Daily note for 26 January 2024

Remember my course! It might be really helpful for you or a colleague!

Excellent podcast about what Iran is up to these days.

Giles thinks learning materials in organisations ought to be better quality, and of course he is right.

Simon Wardley shares some thoughts on project delivery that are well worth reading.

The Future Councils Playbook is a “set of tools to help you understand complex problems and their impact”. These are useful of course, and as much good practice support we can get out there the better. But a step change in local government digital quality is unlikely to result from such things – we need more.

More Simon Wardley – this is a fun new intro to his mapping, etc:

Yesterday I made use of Colin Stenning’s excellent local gov CMS research to help write an options appraisal for a council’s new website technology. What a legend!

Interesting links 8 April 2022

Things I’ve seen that are worth sharing.

Reflections on my time as the Head of Local Digital – May-N Leow

This week brings to a close my two and a half years as Head of the Local Digital Collaboration Unit (LDCU). In this blog post, I want to reflect back on the lessons learnt and achievements, such as bringing local authorities together to solve common challenges, and in particular how a group of local authorities and suppliers are cooperating together to deliver an open source solution.

How the [open source revenues & benefits] discovery phase is informing the alpha – Amanda Pujol

Revenue and Benefits systems are one of the key digital systems for all local authorities, processing payments to and from local businesses, council tax payers and hundreds of low income households on a weekly basis. They hold key customer data and, as such, are a linchpin in delivering councils’ digital transformation strategies and should link seamlessly into other key council systems.

You would expect that transformation of these systems would be at the forefront of every council’s mind. And they are, but because there are limited options (3 main suppliers in the market), there is a level of dissatisfaction with the market and transformation is considered to be costly and risky. Only 2 LAs in the country have their own in house Revs and Bens systems and Sedgemoor are one such council.

Winning awards – Kat Hurr

It’s always great to receive recognition for the hard work our team is doing. At the beginning of March we were delighted to win the Gold award for Customer Focus at the iESE Public Sector Transformation awards… Our entry focused on two areas of Cumbria Council – Highways Enquiries and Fault Reporting and Targeted Short Breaks for SEND Children.

Digital Playbook 3 day sprint – Nicola Bryant

I have competed my first 3-day design sprint to build a prototype digital playbook. I wasn’t quite sure what to expect – so while a little hectic, sometimes intense – all in all it was a great experience and I am becoming more used to feeling comfortable with the uncomfortable! Below for the record sets out what we did, how we went about it and what we discovered.

From the Made Tech content factory:

Servant leadership, with Katy Armstrong

What is servant leadership, and how can you use it to help your teams fly? Clare Sudbery talks to Katy Armstrong about how to empower teams to do their absolute best work, by removing blockers, identifying vision and giving them everything they need.

The business analyst’s role in building successful teams – Khalil Anwar

I began my journey as a BA half a decade ago, and here I am today: a lead BA at Made Tech. I love being able to make a difference to a very diverse mix of users of public sector systems, which has ranged from Home Office frontline users to clinicians in the NHS, as well as the general public. Learning about the different systems and processes involved goes hand in hand with this, so I’m constantly learning and developing my skill set. But there’s much more to the job than this. Here’s the lowdown on what we do, what makes a good BA, and how we contribute to success.

Accelerating delivery: 10 questions to ask your team – Anikh Subhan

If you work in digital in the public sector, you’re probably aware of accelerated delivery. It helps to build projects faster, more efficiently, and with reduced risk.

If your team is new to delivery at pace, we’ve outlined 10 questions to ask yourself and your team to make sure you’re set up for success.

LINK: “The Importance of Product Management in Government”

…the approach taken to build and deliver digital products needs to evolve to take advantage of modern software development methods including agile iterative development, human centered design, and continuous delivery. Despite fancy design labs and alleged “digital transformation” capabilities, most vendors and government agencies continue to deliver digital products using traditional project management and waterfall development methods.

