S2 Ep2 – are we nearly at spring?

Tulips, easily my favourite flower

It’s hard to tell – blossom everywhere, the magnolias are out — and there are hailstones. Welcome to April.


obligatory group photo — me, Prateek and Rebecca

I started the week with a couple of visitors from Dept of Culture, Media and Sport. Prateek Buch and Rebecca came to shadow me for the day – really interesting (I’ve never been shadowed before). I’d taken it very literally so didn’t leave their side all day, taking them to every meeting (including lunch with my son who’s home from uni and was studying in the library nearby). Listening to their questions, and discussing what we’re doing and why at Hackney was enormously useful to all of us.*


More visitors on Tuesday – this time Nabeeha Ahmed from Ministry of Justice who came in to talk to us about her research into discovery projects at MOJ and their approach to assessments. Nabeeha wrote a great blog post, and that sparked me getting in touch with her. This is one of the many things I love about working in the open — the sharing of experience and thinking, and the joining up of people across organisations. Ministry of Justice’s context is quite different to ours but that’s what makes it thought provoking, hearing from different experiences.6 Thoughts from Fifteen Discoveries
18 months ago I initiated a review process for product discoveries at the Ministry of Justice. It’s been an eye-opening…medium.com

Martin Chaney came over as well— he’s been leading the way on service assessments at the Greater London Authority so was also interested in hearing from Nabeeha. We caught up with Richard, our lead researcher to talk about our user research library and our different approaches to publishing our research.


our brilliant new delivery manager, Bea

Bea ran a retro for the iPad sims swap team. Stephen, Jackie, Eko and Karim are our contracts and procurement team but over the past few weeks they’ve been working with Philippa Newis as their agile coach/delivery manager and lots of volunteers from ICT to deliver a replacement SIM card to every tablet device. They’ve swapped over 700 in a short space of time, and the impact of their work is that we’ll be spending much less on a better service for our users. The end of project retro was a great opportunity for the team to take a breath and reflect on what had made it a success – teamwork, and what they’ve learnt – engaging with other teams early and often is vital.


A slightly nerve wracking day — I was speaking at #agileinthecity and public speaking still makes me nervous, although I am getting better at both preparing, and delivering. It went really well — and I even managed to get the live Q&A on the google slides working**. We had a good conversation in the room, and I had some great feedback afterwards

There were lots of interesting speakers at the event including a keynote from Steve Smith on continuous delivery — thinking about designing for resilience not robustness, and organisational scar tissue — the processes or things we’ve put in place because something went wrong before, but then have just become habit.

I saw this tweet on Thursday as well:Unstuck meetings

I really like the idea of doing this — and titling them as ‘unstuck’ so that colleagues know what’s expected of them. I’m going to try using this and see what happens — I’m stuck on a couple of things at the moment where this could help.


I spent the morning again at #agileinthecity conference listening to two sessions. Cat Swetel from Ticketmaster talking about the benefits of sharing OKRs openly, the dangers of ‘othering’ teams (using ‘they did this, they did that’ to create or reinforce silos). And Valerie McLean’s great talk about People are precious, time is the resource. Later on back at the office I took part in some user testing with Micah — looking how we might use Microsoft’s single sign on solution, and got to see the exciting work that We are Snook have been doing with us on planning.

Demonstrating the complexity of planning applications . . .

What I read this week:

This from John Fitzpatrick was beautiful — an open homage to colleagues, with passion and purpose. This is why we work in the public sector:“2 Years in the Grip of the Justice System”
A place where words matterrsci.app.link

I really liked this clear and engaging post from Thinkaction Hannah at Addaction on making changes to a service for it’s users:How small changes can help us support more people
Sometimes the biggest, most revolutionary changes are achieved by changing just one small thing at a time.medium.com

and this from Vimla Appadoo about designing whole services:Why digital is a service enabler, not a service solution
I’m going to start this blog off with a little diagram and then I’ll explain my thinking.I’m going to start this blog…medium.com

Rebecca at Croydon wrote about her own experiences of running a PMO and the dangers of box ticking . . .Embracing change: the agile PMO
If you asked someone what their definition of a PMO was, you’d probably get a wide variety of answers. Some responses…croydon.digital

And last but not least from the ace Louise Cato a fantastic public resource — a list of recommended books. Thanks Louise this is so helpful!Trello
Organize anything, together. Trello is a collaboration tool that organizes your projects into boards. In one glance,…trello.com

*thinking about it I probably should have given them a break from me . . .

**because adding in some extra tech at the last minute is always guaranteed to make it easier

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