Weeks 111 to 114

Saying “I’ve been too busy to write week notes” sounds like a cop out, but the reality is I’ve been too busy to write week notes.

So here’s a bumper edition from a very busy 4 weeks.

Delivering a new service at short notice

We designed, built, tested, released (and have since switched off) a whole new digital service.

The rules for exporting goods to China are changing for a wide variety of goods, including grains, honey and vegetables1. Businesses who export these goods had a narrow window to register so that the department could ‘recommend’ them to China by the end of October.

Jointly with the regulatory area, we brought digital specialists across our division into a new team, and worked closely with colleagues from the platform, security and change management areas.

From start to finish, we launched the service in one week. It was a great result and reflected on our increased delivery maturity over the last 6 months.

Of course, it deserved a new mission patch:

The new mission patch for the China Export Listing Service, displayed next to our first mission patch for the 30 June private beta

Scaling up our Export Readiness service

We hit our milestone to begin scaling our Export Readiness service by the end of October. This has been a huge achievement and a whole-team effort over a number of months.

To make this happen, we’ve actually delivered three connected improvements:

  1. We’re now re-using the whole-of-government digital identity platform so our users can prove who they are and which business they’re acting on behalf of.

  2. We’ve expanded the functionality for managing export establishments so that every kind of change available on the existing EX26b paper form can now be done digitally.

  3. We’ve integrated the service with the Establishment Register - the 30 year-old database which holds the records of export establishments. (In our earlier trials, we took the Wizard of Oz approach to manually transfer the existing details of our trial participants to the service.)

We are now running onboarding sessions with the CEOs of export businesses to get set up with digital identity and to authorise their staff to use our services on behalf of the business.

We’re starting with some of Australia’s largest meat producers, and are gradually expanding over the next couple of months as we progress towards making the service available to all.

Somebody asked me last week if we’ve “created an e-form”. One of the things I’m particularly proud of the team for is how we have not done a lift-and-shift of the paper form. We’ve deconstructed and reimagined it as a collection of user-centred transactions, built as an ongoing digital service.

Publishing our first blog post

Another success, long in the making, is that we published our first blog post.

We’ve been working with Bronwen and the department’s communications branch to set up a blog, and we now have a fortnightly publishing slot on the department’s LinkedIn profile.

Our first post is a primer on what we’re doing with our transformation and how we’re going about doing it. In future, our posts will be from people working in our teams, talking about what’s coming up.

A big thanks to Gabby for making this happen.

…and moving to Canberra

It’s only taken us about a year but, as the ACT border re-opened, we were able to finally move to Canberra.

Our new house is empty, so there’s been plenty to do. Any spare waking moment has been spent buying furniture or making ad hoc trips to Kmart. My flat-pack assembly skills have not improved over the years…

  1. Have a read of this PDF for a detailed list of goods affected by the new rules.