I’m Jaci and I work as a scrum master in the Digital Delivery team at the Valuation Office Agency (VOA). I joined the Agency over 5 years ago and moved into my current role just over a year ago.
We have just successfully developed and deployed a ‘Continuous Improvement’ digital service to over 2,000 users within the VOA. This was the first service I have been involved with right from the start and consider myself very lucky to have been working alongside a project manager and business analyst who both have lots of previous experience and a never-ending amount of patience.
Building a digital service
Agile development works on a cycle of: plan, develop, test, release, repeat – with tasks being broken down into manageable timescales – these are called sprints. We used 2-week-long sprints for this project.
Building a digital service using agile involves regular, close contact with the product owner, the business contact responsible for the service and usually a specialist in the area the service is to be used. The product owner provides an essential knowledge base for the user researcher and development team to ensure the service meets the business needs.
At the end of each sprint the business stakeholders are invited to attend a sprint review where the team members show what they have produced. Ours included demos of the updated service and some insights from a user researcher.
We first released the basic service (the minimum viable product) to a limited number of colleagues during a beta phase where the product owner, user researcher and business analyst worked closely to gain feedback from users to identify any fixes and improvements required. These were then planned in alongside the other development tasks for implementation.
Starting the rollout across different offices was challenging but also exhilarating – the fear that nothing would work on the day! The first couple of rollouts certainly provided some lessons that were swiftly incorporated ahead of the next ones.
Most of the issues experienced on this project came down to agile still being very new within the VOA, but I can honestly say I am proud of every one of my colleagues who has gone above and beyond to ensure this service has been successfully deployed.
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