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Week notes: 24th February 2019


ethical dilemma map
I've been a bit lax with the 500 words partly because I have been on holiday but partly because I have been brooding over the RBKC post which I just published.  Having set that free - and also published the piece I wrote about my research interests for the year here I am again.

Top of my list at the moment is getting some governance structures in place for some of the (not) Big Programmes that we are running and trying to figure out how to get the balance right between enough governance to ensure that the organisation loses sight of some of these big bits of work but not so much that we break our principle of Agile first and we end up with detailed decisions being taken at a distance from the actual work and knowledge.

I want our governance to be able to properly contribute to the strategic shaping and oversight of work and not just count the beans and check the milestones. One way to frame that is through some of the questions and dilemmas that face a piece of work and make sure that these are the questions which are debated and also situated in organisations strategy and not just in a specific teams context. If it's big enough to need governance then its big enough to effect the organisational direction of travel and so these questions of direction and the ones we need to debate.

We also need to be able to look at how bigger pieces of work effect each other. It's not realistic to set a number of things off in different parts of the organisation and not have a mechanism to look at how they effect each other and course correct accordingly. If nothing else we need to always remember that so often the same people are effected by these different pieces of work and organise ourselves accordingly. This doesn't mean creating a massively complicated GANT chart - it means having sensible groups of people with a system scale perspective and the ability to effect the direction of travel of multiple pieces of work.

I've also been thinking a bit about how we (and specially I) better empower people and not have people encumbered by the mistakes that you have made in the past. One way to do this is to make it clearer what decisions happen where and stick to it but we also need to make sure that we have shared frameworks for decisions.

The illustration above was sparked by the Responsible Technology conference I went to the week before I went away. I may come back to this at a later date as it was interesting day but the main thing I took away was a thought about how we better integrate the inherent dilemma that any organisation faces if it is socially aware but still needs to pursue its core purpose. How much responsible technology is enough responsible technology?

So much about governance is about trust and I am very aware that our supporters trust us to spend the money they work so hard to raise wisely. I think to do this we need to take our governance seriously but we also need to make sure that we are making responsible decisions beyond the boundaries of our organisation.

PS. In other news I am a bit flummoxed by the latest WordPress update and will work out how to do links before my next post.

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