Weeknotes: Making Progress

tobiogunsina Product management, weeknotes Leave a Comment

Both teams have made significant progress this week. The accessibility team was able to get some time from Data labs (which is a team of developers and data scientists). We needed their help to find instances of some of the accessibility problems and identify patterns especially when there are multiple causes. We are already seeing the impact of having them join us. 

We also got a new Content Designer, which is brilliant and will help us move faster – figuring out how to solve some of those problems and updating guidance for other departments. 

The Replatforming team is also at a pivotal point now where we need to write up what we’ve learnt in the discovery so far and start planning the next stage. 


What went well

I ran an introductory session to introduce new members to the work we are doing on accessibility – the scope, where we’ve got to and how we need their help. 

I also ran a prioritisation session for the audit results we already have. We were already focusing on accessibility problems that need to be fixed to meet the WCAG 2.1 level AA standard for now but I figured since time is the variable that we can’t change, It’ll be helpful to further prioritise them based so we are fixing the most significant ones first. 

We looked at Severity (Impact on the user’s ability to use GOV.UK) and Reach (Number of instances of the problem and visibility of the problem i.e on super popular pages). We ranked each problem on these factors and are now focusing on high/medium impact and wide reach problems first. We didn’t use complexity because it can be unclear what’s needed to fix it especially as we’ve seen that each problem can have multiple causes and therefore multiple fixes. 

Our Content Designer, Marian, ran a session with some accessibility experts to talk about the range of problems with table headers. We were able to identify the key problem areas and start thinking about ways to fix them. We’ll continue some of those discussions next week. I also wrote down our plan for addressing issues with document attachments and shared that with some stakeholders. 

There is a lot to do for accessibility so we did some planning for the next 2 weeks. I also met the GOV.UK head of product to talk about the progress we’ve made so far. 

We’ve been making good progress with some fixes. We fixed alt text for some images/placeholders and fixed duplicate headings for simple smart answers. We started fixing some problems where there’s more than one language on a page and no language attribute and we’ve started updating guidance. Progress!

There was lots of progress on the re-platforming team this week too. The team explored how debugging and secret management will work in AWS Fargate. We also continued exploring Kubernetes and GOV.UK PaaS and think we are ready to make a recommendation. We’ve also been looking at the cost for each one and writing up a proposed migration approach that we should share soon. Over the next week, we’ll need to write up what we’ve learnt and start planning the next stage. 

The rest of the time was spent on bits and pieces of work to keep things moving and unblock people

What could be better

Product Managers and Delivery Managers work very closely together. This week I had no delivery manager on both teams due to holidays and sick leave so that was hard. Managing 2 products is hard normally so it was particularly hard this week. 

There’s just a few weeks to go before the deadline to meet the accessibility regulations, everything feels a little rushed and I feel like there isn’t quite as much time to explore problems and gain alignment in the way I’d like to so I’ll need to think on that.

I’ve not been able to spend quite as much time with the replatforming team as needed so I’ll probably need to reconsider how to approach managing both teams. 

In other News

I joined the accessibility community meeting within GDS and it was good to hear what other people were doing and concerns they had. 

I took Thursday off. I just chilled and had a british food day. It was good for my soul. I also started reading ‘How to be a Brit’ by George Mikes, which is an amusing read so far

Thank you for reading