Yesterday we completed our sprint zero for the Beta project. Once again we have a team from Methods Digital providing development support – though we have some new faces this time around alongside two Alpha veterans.
This sprint was primarily about giving everybody in the team an opportunity to get up to speed with the legacy of the Alpha and to get their hands on the code. Amongst this though there have been some specific tasks to give us a strong foundation for the project.
Getting our approach to testing and deployment from the start was vital and we have also spent some time thinking about information radiators/dashboards so we can make that data visible early in the project.
Ripping AngularJS out of our code while retaining similar functionality has been a tricky, but vital, job but real progress has been made already and a consensus about a new approach is emerging.
The main task has been a team wide ‘spike’ in to understanding the requirements for our new publishing platform, Florence, which has caused a fair amount of head scratching, beard stroking, room pacing and drawing on walls!
This is coming together nicely though – we are very much aiming for a ‘minimal viable product’ really early here and it seems like that is going to be achievable. From a user research point of view this part of the project is wonderful as the end users sit just a couple of banks of desks away 🙂
I’m a sucker for a good URL design – weirdly it is how I visualise websites – and the team made some great progress on that during this period. I think they have come up with something elegant and extensible but the ‘proof will be in the pudding’.
There have been some really useful conversations with the web archive team at the National Archive this week as well with Rob and Al doing great work looking in to how those crawls are going and what kind of influence that could have on our plans for migration.
I’m spending a lot of time thinking about and planning for the transition from Beta to Live already – particularly around ensuring we have the skills and tools to sustain what we are building. This idea of sustaining an iterative approach and continuing to develop even after launch will be key to the success of this undertaking and there is much to do.
It is an exciting time though – the month since we passed the GDS assessment has felt like limbo with just enough time to worry about things but not really fix anything until the whole team was in place. I’ve written a little about my personal ambitions for the Beta on my own blog and hopefully that will be a useful primer as to what this is all about.
As during the Alpha we will blog regularly with updates and more in depth pieces. We are running our sprints Wednesday to Tuesdays now so these #sprintnotes should be regular fortnightly on a Wednesday – that is my intent anyway.