Weeknote: 23 July 21

I jumped out of bed yesterday, forgot to eat anything and rushed to my first HIIT spinning class in 15 months. It was going ok but 30 mins in, just after the most intense part of the class, I wasn’t feeling great. I stopped and sat down…next thing I know, I’m surrounded by paramedics. So ye, an eventful Saturday! S/O to the staff at the gym and the ambulance/hospital folk ❤️

Eid Mubarak 🧕🏽🕋

On Tuesday I celebrated Eid Al-Adha. This was the first post-Covid restrictions and it was nice to have that feeling of a community again, as people gathered in the park for the special Eid prayers. Plus food. Lots of food!

DM Training Paths

I previously wrote about how we put a lot of thinking and energy behind how we can support the delivery community to become more familiar with Agile delivery, multi-disciplinary teams and new roles through coaching and training. Some of the initiatives we have done so far:

  1. Agile Coach (Drop-in sessions, 121s, mentoring teams and individuals)
  2. Coaching syllabus (Multiple Lunch ’n’ Learns covering various delivery topics like Agile ways of working, GDS phases, UCD roles, Scrum etc)
  3. Pluralsight (Curated playlists for delivery managers at each level)
  4. Digital playbook (Documented body of knowledge covering ways of working, policies, processes)

Formal Training

For more formal training, last year we signed people up to the Digital and agile foundation course run by GDS Academy. As people developed, we needed to establish a more structured formal training path. Last week we highlighted the courses below to support DMs from Associate level right through to Lead.

  1. Certified Scrum Master
  2. ICAgile Project And Delivery Management
  3. ICAgile Coaching
  4. Lean Agile Leadership

Rapid Application Development (RAD)

In my last weeknote, I spoke about Shadow IT and how one symptom of it was in fact the very delivery processes that we have implemented i.e. A Portfolio/Digital Front Door and the Discovery/Alpha/Beta/Live. I’m absolutely a firm believer and advocate of these processes, but there is something about delivering at pace (or lack of) that is putting off our colleagues in the business — which leads to Shadow IT.

To overcome this, our SLT are looking at bringing in a sort of RAD team. I know they won’t mind me saying that I don’t think this alone will be enough, simply adding more people won’t solve this problem. Once their backlog is full…they’ll be another bottleneck. I also worry if stakeholders see this as a quick way of getting a solution, our service teams and formal delivery routes may not longer be appealing.

What we really need is to introduce an alternative way to quickly way up options, triage and test hypotheses before making any significant and expensive commitments. The answer is of course long-term cultural change but in this environment, we have to be flexible.

Maybe design sprints is the answer or something like deploying low code solutions in certain use cases? Maybe the answer is a hybrid model, with lean assurance and clear architectural guardrails support flexible delivery where needed.

Next week

  1. 2 x Discovery KOs in Employee engagement and a new funding imitative
  2. Meeting our new CDTO
  3. Open source model for common components
Rumman Amin

Lead Delivery Manager at Homes England