Old job, new rules

A note to me in the future

John Ploughman
May 2, 2016 · 2 min read

At the end of last week, I wrote about my decision to leave the Government Digital Service (GDS) and return to my old job at the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA).

In it, I said:

I may be going back to my old job, but I won’t be going back to my old way of working.

As a reminder to future-John about what I mean by that, here are 5 things I’m going to do differently when I get back to DVSA in June.

1. Users first

Well, I was already doing this one. But it’s important — and it’s important to remind others.

So this is on the list to remind me to do more to help other people put users first in everything we do.

2. Show the thing

Forget explaining it, sketching it, or doing a business case for it. In future, I’m going to show the thing that we should be doing. It’s easier for people to understand.

On that note, I’m going to start doing ‘show and tells’. Everyone should be able to show what they’re working on so we collectively understand what we’re doing.

3. Get out more

Get out and meet colleagues that are dealing with users – whether that’s customer support, those providing face-to-face services, or those building digital services.

And while I’m at it, meet more users and watch more user research.

4. Tools for the job

For the last 5 months I’ve had tools that do the job. So I’m going to get laptops for my team that let them do their job.

Laptops that run Google Chrome. That have access to Trello with plugins and zaps from Zapier to automate our workflow. That let the team collaborate on Google Docs with GDS. And install useful apps like Paparazzi! so we can easily take screenshots of whole pages.

And big screens so we can run dashboards to look at performance, trending content and searches.

5. Better communication

I’m going to do a better job of explaining what we do, and how we make things better for users.

And that starts by doing a better job of talking within our own teams about what’s working and what isn’t.

I’m definitely trying out fortnightly retros.

And expect more blog posts from the team on what we’re doing.

Make it happen

So future-John, this is what you think is important to do. Make it happen.

And when you glance back at this, remember that no matter how hard it might seem to make all 5 happen, you know they’re the right things to do.

    John Ploughman

    Written by

    Content Design Manager at @DVSAgovuk. Enjoy making things simple, photography and The Beatles.

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