One Team Gov Hackney : Making it a regular thing

We had a second meet up for One Team Gov Hackney today. We’re going to make it a monthly session and look forward to involving more of our colleagues in our discussions.

We must be doing something right as we had a number of people returning from our first meeting as well as a variety of new people – including some from areas of the Council that hadn’t attended previously.

We ran a lean coffee session again and this time focused on “building an Agile community of practice” and “how can we end projects well”. As well as excellent discussions we had two volunteers who went away with concrete actions. One to look into building a Hackney Agile community and the other to investigate whether future management trainees could each use user research techniques to investigate a set of previous Council projects to look for common insights (both good and bad).

Our Trello board is open with suggested and discussed topics, as well as our session mini-retrospective feedback.

We’ll let you know how the next session goes!

HOW TO BECOME A DELIVERY MANAGER.

(Adventures of A Delivery Manager W/E 24/1/20).

I decided to try and create a bit of value by writing about something that I’ve been asked quite a lot about in the last few weeks.

How To Become A Delivery Manager.

In this article, I’ll share some commonalities I have identified by speaking with other Delivery Managers, some useful tips for people thinking about embarking on this path and finally the essence of my own personal journey and relevant pointers that I think might be useful.

The Path Itself.

The first thing that seems relevant to share about this pathway, is that there isn’t one.

By that I mean that having spoken to lots of Delivery Managers, Scrum Masters and Agile Practitioners generally, there really doesn’t appear to be a particular set pathway to becoming a Delivery Manager. Almost everyone I have spoken to both here at HackIT and in the wider Agile community has their own story about how they landed their first role.

The journeys and stories vary enormously. Some made a conscious decision to become a Delivery Manager and actively pursued the role. Others have become Delivery Managers in a more organic fashion and some practically by accident! But even the most active and determined folk largely describe a fairly unique path into the role.

But that stands to reason. 

Agile Project Management by its very definition celebrates and thrives in the world of ambiguity. In fact, the Scrum Guide itself defines Scrum (a very popular framework used by Delivery Managers) as; “A framework within which people can address complex adaptive problems, while productively and creatively delivering products”.

Given that Agile at its very nature is complex and adaptive and the Delivery Manager is the person that serves that process and the structures beneath it, actually, of course there isn’t a ‘standard’ way to start in this career. Maybe that in itself is a bit of a natural filter, but even if it’s not, it might explain in part why most Delivery Managers are quite flexible and adaptable folk.

Who Can Be A Delivery Manager.

The second commonality that seems to be that Delivery Managers are a phenomenally diverse group of people. They are represented by pretty much every demographic and come from all manner of backgrounds and there is certainly NOT a prerequisite that they have a digital or ICT background. 

I have met excellent Delivery Managers with backgrounds in public service and private enterprise alike and with career histories including dispute resolution, art and retail. Many (like myself) have had a brief encounter or exposure to excellent Agile Project Delivery and/or enjoyed the energy and pace brought about by a well run Agile Project and wanted to know more.

What I’m trying to say here is that no matter who you are, where you are from, what your career background has been to date… if you want to become a Delivery Manager and you have the skills (or are prepared to learn them), then you can. 

Getting To Know Agile.

Start with the basics.

The Scrum Guide and The Agile Manifesto are an excellent start. There’s also a huge amount of good books on Amazon – the star ratings and reviews are generally pretty accurate. 

Mostly I looked for fairly light and straight forward books – I particularly liked “Brilliant Agile Project Management” by Rob Cole & Ed Scotcher.

It’s good to know what’s behind Agile.

On the face of it, Agile Project Management and the role of Delivery Manager look simple, but it’s worth remembering that what is simple is not necessarily easy. A good Delivery Manager, like any good professional, might well make their job look easy – but it’s not necessarily the case that it is.

By getting to know Agile, its frameworks and the roles within it, you can get a much better feel for where you fit in and what you might need to do to upskill yourself so that you can more accurately form your strategy for landing the job that you’d like.

Start Talking To People.

Delivery Managers are quite often ‘people’ people. It’s also common that they enjoy their jobs and that they also like to talk about their jobs too, so you can feel pretty confident in making contact with a Delivery Manager (even one that you don’t know), and getting a cheery reply.

If you go a step further and make contact with a few Delivery Managers, you’ll almost certainly find one that is willing to talk in some detail about what they do and give you plenty of detail about the role (and most likely how they got their job).

What’s also likely (if you ask them to), is that they’ll introduce you to other Delivery Managers and Agile Practitioners and before you know it, you can fairly easily find yourself in and around a community of Agile Practitioners. 

There are also endless meetups, forums and groups where you can meet people and get chatting, with each of the conversations possibly holding a golden nugget of information that might help you take things to the next stage. 

Chatting to lots of Delivery Managers is also really good for learning about the harder and tougher aspects of the job that it’s also important to get to know. Agile celebrates failure, but that doesn’t make it any easier when it comes along and it’s good to get to know the gritty elements of the job that aren’t a fluorescent rainbow of post-its in a laughter-filled workshop.

