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Bridging People and Benefits Systems

Bridging People and Benefits Systems

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Ben Sheldon

October 04, 2018
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  1. None
  2. Ben Sheldon Engineering Manager @bensheldon

  3. We are making government work, starting with people who need

    it most.
  4. We believe Services can be simple, accessible, and easy to

    use. Outcomes can be measurably better. Better can cost less. We can serve everyone with respect and dignity.
  5. Principles and practices that make change real A learning community

    that makes change stick Show what’s possible Help others do it themselves Build a movement Government services so good they inspire change What we do and how we do it
  6. $42B To have impact at scale, government programs must work

    better than they do today. Charitable contributions towards safety net Making government programs just 10% more effective would be bigger than all charitable spending. $470B Spent on government safety net programs
  7. GetCalFresh Closing the SNAP participation gap in California

  8. 45-55 minutes to use $800M to build $80M/year to maintain

    Applying for SNAP in California
  9. • 8 minutes to complete • Works on any device,

    no download (50%+ of clients use mobile) • Considerate of limited data plans • Written in plain English & Spanish • Live chat for questions • Customized user flows for specific populations / exemptions Making sure applicants have what they need
  10. GetCalFresh reach CA Counties 34 Applications in August 17,700 People

    helped in August 35,000+ ...and growing People helped all-time 400,000+
  11. The past 18 months

  12. The GetCalFresh Team Product Manager Program Director Program & Partnerships

    Research & Design Client Success Engineering
  13. Version 0

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  15. Version 1 → →

  16. Version 1.1 → →

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  18. → → → →

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  22. How we did it... ➔ Staging environments for every remote

    system ➔ Strict validations for every form input that maps to the corresponding county system inputs. ➔ Bulletproof parsers for names, addresses, etc. ➔ A comprehensive test library of every possible image, document, and file format in the world today ➔ ML-powered circuit breakers and job schedulers
  23. How we did it... ➔ Staging environments for every remote

    system ➔ Strict validations for every form input that maps to the corresponding county system inputs. ➔ Bulletproof parsers for names, addresses, etc. ➔ A comprehensive test library of every possible image, document, and file format in the world today ➔ ML-powered circuit breakers and job schedulers ➔ Test in production ➔ Embrace manual workflows ➔ Leave automation till the end
  24. “ [The] paradox of increased overall control through letting go

    a bit seems paradoxical only because our normal way of thinking about control is mistakenly static: it is not development or process-oriented because it leaves out the dimension of time. — Peter Elbow, Writing Without Teachers
  25. Example: Document Processing ➔ Convert PNGs and JPGs to PDF

    ➔ Convert TIFFs to PDF ➔ Reduce large file size PDFs ➔ Convert DOCX to PDF ➔ Validate password protected PDFs ➔ Validate broken PDFs with missing EOF marker ➔ Validate massive housing documents (e.g. leases) ➔ Normalize mixed-orientation PDFs ➔ Convert interlaced PNGs to PDF ➔ Convert BMPs to PDF ➔ Convert Multipage TIFFs to PDF
  26. Example: Document Processing ➔ Convert PNGs and JPGs to PDF

    June 6, 2016 ➔ Convert TIFFs to PDF April 19, 2017 ➔ Reduce large file size PDFs September 15, 2017 ➔ Convert DOCX to PDF September 19, 2017 ➔ Validate password protected PDFs January 18, 2018 ➔ Validate broken PDFs with missing EOF marker June 29, 2018 ➔ Validate massive housing documents (e.g. leases) July 2, 2018 ➔ Normalize mixed-orientation PDFs August 17, 2018 ➔ Convert interlaced PNGs to PDF September 24, 2018 ➔ Convert BMPs to PDF September 26, 2018 ➔ Convert Multipage TIFFs to PDF TODO
  27. The past 18 months

  28. XKCD at Scale

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  31. The “Wobbly Stool” model Improve client experience & outcomes Improve

    automation Manually submit client applications
  32. How we did it... ➔ Staging environments for every remote

    system ➔ Strict validations for every form input that maps to the corresponding county system inputs. ➔ Bulletproof parsers for names, addresses, etc. ➔ A comprehensive test library of every possible image, document, and file format in the world today ➔ ML-powered circuit breakers and job schedulers ➔ Test in production ➔ Embrace manual workflows ➔ Leave automation till the end
  33. A week in the life...

  34. A week in the life... Drive Time

  35. A week in the life... Drive Time

  36. March 6, 2017 June 1, 2018 April 17, 2017

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  40. Our support system ➔ Recognize that safety and reliability is

    human work ➔ Talk through our natural tendencies towards catastrophizing and perfectionism ➔ Maintain a dependable backlog ➔ Have a consistent prioritization process ➔ Trust (and coach) team members to balance their time ➔ Constantly reinforce why we’re building this system...
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  42. We can’t make government work without YOU. (Literally.)

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