Week 13: 20-10-2017


On Monday we had the fourth ‘extravaganza’ held in honour of Ray, our new CTO. The deputy director David was supposed to be there too but unfortunately couldn’t make it. Nevertheless, it went well. There was good representation from lots of the team and we seemed to get across the wide variety of work that data and search do. Dan didn’t manage the time very well so Aidan didn’t get to talk about procurement and we didn’t talk about community and outreach.

Sam from the Cabinet Office came along and wrote up some thoughts.

Showing and telling

Tuesday was show and tell. Sara presented on analysis of the search API. Which was great. With a good discussion afterwards. Much potential here, says Dan.

Parliament in the area, we’re international, we’re continental. Just west of Glasgow

Anya, Aidan, Chris, Raphael and Michael all travelled to Belfast to attend the Open Data Camp. It was splendid. Much more conversational and pleasant than the usual conference. Thanks to Giuseppe and all the organisers.

Anya and Michael met a terribly nice man by the name of Two-Tits Taylor in a bar at Heathrow. He bought them both a pint. Thanks Two-Tits.

Dan had a call with the Scottish Parliament about search and building websites. Which was also great.

One world, one web, one team

Dan went along to two Members website product team stand ups, a backlog review session, and a user research review session about votes. Dan seems to think Aidan went to a couple more stand ups, including to the Committees website product team’s one.

Anya, Dan, Silver and Michael also went along to the Member website session on oral contributions.

You can never have too much ceremony.

Domain modelling

Anya and Michael finished adding comments to the published models. If you’re reading this it’s fairly safe to assume you might be interested in reading them. Please do and shout on the mailing list if anything looks wrong or wonky.

They also met with Oli to talk through the proposed schema for election candidates and results and check how well it maps to our election model. All seems good with the usual caveats about Labour / Co-op and turnout calculations.

On Wednesday, Anya, Silver and Michael met with the two Eds, James Bowman and Gordon Clarke from House of Commons committee land, to chat about modelling committee types and areas of responsibility. There’s a draft model but it still needs drawing up.

Data platform

Aidan updated the business case document and met with Steve Wise to discuss the roadmap for the data toolkit and what would be useful in helping with delivery.

He also met with Jo and Selina to run through the data and search roadmap, looking at where more information would be useful. There was some good feedback that will be used to develop the roadmap documentation further.

The search team gathered for planning and retrospective sessions. There was a good, open discussion about how to approach delivery of improved search, who should be involved and how best to collaborate across all delivery teams. Various continuous improvement actions came from that including further review of how user research, design and prototyping activities can interact.

Measuring things

Liz joined Colin and Trine at their regular measurement discussion for the people part of the beta website to add search into the mix. She shared feedback received on MP searches from the survey on the search results page. This covers searches originating from the current and beta sites and provides some information on what and why people want info.

The indexing of beta website pages will provide an opportunity to measure how beta is doing in an additional way; traffic from search to beta, comparing the websites to identify which content is viewed most. Liz is writing out ideas to get feedback on, so there is a plan for tracking to be in place.

Saffiyah is continuing to work on KPIs for the House of Commons Library Enquiry service. She’s also learning Python in order to automate data requests to the API.

Sara continued to work on the analysis for the A/B testing of URL display in search results.

Corporate data

Matias implemented an emergency change to the data flow into the learning and development software. Role information wasn’t updating successfully when people changed jobs. It is now.

He also created a first draft on JIRA reporting using their API, this time including pagination to obtain all of the information from JIRA on multiple calls.

He had initial meetings regarding the Catering Stock Management Project and did some analysis work to understand all data flows that will be needed. We are now safe for custard.

Matias met with Sam to discuss next steps on the reporting software for the Executive Programme Management Office (or some acronym that might expand to that).

Lew has been working on an integration for the incident reporting system which involved quite a variety of mapping logic.

Machines that do learning

The machines appeared to learn nothing this week. Sad.


Julie has booked herself on the contract manager training course. Michael feels some degree of responsibility. And guilt.

Aidan went on a half-day coaching masterclass. It was a good refresher and he heard about ‘5 bums on a rugby post’ for the first time. Not a clue here.

Julie put Aidan in touch with an external mentor.

Things that caught our eye