At the beginning of the year Neil Williams shared the 2016/17 roadmap for GOV.UK. I’ve just been appointed as GOV.UK’s Lead Product Manager and, as we’re into our second quarter now, I want to provide an update on our progress.
What happened in Q1
We’ve been really busy in the first quarter of this financial year, and we’ve achieved a lot. During Q1, GOV.UK had 6 product teams, 4 content teams and 1 infrastructure team. 60% of our capacity was invested in support work, to ensure that GOV.UK continues to run as a safe and reliable part of the nation’s infrastructure.
We’ve made progress on building a taxonomy for education by:
- completing contextual research, talking to people who work in schools and colleges, to help us understand more about their needs and inform our taxonomy
- testing our taxonomy for early years content and making changes to our process based on what we learnt
- working with departments and agencies to provide support to complete 20 inventories and 12 audits
- continued our work to rebuild GOV.UK’s Publishing Platform
- improved the process for managing links to local authority websites from GOV.UK so that we can end a legacy contract with LocalDirectGov
- built and begun to test a new user research panel, which will help us to recruit users of GOV.UK as participants for research more easily and cheaply
- undertaken 2 trials where other departments and agencies built directly on the GOV.UK platform with our support
- begun a discovery on the move of GOV.UK to Platform as a Service (PaaS)
- supported government priorities through the EU referendum
- completed a discovery to identify websites that are yet to be transitioned to GOV.UK
- improved our content about starting a business
- reviewed all the campaign pages on GOV.UK, removing outdated content
- started an alpha on redesigning import and export content
And we've started or finished some things ahead of time, including:
- a discovery on GOV.UK’s subscription emails, which will look again at the user needs - this is 2 months ahead of schedule
- running regular tests on the GOV.UK survey so that we build confidence in our use of it, and so that we learn more about the best ways to ask questions for feedback
- making changes to the support form used by government publishers to request changes and report problems on GOV.UK so that they’re easier to submit, and easier to triage to the right team
- completing the discovery on the campaigns platform, which means we know which user needs we’ll prioritise and the scope of the work as a whole
What’s happening in Q2
Q2 began with focussing on the changes that followed the Cabinet reshuffle in July. This included creating new departments on GOV.UK, and closing some others. We also had to alter email subscriptions to reflect the changes.
We’ve been setting up a few new product teams in the early part of Q2, so that we can meet the demands of our roadmap plans for the rest of the financial year.
There are 2 main changes to the roadmap for Q2.
The rebuild of the Publishing Platform
We’re learning plenty as we continue with this work. We’ve now updated the roadmap to reflect our continued investment in the Publishing Platform, extended our time to migrate the formats used by Government publishers to use the platform, and started on work to define how we can measure the benefits.
Updating the content operating model mission
As we’re learning, we’re updating the goals in our roadmap. This work is laying the foundations for what we plan to focus on in the 2017 to 2018 financial year.
We’ve decided to delay some things from Q2, such as:
- reviewing and enhancing technical security GOV.UK infrastructure
This sounds like a risky thing to delay! However, the highest priority things that we want to address will now be wrapped up with our move to the PaaS. This is the most efficient way to do this, and therefore more cost effective for the taxpayer.
- updating the blog platform
We’ve delayed this by about a month while we recruit an associate product manager. We’ve already started to plan what much of this work will entail, but it was right to delay this also to prioritise the ‘machinery of government’ changes through July.
Keep up to date with GOV.UK
Our roadmap will continue to evolve in response to new priorities, and I’ll continue to update you through blog posts.
In October we’ll host a Show and Tell at our offices in London, and live stream it on Periscope or YouTube. This is for our colleagues across government who can represent users of our publishing tools. We’ll run through our roadmap in more detail, how GOV.UK is evolving as an organisation and talk about what we plan to deliver.
There’ll be plenty of time for questions! Invites have been sent but if you have missed yours, please leave a comment below.
Jennifer Allum is GOV.UK's Lead Product Manager. You should follow Jen on Twitter.