Kicking off the IMS Beta phase

We completed Alpha at the end of Summer 2020, and there has been quite a pause between then and now, but we’re ready to start!

As a reminder, the Income Management System (IMS) project is a collaborative effort between Barnsley Metropolitan Borough Council, Dorset Council and Huntingdonshire District Council, supported by MHCLG and it’s entering it’s Beta phase.

dxw supported us through the Discovery and Alpha phases of the project. We’ll continue to work with dxw in Beta.

At the end of Alpha we decided to split the Beta into two parts, approaching it as two Private Beta’s:

  • Private Beta 1 - an open source IMS
  • Private Beta 2 - a managed service IMS

Barnsley’s IMS is the starting point for private Beta 1. We’re stripping out some functionality that is linked to Barnsley specific tech choices to create the foundation from which to create the open source IMS.

Preparing for Private Beta 1

We started preparing for Private Beta 1 at the end of June.

We re-grouped and began by sharing our hopes and fears for the project.

We hoped for the open source IMS to be released and to engage users - users being the council’s using the IMS. We hoped for the IMS to be developed in the future by organisations other than the 3 original partner councils. We feared that there would be too much work to do, and engagement with council’s wouldn’t necessarily translate into users of the IMS.

We defined the scope of the minimum viable open source IMS. We identified the value users must have at a minimum. We took what had been identified as part of the IMS in Alpha, reviewed and prioritised it.

We shaped the vision for Beta. Taking the vision from Alpha, we reviewed how well this aligned to our understanding of the minimum viable IMS.

We shaped a set of goals for Private Beta 1. We discussed who the users of the open source IMS would be and what outcomes they were seeking. We thought about what we needed to learn and any risks we might encounter.

We also considered our ways of working, how we’ll collaborate and communicate.

Private Beta (1) Vision

A free, reusable and open source income management system. Built for the public good, and managed and owned by a community of users. That is easy and affordable to maintain and enhance.

Private Beta (1) Goals

  • Engage and build a community of IMS users
  • Evolving code-use, with contributors and consumers
  • Design a governance model that works
  • A strong and funded proposition for continued development

Sprint Plan

Private Beta 1 is expected to be 11 sprints long.

We’ve split the work into 3 parts, and there will be a pause between each part, to reflect and re-plan.

  • Sprints 1-3: prep, review, document, commit code
  • Sprints 4-8: design and develop and test
  • Sprints 9-11: testing, assurance, security and release

Between each phase we’ll hold a show and tell, open to any councils that would like to meet the team, hear more about our work, and ask questions.

Sprint One

We’re halfway through our 1st sprint.

Our main development task has been to de-couple Barnsley’s IMS from their current payment service provider so we can integrate with a range of PSPs.

This sprint we’ve also:

  • Decided our approach to product documentation
  • Decided our approach to testing
  • Begun to think about what our community of IMS users will need and expect
  • Onboarded new team members

The Team

Richard (Barnsley MBC), Glen (Dorset), Tony (Huntingdonshire), Egle (MHCLG) and Joseph, Isobel and Marcia (dxw).