Transforming how we create plans for the future

Happy New Year! This year we are continuing with our digital transformation and ambition to be an innovative, customer-focused and digital 21st century land registration body. To meet this challenge, teams across the organisation have been hard at work to develop new and improved services that have the needs of our customers at heart. This will help us as we future-proof our services and move towards being a digital-first organisation by 2020.

In this blog, you’ll hear from three members of our IT development teams, who’ll share how they’ve been using effective collaboration and an agile project environment to successfully implement improvements to one of our most fundamental activities – the mapping of property boundaries, and collection of all the important information that comes from that process.

‘Streamlining the process of mapping boundaries’

— Chris Muir, product owner (mapping)

We’ve made great progress towards our vision of creating a new suite of mapping tools for RoS. The overall aim is to streamline the process of mapping property boundaries, capturing accurate and easily reusable spatial data which will form the cadastral map of Scotland. This is a departure from our traditional ‘digital cartography’ approach with a focus on creating digitized versions of paper deed plans.

There are several reasons to approach mapping of property boundaries from a data perspective.  For starters, the spatial integrity of the Land Register can be enforced systematically (e.g. automated boundary validation) to prevent errors occurring.  In addition, we can use data processes to automatically generate some land parcels, particularly where it’s a case of ‘filling in the gaps’ between existing registered titles. Increasingly our customers are able to provide spatial data from their own mapping systems and expect to receive the same from us, so there’s a clear benefit to working in this way.

‘Every aspect has been tested with end users’

— Phil Reid, user experience consultant

We have come a long way over the past year and I can honestly say that I’m very proud with what we’ve achieved so far.  The Plan Creator tool not only looks professional, it has been designed with the user at its heart – every aspect of its workflow and functionality has been tested with end users in our User Lab.  As a seasoned UXer, I can’t shout loud enough about how great it is to have our own testing facilities along with a wide pool of enthusiastic users!

We use a number of techniques at RoS when engaging with users, ranging from co-design sessions, one-to-one usability sessions to online surveys.  This combination of techniques allows us to have a wide reach in terms of user base and goes a long way to take people on the journey with us.  In a transformation programme like this, it could be all too easy for people to feel intimidated by new tools and processes so this engagement plays a crucial role in planning for the rollout of the end products.

‘I’ve learnt to question assumptions’

— Hannah Stewart, junior business analyst

Hannah joined our team earlier this year from CodeClan.

I have really enjoyed getting to know the development team that I work with, particularly because of their willingness to involve me in so many aspects of the mapping products that are in development. We are building a suite of tools that offer users the flexibility and ease of use they have asked for. Currently I’m working mainly on user stories related to our new Plan Creator tool, all based around user need and the technical enablers to deliver them. I work very closely with Chris and Phil, shaping stories for the products, thinking through all the scenarios so that each one is fully ready to picked up by the developers.

When I started in my current position I didn’t anticipate that it would be as creative as I’ve found it to be. It has been really helpful to be a part of a well-established agile team who work well together, but aren’t afraid to question each other’s perspectives or ideas – I’ve certainly learnt to question assumptions and to approach tasks from different angles! Working as a business analyst in RoS, I’ve learned that communication is key and to never underestimate how much information you need to channel from the business back into the dev team and vice versa.

Find out more!

You can follow the team via @RegistersOfScot on Twitter and on Facebook, LinkedIn and YouTube for more updates. Want to comment? Let us know below.

One thought on “Transforming how we create plans for the future

  1. Great article about one of the many great projects colleagues in RoS are doing to improve our services.
    More like this please!

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