August (1) quiet(er) delivery

a stripe of clouds across the sky over a field, with a fence in the forwgrouind

It’s August, and so lots of people across the teams are taking well earned breaks. I had a break earlier in July and am off again in September, and I’ve completed my masters. For the first time in a while it feels like work/life is getting more in balance, and I’ve got some headspace to catch up and to think. That doesn’t mean things aren’t happening, a lot is, but it’s a quieter sort of delivery.


I had one main goal this week, which was to have got up to speed with enough detail on Modern Tools for Housing programme that I can effectively support the three workstreams and make sure we progress the most important things. And a few smaller ones which were around a backlog of admin and little things that need sorting out.

Some of the things that happened this week

The Manage My Home product has had over 3000 uses by housing officers since it went live a couple of weeks ago and very positive feedback. The team are justifiably pleased with what they’ve delivered so far and what they’re doing next.

The team working on the housing finance strand are collaborating with the housing colleagues who’ve been responsible for holding vital interim processes tightly since October. There could have been lots of worry about letting these processes go and trusting the new product but the teams have done a great job of working with each other and acknowledging everyone’s investment and hard work publically.

David Durant is stepping up into the lead delivery role for this programme, and already starting to think about the areas we need to focus on. Particularly how we work with colleagues across housing to articulate the wider value and benefits. I’m looking forward to working with him and the team on this.

I’ve been thinking about how we plan and govern this overall programme going forwards. Richard McLean ‘s example of governance as a service was really timely – a reminder of where I want us to be. We had a great steering group with our new director of housing Steve (in his first week in post) which we used to show the thing and give the teams space to be proud of what they’ve done so far. Very little ‘what abouttery’ (thanks to Janet Hughes for this marvellous phrase) in sight.

Tom, Temple, Amy, Mons and Nick pivoted into some newly prioritised work this week with grace and energy – and approached it thoughtfully and tackling the highest value work first.

Jane has been quietly delivering on HackIT 3.0 – planning workshops, advertising new opportunities to help us develop our thinking, drafting JDs and planning out business cases for change. All of this means we’re steadily building a clearer picture of what the future could look like, knowing that this work takes time and care. We’ve got a show and tell to the wider team in early September where we’re planning to have a more detailed roadmap to share.

During August we’ve cancelled some of the regular meetings we have as a team, and adapted our main whole team session to something that’s more informal. Instead of teams presenting we’ve changed it to a general drop in and shout out session – things we’re proud of this week, challenges we might need some help on. And general chat, the sort of chat you might get making tea in the office*.

What I read this week (and last)

This from Nobl I keep returning to, and each time I take a little bit more from it. And excitingly – I’m seeing Philippa Newis next week to see what we might do together on this.

This article from Rosie Collington is great.

and this on people vs technology problems is also worth a read.

Finally — have been reading around wellbeing recently and this was a useful starting point.

*it’s the sort of chat as you make a cup of tea that builds relationships and understanding between people that’s the bit I miss most about being in the office.

Head of Delivery @hackneycouncil @madebycatem. Part-time Masters student @IIPP_UCL. Views are my own. Interested in change, innovation, leadership and digital