New building, new people, new wall

Our new digs at Jubilee Library.

The hard work we’ve been putting in over the last few months is starting to bear fruit.

Last week, the Digital First team moved to new digs in the award-winning Jubilee Library at the heart of the city. Our old space at Barts House was great and right next to the seafront, but it was short of wall space and we often were unable to sit together as a team.

Jubilee Library gives us everything we need: a bank of desks, a huge wall for stand ups (more on that later) and plenty of meeting space. We’d like to thank Sally and all the Brighton & Hove libraries team for accommodating us and making everyone feel so welcome.

The second big change is a new role within the Digital First team. As of now, we have five Product Managers dedicated to different services within the council. Modelled on the GDS Product Manager role, they’ll be working with services to understand how we can best help users. They’ll pull together everything we’re doing into one prioritised backlog for that service and work with the council’s development team to get great things built.

Here’s who is doing what:

  • Guy Hancock is working with Cityclean on a wide range of services from garden waste to bins and boxes
  • Ollie Lewis is running our mobile strategy, picking the most appropriate tools for colleagues to work remotely
  • Ivanka Majic led user research in Adult Social Care last year and will now be taking on all of our work in this area
  • Annie Heath is looking at queues in our customer service centres at Hove Town Hall and Barts House and how we can better serve those customers online. She’s also finishing off a pilot of the pest control service with other members of the team
  • Charlotte Bennett is working alongside Revenues & Benefits on a host of projects and is also doubling up as our customer insight specialist. We want to put genuine user needs at the heart of our work and Charlotte will help us do that.

We’re also gearing up in other areas. Nora Gombos has joined as Digital Communications Officer, Gary Duckworth as Delivery Manager and Neil Cholerton as Enterprise Architect.

Finally, we’ve made a few changes to the wall. You’ll remember last year we gave it an overhaul. Now, with more available space, we can give the backlog a lot more room.

Charlotte, Nora and Annie (left to right) building our new wall.

Once a week, we’ll gather around the big wall to steer our ship. Product Managers can share what they’re doing, and everyone can see the overlap between different projects. The idea is to give each Product Manager enough autonomy to get things done, while making sure the whole programme heads in a direction that suits our users.

Eventually, I’d like Product Managers to run their own stand ups with developers and members of the service. This will help them focus on the nitty gritty and enable us to deliver products quickly. We had a similar set up at GDS, and I think it will work here. I’ll blog more about this once we’re fully up and running.

We’ve got a lot of work ahead of us, but the right foundations to get it done.

One thought on “New building, new people, new wall

  1. Jo 18 January 2017 / 11.31 am

    Thanks for the update Will – looks like the team are making great progress!

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