In our Meet the Team blog series, we’re shining a spotlight on different members of the Local Digital team to showcase just some of the incredible expertise and hard work that goes on behind the scenes.
In this issue, Connor Couldrey discusses his varied role as an Associate Delivery Manager within the Local Digital Cyber team working on the development of the Cyber Assessment Framework (CAF). He also highlights his tips for effective leadership as a Delivery Manager and the importance of utilising the support of a team to achieve success.
My journey to becoming a Delivery Manager
I joined DLUHC as an AV technician working in the QEII Centre. When COVID-19 hit I had the opportunity to transfer to Gold Secretariat — a winter team that was launched to help deal with issues surrounding the pandemic.
When this team came to a close, I transferred to Communications as an Assistant Private Secretary and then onto a Business Manager. I had heard a lot about the expansion of the Digital teams within DLUHC and wanted to get involved. My organisational, commercial and financial experience enabled me to fit into the Delivery Manager role comfortably.
An insight to my role at Local Digital
I’ve been brought onto the Local Digital Cyber team as an Associate Delivery Manager. This is a more junior role in the team, but I’m learning how to become a fully capable and experienced Delivery Manager (DM).
Utilising agile and lean practices, my role is to streamline the team’s ways of working, making sure we achieve the best standard of work in a structured and timely manner. I am also responsible for commercial and some financial management. These are vital for ensuring delivery of a product, working with external suppliers and making sure things run smoothly and on-budget.
The value of curiosity and asking questions
Being a DM you have to be a people person. I really enjoy meeting and working with a wide range of people with different specialisations, such as content design, user research, cyber security and more. I’m extremely fortunate to work in such an experienced team. I’m learning a bit about everything by sitting in on meetings and speaking to people I wouldn’t usually have the chance to speak to.
One challenging part of the role is trying to have a good understanding of the technical terms used and applied in the work being carried out. You have to be aware that you are not a cyber security consultant, or an experienced User Researcher, so some terms and work may be unfamiliar. You can’t know everything! You need to have a little bit of knowledge about everything, so you should never stop asking questions or learning in your own time.
Cyber is always moving, from new attacks to new threats. This keeps the work interesting and there is always something to be working on. It’s nice to get a big block of work complete as a team, see everything marked as complete, then move onto the next challenging task with a well-defined plan.
My advice for anyone interested in becoming a Delivery Manager
From the lessons I have learnt, here is my advice for anyone currently working in Delivery Management or anyone interested in pursuing it:
- Don’t be afraid to take the lead. Sometimes people may need a bit of direction to complete their assigned tasks, take the lead and set up sessions to help facilitate work, network and delegate.
- Don’t be afraid to be hands-off too. You don’t always have to be making changes to how things are run. If you and the team have set up a good set of rhythms, stick with it. However, if it becomes apparent it’s getting a bit stale, or the team’s pace or morale are taking a hit, shake it up!
- Accept you cannot know everything. You will work with a skilled team from many different disciplines, it’s impossible to be an expert in all of them. Use the team you have to gain knowledge, sit in on meetings, offer assistance on some tasks which will enable you to learn whilst getting the job done. It’s better to have a broad skill set and knowledge across various disciplines instead of focussing on one.
- Be open and honest. It’s your job to monitor the team’s overall delivery, performance and morale. They need to feel comfortable bringing up issues with you. You also need to provide honest but fair feedback if something isn’t working. If you are worried about a certain risk to the overall delivery of the product or service, it’s your job to make it known and work with the team to mitigate it.
The Local Digital team carries out its work openly, and therefore you can stay updated on our activities and follow our ongoing progress on Twitter, LinkedIn, Sprint Notes, the DLUHC Digital Blog or our fortnightly newsletter.