Start Practicing Right Now.

One thing that I always recommend to people is to just BE a Delivery Manager right now.

There’s always a way.

What can you do, in your current professional (or even personal) life right now to start BEING a Delivery Manager?

Can you introduce a regular review (retrospective) to a team or situation that you are working in or on?

Can you start doing a daily stand up meeting to inject some pace into something that has been dragging on for a while?

Can you trial a ‘lean coffee’ or ‘unconference’ approach to deciding what to talk about first in a team meeting or even a family holiday discussion?

There’s always a way to practice… (we’re called Agile ‘Practitioners’ afterall!)

The more you can find a way to BE a Delivery Manager, the easier it will be for you to integrate your experiences into opportunities that show up. As those opportunities show up more often, the experiences begin to mount up. Before you know it, you’ll have a load of applicable examples to give at interviews or talk about when you are networking and meeting people.

It really doesn’t matter about the scale of the use, or how and when you have used the techniques (Agile Practitioners and interviewers are usually pretty good at making the ‘translation’ into how such things might be applied in relevant and current projects).

In my case, I captured my uses as often as I could and posted them (with permission from anyone involved) on LinkedIn, so that anyone who might have looked at my profile ahead of an interview or meeting me could see that I was ‘walking my talk’.

It’s relatively common to hear Delivery Managers chat about the role as a ‘being’ way of life rather than a ‘doing’ way of life. 

I declared myself a Delivery Manager/Scrum Master long before I was officially awarded the title by an employer.

To Qualify Or Not To Qualify, That Is The Question.

There are lots of opportunities to ‘qualify’ in Agile. The most commonly recognised certification in the world of Delivery Managers is called “Certified Scrum Master”. That said as a certification, it’s not a definite requirement – lots of places hire Delivery Managers and Scrum Masters without it. (I didn’t have this certification when I was hired and took the course whilst in my probationary period).

As a course, Certified Scrum Master is more of an overview of the Scrum Framework. It seems to be designed to impart the basics of Scrum upon the participants in a way that they can understand and introduce to their workplace. It’s a good course – I enjoyed it a lot and it certainly helped me to identify what is a part of the Scrum framework and what is other stuff has been introduced locally in my workplace.

However, it doesn’t cover the softer skills, the emotional intelligence skills and the nuances of navigating human beings that are pretty critical part of the Delivery Manager role. 

Once you’re in an interview, it’s much more about the ‘how’ and the ‘why’ aspects that are more likely to be of interest to the interviewer(s) than the ‘what’.

That said, increasingly (especially larger organisations which perhaps have HR or Admin teams who may want to add early filtration), Certified Scrum Master qualification may be sought as a form of entry criteria, so it’s not an entirely bad idea to get it. But if you don’t have a few hundred quid going spare when you are job hunting, it doesn’t need to stop you. 

If you don’t have a certification, look out for the employers who are agile through and through or write a compelling cover letter and get that to the actual person hiring (who may be more likely to be looking for more nuanced and transferable skills over certification). Of course, you’ll need to be able to effectively demonstrate your transferable skills in a way that is meaningful for the role that you are applying for.

My Personal Pathway To Becoming A Delivery Manager.

I’ve decided to de-personalise the journey, mostly because I think that the people, companies and opportunities are pretty interchangeable and it’s easier to translate my journey into your own situation if the content and context are neutral.

Like many – I was ‘exposed’ to Agile Project Management as a bit of a side hustle project that happened to cross my regular job as a Team Manager at the time. The nature of the project interested me and so I was keen to take part and lend my voice and experience to the subject matter at hand, so I joined the group.

I’ll skip over the part about how I was utterly sold on Agile, because if you’re looking to become a Delivery Manager, I’d say there’s a fair to middling chance that you had your very own experience that has compelled you to adopt the Agile life too!

The important part is that I was very clear that I wanted a piece of it.

I didn’t actually know at that point that what I wanted to be was a Delivery Manager, but I decided to move forwards anyway and I did that by starting to ask questions. 

My first was to both the Service Designer and the Delivery Manager of the agency who had been hired to deliver the project. It was simple and open…

 “How do I get to work for you?” 

I largely expected a bit of a fob off, but I was delighted when I received a name and an email address to contact!

I learned quickly that persistence is a definite requirement of this journey. (It’s also a pretty useful skill to have on the job too). I’m not sure if it’s a herd thinning tactic used by potential employers, but the pattern of a flurry of activity and conversation followed by a lull where I chased and followed up happened on more than one occasion.

This particular leg of the journey culminated in a skype conversation with the Head Delivery Manager and everything went quiet. Three weeks later I received a short email telling me that I was a nice person but I wasn’t experienced enough for the job. 

I decided to push for some more detailed feedback.

I’m glad I did and the Lead Delivery Manager more than rose to the occasion. In fact, they agreed to meet me for coffee after work and spent about an hour with me offering fantastic tips, advice and direction. It was also the moment that it became apparent to me that Agile Project Management was actually a ‘thing’ and that it was a whole world that could be tapped in to and explored. 

