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Digital Update: Digital’s Quarterly Roadmap, Spanish Snapshot, Permitting, & More

Posted on April 30, 2021

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Digital Quarterly Roadmap 

Following our one year mark from the start of the pandemic, Digital is actively working to help our city “build back better” by digitizing city services and digitally up-skilling our city workforce. This week, Digital met to discuss our quarterly roadmap and new sprint planning processOur department roadmap defines the needs we’re seeing across the city, theories on how to address these needs, and specific goals we believe can be accomplished this quarter.

This quarterly planning will guide Digital’s sprint planning for the coming two monthsSprints are used to ship quality products and projects out in shorter, constrained periods of time (between two and four weeks), and at a higher frequencyNext week we’ll meet for our first sprint planning session for the Month of May- where we will prioritize projects and tasks for our May sprint

In the spirit of working in the open, Digital will share our Quarterly Planning and Monthly Sprint documents with city staff. We encourage feedback and questions and look forward to closely engaging city departments in this process going forward.  

Spanish Snapshot Piloted 

In the last few years, and especially since the beginning of the pandemic, the City of San Rafael has been making strides towards supporting multilingual engagement to our Spanish-speaking audience in outreach and public meetings. Working with cross-departmental teams and community partners, we are building stronger procedures and partnerships to support our goal of reaching all audiences. As part of that effort Digital tested San Rafael’s first Snapshot in Spanish with a small group last Thursday.  

Prior to testing, we researched how other agencies are providing bilingual material to their communities through digital translation tools, in-house translation support, and contracted support. For this initial pilot we leveraged the skills of our bilingual city staff and received positive feedback from testers on the quality of the translation. Based on that feedback, we will be sending the next edition of Snapshot to our Spanish-language mailing list.  

The next steps will be to work with cross-departmental teams to develop a peer-review process for translations, translation standards and naming conventions, and to promote our Spanish-language mailing list to a wider audience. 

A Prototype for Event Permit Applications 

The City of San Rafael has been working on a number of projects that make it easier for residents to digitally navigate and access city services such as the Cannabis License Application, Event Permits, and Building Permits.  

After completing user research and early design sprints on Events Permits, our vendor partners, Camino, shared a prototype application (see below) that was developed in coordination with a task force of cross-departmental teams over the past few months (read more about this project in our December and February newsletters).  

The digital Events Permit application is designed to process the intake of large event applications and create streamlined internal work flows based on conditions of the application that impact fees, internal processing, and the involvement of outside agencies including the State of California and County of Marin.  The impetus for developing the product came after the departure of our City events coordinator who managed the intake of event applications and helped applicants navigate the process. The success of this prototype will save the City staff time and money by improving internal coordination and recouping costs related to staff time and materials in the setup and staffing of large events. Additionally, this prototype will provide insight on potential options for managing other permit processes across departments citywide. 

Our next step in this project is to conduct user testing on the first build with internal stakeholders, gather feedback, and verify the application processes are matching current business processes in the City including workflow between departments and fee processing.  

Network Security at San Rafael Sanitation’s Pump Station

Zero Tunnel PN Diagram CW

In 2020 there was a 660% increase in cyber attacks compared to 2019. More recently, security experts are seeing an increasing trend in cyber attacks on industrial control systems (ISC). ISC’s are networks and systems designed to support industrial equipment, such as our pump stations.

To increase security around the city’s ICS equipment, we worked closely with the Sanitation District, taking measured steps to make our pump stations less vulnerable from external threats. We closed some security gaps by creating a private network for the pump station so it could safely communicate with the master server at 111 Morphew. Additionally, we migrated from a 4G data connection to machine-to-machine connection. We also saved some money along the way 🙂

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