Business Grants Portal Phase 2 (Part 2)

Key Takeaways

Image from Business Grants Portal website

BGP Phase 2 journey has definitely been an exciting and exhilarating experience for us as it focused on other innovations that go beyond onboarding of new grants such as Data Analytics and GovReview, a crowd-sourced consultant review platform. If you’ve yet to read on part 1 of our Business Grants Portal (BGP) Phase 2, check out this post here.

Conversely, great things do not happen without challenges. As we approach the end of BGP phase 2 in the next few months, here are some key takeaways:

Quick onboarding for grants by standardizing forms

The time taken to roll out new grants would have taken significantly longer if we treat each grant uniquely from the rest. It has always been a challenge to balance between getting grants to onboard fast and catering to the diverse needs of our different stakeholders.

In order to standardize these forms, a common understanding between the agencies was needed. Agencies have come together and discussed on needs and policies to harmonize and leverage on the existing forms and processes in BGP. The support and open-mindedness of these synergies have helped to contribute a positive project outcome.

Designing modules that are reusable and scalable

Typically, developers translate business requirements into code without considering the possibility of the functions gets reused in other parts of the system. However, as changes are rapid and processes are now streamlined across grants, developers are challenged to take a holistic approach in their code solutions.

Before the development of processes and functions, developers have to consider various aspects such as efficiency and reusability so that when new grants are onboard in BGP, existing modules/functions can be reused and be as simple as “plug and play”. With such design in place, the system is scalable and cost-effective with at least 4 weeks of development time saved which has enabled the developers to focus on other tasks.

Reducing the learning curve for new developers

Consequently, as we have more grants and features to be developed, more people are added to the team. Referencing to Brook’s law, these additions of people will inevitably result in greater communication overheads which increases the risk of delay in deliverables completion time and quality declination in overall standards. A proper plan needs to be in place to minimize such risks.

My team and I have prepared onboarding materials to kickstart the training of new hires for BGP development. This includes a crash course on Agile Scrum methodology, an overview of the BGP system and its timeline, followed by extensive pair programming sessions for faster knowledge transfer, learning the team’s best practices and allowing instant feedback system for improvements. To facilitate a conducive environment, it is important for them to feel comfortable and supported while in their pursuit of learning.

Developers doing more than just development

My teammates and I are passionate individuals who strive to do great and meaningful work. To value add BGP requirements from both technical and business perspectives, we collaborate closely with our Product Owner and share our opinions and improvements where we see fit. Given that the two groups of people are experts in their own field, that when combined, it derives positive outcomes and increases operational-technological alignment.

As part of our effort in understanding our actual users further, we also initiated an agency visit to observe and learn the way they use our system holistically to identify areas of improvements — be it enhancements or eliminating features which are redundant or unused.

Our recent visit down to Enterprise Singapore to learn more about user-system interaction behavior in Oct 2018

Sharing of data and information for the public good

The growth of data increases as more and more transactions are being made in BGP. Other than having mechanisms such as Fraud Risk Assessment as mentioned above, the insights and learning points derived from data analytics capabilities can be shared and benefited the public sector as a whole.

If there is one commonality across the takeaways, it would be the emphasis on collaboration — be it in your team, among the stakeholders and even in your code solution. Collaboration is multiplication :) As the saying goes:

“If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.”

Thanks for reading folks! Look forward to our Phase 3 :)

Psst, if you like what you just read and believe in the work that we are doing for the public good, good news. We are ALWAYS on a lookout for talents who have a burning desire to make a positive impact via cool and useful technologies. If that’s you, hit me up via Linkedin!

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Be Happy, Be Awesome! We deliver high-quality digital services to citizens and businesses in Singapore 😊

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Rabiah Khairy

Rabiah Khairy

Technical Consultant @LinkedIn, Ex-Software Engineer @GovTechSG. Hit me up @https://www.linkedin.com/in/rabiah-khairy-010b728b/

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