Original: https://medium.com/the-u-s-digital-service/the-importance-of-product-management-in-government-b59933d01874

Bookmarks for August 18th through September 8th

I find this stuff so that you don’t have to.

  • Civic Commons code-sharing initiative bids to reduce government IT costs – "Around the United States, city governments have created a multitude of software. Unfortunately, most of the time the code from those projects is not shared between municipalities, which results in duplication of effort and redundant, static software."
  • Anonymity, trust and openness on the social intranet – "In some organisations, the cloak of anonymity could help to establish the first part of that trust relationship, and reassure colleagues that leaders are, in fact, really listening; once it exists, it’s easier to step out of the shadows with a greater degree of trust and openness."
  • The end of history – "History will, of course, look after itself. It always has. But the future history of our time will be different from our histories of past times, and that will not be because we have an eye to the future, but because we are always relentless focused on the present."
  • Why aren’t we all working for Learning Organisations? – "…the authors suggest a way for managers to switch from a ‘command and control’ to a ‘systems thinking’ mindset in order to achieve genuine organisational learning."
  • Quixly – Cool way to host and deliver paid-for content, such as e-books.
  • Understanding Marin County’s $30 million ERP failure – It's not just UK government that cocks up IT projects.
  • Google Wave open source next steps: "Wave in a Box" – "We will expand upon the 200K lines of code we've already open sourced (detailed at waveprotocol.org) to flesh out the existing example Wave server and web client into a more complete application or "Wave in a Box.""
  • Should Governments Legislate a Preference for Open Source? – "It's easy to legislate a preference for Open Source, and difficult to implement a level playing field upon which Open Source and proprietary software could compete fairly. Thus, a number of governments have enacted the preference as an easy-to-legislate way of solving the problem, but I submit not optimally. Having a preference gives proprietary software an opening to portray themselves as the "injured party", when the reality is that historically there has been a preference for proprietary software in both legislation and internal process of government purchasers, and this still exists today."
  • Wiki life – "The point, in the end, is that Wikimedia by its DNA operates in public and benefits accrue — not just as product and engagement and promotion and distribution but also as strategy. That’s the next step in creating the truly public company or organization."
  • First Impressions: VaultPress (WordPress Backup) – Nice summary of the premium backup service for WordPress (sadly just in beta at the moment).
  • Sink or Swim – Donald Clark on the birth of Learning Pool and why the public sector needs it more than ever.
  • Damien Katz: Getting Your Open Source Project to 1.0 – Great notes on successful open source development.
  • Harold Jarche » The Evolving Social Organization – "For decades, organizational growth has been viewed as a positive development, but it has come at a cost."
  • O’Reilly, Open Government and the Ingenuity of Enthusiasm – "It is quite clear that performance management and procurement, as well as many other government processes, need to be revised, reformed or radically changed. But this won’t happen unless we recognize that government and its employees need to remain in charge, need to stay as the custodians of neutrality and transparency, and we, the people, developers or users, can just help them do a better job but not replace them in any way."
  • Research findings and recommendations for Councils – Some fantastic shared learning here from Michele.
  • sigil – "Sigil is a multi-platform WYSIWYG ebook editor. It is designed to edit books in ePub format."
  • Enterprise 2.0 Perceived Risks: Myth or Reality? – "…security is a personal thing, a personal trait that everyone needs to nurture and treasure accordingly."
  • Using Free, Open-Source Software in Local Governments – "…how is it that local governments have failed to capitalize on the cost-saving and productivity-enhancing benefits of using open source software, especially given the budget crises they face?"
  • Open Government Data – "This event will bring together movers and shakers from the world of open government data — including government representatives, policymakers, lawyers, technologists, academics, advocates, citizens, journalists and reusers."
  • WordPress › Email Users « WordPress Plugins – "A plugin for wordpress which allows you to send an email to the registered blog users."

You can find all my bookmarks on Delicious. There is also even more stuff on my shared Google Reader page.

You can also see all the videos I think are worth watching at my video scrapbook.