symphony of progress.

Aaron, Solution Architect

22 September – FormBuilder.govt user testing

With the success of FormBuilder.govt, Business Connect has entered its first round of user testing with three people from Ministry of Social Development, the Association of Local Government Information Managers and Customs.

These users have been given a dummy form to create over the next couple of weeks, after which we will be meeting with them again to see how they got on and gather any feedback to further refine our resources and teaching methods.

This was a fun experience for me. I’ve never carried out any user testing before but have always really enjoyed teaching people about things I am passionate about. I am excited to see how our users have progressed and how their contribution will make the experience even better for future builders.

Josh, Advisor

Previous months
Last updated: 18 September 2023