lighthouse

I ♥ the service standard

In twenty or thirty years time, when much will have changed, what will we remember of digital government in the twenty tens? I suspect it will consist mainly of the government service standard. At this point, I should make an honest declaration of interest. I’ve sat on both sides of the assessment table at each lifecycle phase, and I’ve worked to introduce the standard into …

school exam

Getting your (user) stories straight

A recent chat about exams at school reminded me of my favourite exam. It was the unseen paper in English literature, where you had to come up with an analysis of a text you’d never seen before. I devised an approach to this where I’d ban myself from writing for the first half of the exam time and concentrate on getting my head around the …

first aid kit

Best of 2018 music mix

I have a tradition of compiling an end of year list of the best music that I’ve listened to during the year. It doesn’t all have to be music released during the year, although the majority of it inevitably is. As my tradition started on physical media exchanged with friends the track order and flow of the mix matters, and it always ends with a …

What we talk about when we talk about product

I was at an event a while ago, listening to a full-time product person giving a presentation about how the private sector organisation they worked for delivered great products. It was a fantastic presentation from a talented product person. I learned a lot and I’d go and work for their organisation tomorrow, despite my long-standing addiction to the public sector. But. There was one line …

hotel room

11 more things to hate about hotels

This week, I had to spend time in more than one hotel for work-related reasons. Whilst undergoing this trial, I read Sharon’s inspired post about UX anti-patterns in hotels. I started to compose a tweet in response, then moved to a thread of tweets and then reluctantly realised that I wasn’t going to be able to resist compiling my own catharsis-as-blog-post list of bad hotel UX patterns. Connection …

scorecard

Could dual-track be tri-track or quad-track for your team?

One of the reasons I think that pace is a problem in multidisciplinary teams is that we’ve become used to not planning or reporting on work beyond a horizon of 2-3 sprints [1]. This is for the good reason that we want to avoid predicting – or, worse, dictating – the outcome of sprints further into the future. It also means that we tend to …

runners

Why product people should care about pace

The siren call of the BIG IMPORTANT THING It’s easy for a multidisciplinary team – and everyone around them – to become myopically fixated on one BIG IMPORTANT THING and forget everything else. In my experience this looks like the team working hard, delivering the BIG IMPORTANT THING and making everyone happy. Shortly after the celebration party, the team discovers that determining what happens next …

story telling

It is better to love the story than to hate the document

What defines a user story? The typical answer to this is syntax. As long as you have written something that is formatted “As a… I want a… in order that” (or “Given… When… Then” if you use BDD) then it’s a user story. I’d like to suggest that syntax isn’t a good definition. The clue is in the name: stories. We tell stories because we …

zen stones on beach

the zen of agile

I have two strong views about agile. The first view is that agile is something that you are, not something that you do. It’s a practice not a process. If that sounds a bit Zen, then that’s because that’s what agile is. Being world class at agile means a lifetime of practice and reflection and discipline. The agile manifesto is koan-like in apparent simplicity that …

butterfly

What is “digital transformation”?

The best definition I’ve seen is in the recent (and recommended) “Digital Transformation at Scale” book, which says: A successful digital transformation makes it possible not only to deliver products and services that are simpler, cheaper and better, but for the organisation as a whole to operate effectively in the online era.” I like this definition because it makes two clear distinctions: It doesn’t say …