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Fortnight notes: Data and Search team 05/12/16

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This is the Data & Search team's eighth set of fortnight notes. The idea is to keep an ongoing, public record of what we're doing. We'll iterate the notes with a view to making them better over time.

We'd appreciate any feedback to, or via the comments.

Here's what's been happening over the past 2 weeks:

On 17 and 18 November Samu went to shadow our colleagues in the Indexing and Data Management Section (IDMS). Anya (one of our product owners) leads this team. Samu looked at the specifics of how the team  work with the Indexing & Search applications,  doing subject- and topic tagging, taxonomy and ontology management. It was great talking to an expert crowd who were very receptive.

Samu and Aidan met with the Petitions Committee team to discuss work relating to use of petitions data and prototype newtools for IDMS.

Henry started to implement his user research plan for our new data service.

On 18 November Dan had a first meeting with Dia who is our new Product Manager.

The weekend of 19 November was Accountability Hack facilitated by Rebel Labs at the National Audit Office. There were 3 times more people from Parliament participating than ever before, and some great projects resulting from the weekend. We will be progressing three of the Parliament-specific ones. Source code for the project by Samu, Wojciech, Raphael and Matt is here. Also Dan won a prize.

The team were offered a 'market stall' slot at this Civil Service Fast Stream conference next year.

Michael continued to make progress on ontology development with Anya.

We had our planning day on 23 November and got through a really ambitious agenda.

Agenda from the Data and Search planning day on 23 November

On 24 November Chris and Dan met with Carrie and Louise to develop plans for our podcast series.

On 25 November Samu met with Steve (our senior business sponsor) to explain work to date and where we are heading. This was a positive session.

Also on 25 November Michael, Robert and Samu helped colleagues in the House of Commons Library working with "short bills".

David implemented a change to add "[Absence]" to people's Job Title if a person is currently on some kind of leave of absence, helping the Learning & Development team verify the personnel compliance to mandatory training.

David started working on the integration development for the new support desk data dashboard. This mini project is to pull information from the support system and store it in a table on a local database to then be consumed by a dashboard on PowerBI for reporting purposes.

Mat, David and Noel reduced the number of "Records With Incomplete Hierarchy Path" in our Learning Management System down to 1 (from a peak of 912 on 04/11). The hierarchy path is the organisational structure path, to know in which part of the organisation a person works.

There are two other Learning Management System metrics that are at their lowest point since the beginning of being measured:
* Learning Management System Accounts without Job Data: 190 (1.84%) from a peak value of 3302 in October.
* Learning Management System Accounts with Job Data but without Data regarding what team that person works in ("Unknown" Team): 38 (0.37%) from a peak of 718 in October.

On 27 November several of the team were at the Silicon Milkroundabout recruitment event. We've never done anything like this before. Julie was instrumental in making it happen. There was plenty of interest in data roles.

Michael went to a trust project hack event on 29 and 30 November.

Mat presented our show and tell on 29 November, demonstrating improvements the team have made on our 'corporate' data since April.

On 29 November Samu and Dan went to the Department for Transport to talk to them about their data discovery project. We were put in touch by Nick Halliday.

On 30 November Dan met with Krysztof the Performance Manager to talk about dashboards and building a community of practice. Dan had recently volunteered himself to lead on this for the Digital Service.

On 1 December Raphael our new Junior Developer started in the team.

Also on 1 December we had an outage on Following a problem report from an external developer we have identified an underlying issue that Mike, Wojciech and Samu are investigating.

Aidan met with Caroline Kenny from POST to talk about the fellowship programme and other work with academic institutions. Aidan learnt that we can approach them with project proposals, that they have new initiatives coming into place in May 2017 that could be useful, and that there is the opportunity to engage directly with research councils. Aidan agreed to meet again in the new year to discuss further.

Aidan, Robert, Michael and Anya met to plan the entity extraction work that we will start in January with Sheffield University.

On 2 December Michael went to the ODI to see Paul Downey talk about registers.

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