How to talk about agile, research and iteration without talking about it.

The team is incentivised to behave in flexible ways as we want them to react to changing circumstances easily.

Why: we don’t want to become blinkered and unchangeable.

How: detailed short term plans (2-6 weeks) and much more relaxed medium term plans (6–12weeks and beyond).

The team takes qualitative and quantitative research seriously and does it often as we want confidence we know how people feel and what opportunities there are.

Why: we don’t want to trust our instincts and biases.

How: professionally led research sessions every 2 or 4 weeks, a percentage of time or money dedicated to rolling…


Dear reader.

I’m starting to hate my public twitter account.

I’m using this space as a way to think outloud, document things and fail forward. All mistakes, typos and inconsistencies are mine. No offence is intended. Would love your thoughts and replies.

What is actually happening here?

There is a paragraph in Adam Greenfield’s Radical Technology that struck a nerve with me. It relates to stepping back and looking at what is happening, not what you intended to happen.

This is what the great British cyberneticist Stafford Beer meant when he argued that “the purpose of a system is what it does.” On this theory…


Lots of organisations are talking about digital transformation. If you’re looking to hire someone to lead it, or if you’re going in to “transform” an org, I find it useful to ask these questions.

These are the question I ask.

  • These are what I really mean.

What areas do you want to improve and how do you hope “digital and design” can help do that. (being cheaper, faster, clearer?…)

  • Who is currently responsible for those areas? What is missing that needs to appear?

What new areas do you want to move into and what reasons give you confidence in success…


Spend control is hard. The Office of the Chief Technology Officer (OCTO) achieved loads; however it’s probably time for a shift.

I have just read https://www.publictechnology.net/articles/news/excl-gds-boss-reveals-latest-plans-spend-controls and it chimes with some of the pains we felt at the Ministry of Justice.

Below is what I think GDS and the Departments should do. I assume it would fit any central/federated model of organisation that is having difficulty with their spend control.

Simon Wardley writes elegantly about what that is and why it is important.

GDS needs insiders that runs messages back to them about what is going on.

These roles would be hard. You need to be liked and trusted by the spending department, but also be able to deliver a difficult message when it needs to be.

You also need to be trusted by GDS…

Eliot Fineberg

Indie consulting about “digital”. Learnt from experience @MOJDigital, @futuregov, @wearefriday and @headshift.

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