I’ve recently come back to a world I’ve missed – product/service development at HM Land Registry. On returning to take up the role of Service Manager on the alpha, I’ve found it’s a world that’s moved on – it’s grown new limbs, ditched the old school satchel and replaced it with a MacBook tattooed with trendy stickers. More importantly, it’s taken on a new culture – moving on from a government-wide culture built upon waterfall processes and documentation. I understand there are some projects which need this type of management, but for my objectives agile fits the bill, so bring it on.
Submersing yourself into an agile development part-way through is no easy feat. As Service Manager, you need to show you are willing to adapt to how the team work rather than change the team to meet your needs. Once you understand the agile way of working, this is a common theme throughout – let the team lead themselves and only steer when you need to, or are invited to. It’s delegated responsibility at its best.
As a Service Manager responsible for managing stakeholders, you need pockets full of analogies. So where are we with HM Land Registry’s alpha development? Well, to practice what I preach we’ve been peeling an onion! Right through the alpha, we’ve been stripping back the organisation to get through to its core – the user need. This has meant un-peeling how our architecture hangs together, what security we have in place and what legislation we need to acknowledge. A massive undertaking in just 12 weeks and I dare say we may have missed some layers, but for an alpha that’s ok. The most important thing is we’re identifying where our key risks exist and the layers we need to revisit when we move into Beta.
And the next steps? Unlike your typical peel, we’ll be starting to rebuild the onion; building the layers for new architecture, security platforms and with legislation that continues to support our digital aspirations. We’ve started to draft a proposition roadmap which will help us build each of those layers in a controlled way – protecting our customers against unnecessary change and continuing to provide assurance to the conveyancing sector. On the surface, this may not appear to be fundamental, but underneath and from within the core we’re seeking to help redesign government as a platform layer by layer.