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Week notes 16th April


Sketch notes from Dmae Louise Casey speech

I’m a little late with this weeks notes as I was seduced by the weather and spent most of the weekend outside – still not figured out what is digging holes in my raised beds so badger watch is still live….

Last week was about getting some structure around some of the things I want to work on. This week will be about checking this in with my team and making sure we are all on the same page.

My team is made up of two halves currently; the ‘digital’ function (design, producers, UX, content, agile delivery as you would expect) and the delivery function (business analysts, project and programme managers). I also have a small but perfectly formed team of solution architects who are critical for knitting this all together. Our next stage of evolution will be the bring these two halves into something that is greater than the sum of the two halves. My plan is to start looking at that with a number of experiments and prototypes that we can explore in May – this week I’ll be exploring what these should look like with the team.

Governance is going to be key to this. I spent most of 2017 looking at how you could design a PMO and programme delivery structure that allows agile to scale in a way which makes sense to the rest of the organisation and some of the large scale risks which are held at the organisational level. Two things are critical in this:
– how you accept and ‘triage’ new ideas to make sure that you are developing them in the right way
– how to keep agility in the whole portfolio of work without losing accountability or causing adverse consequences

People think governance is dull. I disagree! Accountability and the ability to make the right decisions, at the right time with the right people is critical to successful organisations and just to getting things done. The challenge in bringing more agility to a whole portfolio of work, some of which may be suited to more waterfalls ways of working is to keep that governance appropriate and give people space to work. This only works if can keep the whole portfolio visible in real time.

All of this massively comes down to trust – in the team and in the process – and the building of trust has to be a key design principle for anything we prototype in May.

As a sidebar I spent Thursday afternoon at the Solace South conference. I was talking about digital disruption but as ever my main point was that its the social disruption that its more significant. Solace is the society of local government CEOs and is to some extent part of my previous life(s). But its not because the kind of systematic challenges that we are facing are shared across sectors and so seeing things from another perspective. The first speaker, the amazing Dame Louise Casey, set the tone for this and was very clear that the perspective that we need to share is the one held by the real people that ‘the system’ is trying to help. This is where digital can make a difference – in creating systems and solutions that are designed around the human.

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