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Claim Tax Benefits [alpha]

Simple filing for quicker benefits

Since November 2018, I’ve been the Technical Lead on a Canadian Digital Service project to improve the way Canadians receive benefits. Beginning with an organizational discovery and currently planning for an initial release, the Claim Tax Benefits service will trial expedited tax filing for low-confidence users in Ontario to reduce the barrier to receiving their benefits.

As the lead technologist on the team, I am ultimately responsible for delivering a resilient and accessible service that integrates with the legacy infrastructure at the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA). It’s a fairly big role, and the day-to-day is different depending on the phase of the project.

During the Discovery, my focus was on the archeology of our partner department: who are we working with? how do they plan their work? what systems are implicated? What are the constraints? The reports I wrote elaborated the context and made the case to move forward.

In the Alpha phase, myself and the CRA Service Owner came up with the initial concept, and we then refined it with our Service Designer. In addition, I built various prototypes using different technology stacks to find a balance between the preferences of our modern dev shop and the legacy environment we are reliant on.

Now working towards a live Beta, I am leading a small but capable team of developers from both departments as we build a secure and accessible frontend. At the same time, I am continuing to meet with and coordinate with various stakeholders at our partner department about our needs and changes to our scope of work.

My responsibilities include:

  • Evaluating the landscape (and documenting it)
  • Picking the initial technology stack
  • Developing the product
  • Planning development work for upcoming sprints
  • Managing the development team
  • Doing code reviews
  • Building and maintaining our CI pipeline
  • Meeting and corresponding with our CRA IT partners to gather information or inform them of what we need
  • Working with the Product Manager to estimate timelines and raise blockers
  • Working very closely with our CRA IT manager to keep things on track
  • Working with the Service Designer on product direction and estimating the feasibility of new designs
  • Building proposed new features for usability testing sessions
  • Attending / facilitating user research sessions
  • Presenting work to stakeholders from both departments
  • Writing documentation / rationales of all sorts

All in all, it’s a big job with many folks involved, lots of responsibility, and potentially a very big impact. It’s fun the more real it gets, but I’m often wanting a beer at the end of a day. If you are curious about anything specific, please reach out and let’s get in /contact.