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Out in the field...

Posted by: , Posted on: - Categories: DWP Digital Capability Building

Its been a busy few weeks since our last update. Some of us have started on a new project, we've delivered a presentation to a conference of 400 people whilst still continuing on the journey of building our capability.

Shortly after the hack day we were asked to present our team at the ITPD Conference. The theme was “Capability” so it was a natural for us to be asked to demonstrate our skills.

We decide the use the Raspberry Pi robot we'd already built and talk about the journey we have been on, demonstrating the skills we've learnt so far. We were allocated 30 minutes for our session.

By using Skype we were able to show live the robot moving around our purpose built maze. We demonstrated the robot moving, first by user input (which resulted in a lot of errors and crashing!) and automated script (which worked perfectly).

We were very well received with many people commenting on how what we were doing was long over due and interested to follow what we were doing. We also received quite a lot of interest from people with coding experience on wanting to join the team!

Also on the day we had a session on Agile Delivery, presented by Jim Downie. This involved nominating a project manager around our table, who were then given a list of requirements, weighted with differing scores depending on complexity. We were then tasked to build the requirement using coloured blocks. Queue lots of discussions and frantic searching for “one more green 2x2 block!”.

PM's, BA's and "Dev's" working in harmony......(!)
PM's, BA's and "Dev's" working in harmony......(!)


Also in May, four of the team (Nathalie, Mike, Donna and Paul) started work with the PIP project, providing some assistance with writing a PIP Information Service. There is an aggressive deadline for delivery of PIPIS (anticipated go-live for PIPIS to coincide with phase 3 release for PIPCS in September ‘14). We have been using html and css and using the Razor syntax based on the C# programming language, the language used most often with ASP.NET MVC. There are also elements of JavaScript and JQuery which we have been getting to grips with, and we have been using the MVC framework [model view controller] which is a software architectural pattern for implementing user interfaces (for example, the PIPIS screens for Personal Details, Entitlement Details, Payments Details etc)

This week, Capgemini have transferred the work we have done into their own dev environment and are guiding us through our first Agile project management environment, with co-location, pair programming, daily stand ups, 2 week time-boxed delivery Sprints and the like.

Seeing first hand what a true Agile delivery should look like – and at pace - is going to be invaluable to us and we hope to bring what we have seen and learned back into DWP

Finally, Adrian and I are still here in Carers. We are learning Java (from a real life, thick, heavy textbook!) continuing our learning of Agile in a live environment and gleaning as much knowledge as possible from the guys on the project. We have been busy compiling a list of software used by the project that will need procuring, following the processes involved for the fortnightly releases.

In the coming weeks we have been asked to talk at Civil Service Live (North West) about building capability within DWP IT and continuing our own learning in our respective projects.

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