Episode 157: Transforming the UK Government Digital Service with James Stewart

Craig is at YOW! West in Perth and has a conversation with James Stewart, formerly Deputy CTO for the UK Government and co-founder of the Government Digital Service. In varying locations they talk about:

  • YOW! West keynote “Lessons Learned as a Government CTO
  • UK government had some large IT failures  in the last like the NHS National Program for IT (12 billion pound failure), but now lots of successes like Spine 2
  • Agile techniques have been successful in the UK government not just because other approaches have failed so badly but the cost of an IT project is only a fraction of the overall cost of a system
  • The Government Design Principles – start with user needs – successful projects start with clearly articulated principles, did not realise how much they would resonate
  • Worked around a number of government process early on, support from the Minister and investing time to find allies was essential
  • Design Principle posters – essential to invest in presentation, help people feel involved
  • Were never dogmatic about flavours of Agile, this presented challenges with vendors – can you make changes quickly, can you ship software faster, have you thought about quality?
  • The problem is not scaling frameworks, it’s that you tried to start big – need to start with a small team and seed the trust
  • Tackled the financials with the spending control process and an Agile business case (based around progressive funding) and align spending around Discovery, Alpha, Beta and Live stages and approval for later stages comes from what you have learnt from the previous stage
  • Genuine leadership requires openness – be self reflective, clearly articulate values and principles, the biggest risks you are concerned about and the outcomes you wish to achieve – then build trust with the team to achieve this
  • The strategy is delivery
  • Don’t start until somebody can express an outcome – once they do, turn something around quickly
  • Digital By Default Service Manual – good place to start, how to do delivery
  • UK Government Technology Code of Practice – underpinning of spending controls

TheAgileRevolution-157 (43 minutes)

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Episode 155: Continuous Delivery Culture at Pushpay with Ian Randall

Craig is at YOW! West in Perth and sits down with Ian Randall, Engineering Lead at Pushpay and co-organiser of the Codemania conference in New Zealand and they chat about:

  • The size of the New Zealand banking system and small number of banks makes it very easy to innovate in the payments space
  • YOW! West talk “From Inception to Production – A Continuous Delivery Story
  • The more times you the do the things that are hard and hurt, opens up the opportunities for automation
  • Blameless Retrospective (John Allspaw, Etsy, 2012) – promise that there will be no retribution or consequence for decisions that anybody made during an incident, they made the best decisions that they knew at the time, they were operating in a system that allowed you to make that system in the moment – therefore means that people are not afraid to make decisions because they know they are not held to blame for making a mistake
  • Sidney Dekker “Just Culture
  • 5 Whys – don’t ask why until you reach the root cause analysis, because there are often moire contributing factors and also when you ask why you end up with who (which is blame)
  • WOMing – ensure it works on my machine before it leaves your laptop

TheAgileRevolution-155 (19 minutes)

Episode 154: Agile Rocket Science with Dr. Anita Sengupta

Craig is at YOW! West in Perth and sits down with Dr. Anita Sengupta, a rocket scientist and aerospace engineer at NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory (and since this interview was recorded now a Senior Vice President at Hyperloop One). They geek out talking about space exploration as well as the important topic of diversity:

  • YOW! West keynote “The Future of Mars Exploration” and AATC 2017 keynote “Engineering the Red Planet
  • 7 Minutes of Terror: The Challenges of Getting to Mars
  • When you are doing something for the first time, you have to come up with out of the box solutions – first you need to make it work, and then you need to make it last
  • The biggest issue is to get enough people into the pipeline from under-represented groups, one thing we can do is more public outreach at the school level
  • You come up with more interesting solutions when you work with diverse teams, and, when you intersect with other universes you learn so much

TheAgileRevolution-154 (20 minutes)