Until that point, I had thought that it was the culture, behaviours and methodology employed by that particular agency. When they started sharing with other companies that I might want to take an interest in, materials that I might want to explore and people I might like to meet, the penny dropped… Far from a single door closing, this was an entire city’s worth of doors opening.

From here, I expanded my activity in line with the possibilities that had just opened up.

I immediately contacted the names offered to me (and name dropped my referrer with their permission). I also started researching the companies and materials that they had recommended too. They were all 24 Carat nuggets of information gold and acted like the stepping stones to the knowledge and opportunities that was interested in.

I began to see that there were basic patterns and elements that were simultaneously growing me as an individual, expanding my knowledge as a professional and moving me forwards on my pathway toward a career as a Delivery Management.

  • People
  • Knowledge
  • Practice
  • Networking

People.

Once I started getting into my groove, I started to expand my interaction with experienced Delivery Managers and Scrum Masters. This was always my favourite part as I got to meet so many new and cool people and enjoyed every single exchange.

I took two approaches to interacting with people.

Cold leads and warm leads.

Before I knew quite a few people or had lots of contacts, I had to start somewhere. I personally chose LinkedIn for approaching ‘cold leads’.

I searched for Delivery Managers and Scrum Masters and sent a personal message to pretty much every single one that the search function returned. I explained that I was a newbie looking to become a Delivery Manager and offered to buy them coffee or lunch in exchange for them sharing their story with me and any tips that they might have.

Out of the two or three hundred messages I sent, about 20% (40-50) replied to me in some form or another (including a couple of confused couriers who pointed out they delivered mostly parcels).

Of those who replied to me, about 20% of those actually agreed to meet me and I set myself a ‘training budget’ so that I both could honour my offer to buy them all coffee and lunch and also think carefully who I wanted to meet the most (because that budget wasn’t unlimited!)

In order to make the most of these meetings, I prepared a set of questions which I iterated each time:

  • How did you get into Agile/become a Delivery Manager/Scrum Master?
  • What do you really like about it?
  • What don’t you really like about it? What’s really hard?
  • Do you think it would be a good idea for me to put in a cheeky application yet? (This was an important question for me to judge when to begin applying and to be taken at least semi-seriously).
  • What resources/books/courses would you recommend to me?
  • Specific Question I want to know… i.e. how does your team get put together? (This question would often be to address a new knowledge gap that had opened in a previous meeting).
  • Do you belong to any groups or forums and do you attend any events?
  • What’s the best way to get into the business?
  • What sort of things do you think a newbie needs to focus on?
  • What kind of things do you think it would be good to know for interviews et
  • Could I shadow you sometime?
  • Is there anyone who you could introduce ment to who could help me?
  • If you could offer me three tips on how to become a Scrum Master/Delivery Manager what would they be?
  • Can I mention to others that we met? Can I take a selfie for my LinkedIn profile?
  • What can I do to support you or reciprocate your generosity today?
  • Do you want me to keep in touch and let you know how I get on?

These meetings/interviews created the ongoing foundation to my journey to being a Delivery Manager.

After each meeting I would review the information that had been imparted upon me and then think on how I should act on it…

Knowledge… What book/blog(s) would I read? In what order? And when?

Warm Leads… The people who I had been referred to or introduced to following a cold lead meeting. Who should I contact/visit first? Why? Who might hold the next key to unlock something?

Practice… Of the tips offered to me, which ones could I implement right now? How could they serve other people? How could they be used as examples of Delivery in the future?

Networking… Which events were worth attending? What might I learn? Who might I meet there?

Iterate & repeat… Iterate & repeat… Iterate & repeat.

I followed this cycle for a few months, paying particular attention to the answer about whether they thought it was worth me making an application for a job. 

Once that particular answer was yes relatively consistently, I began applying to companies that were advertising (and sending my covering letter to companies that weren’t). 

I also asked (usually via email) for feedback from anyone prepared to offer it, about the quality of my CV, application and covering letter. I sought this both from the people and companies offering jobs and also from the people who had said that they would be interested in following my progress.

A further crude statistic was that of applications and contacts I made, about 10% responded, each enabling me to iterate and improve further.

If you’ve ever explored sales, you’ll know that often, sealing the deal is ultimately a numbers game. It was very much the same with this process. 

In my case, the numbers looked something like this:

  • 200 personal messages on LinkedIn
  • 20 1:1 personal learning meetings
  • 10 meetups & events
  • 10 books and blogs
  • 100 applications
  • 10 iterations of my CV& covering letter 

Being it was an iterative process, it was also a cumulative process. So by the time I reached my second interview:

  • I actually recognised one of the people on the interview panel, having met them and spoken with them at length over coffee.
  • I had heard, iterated and practiced responding to almost all of the questions that came up.
  • I knew exactly the types of behaviours and mindset qualities that were equal to or more desirable than qualifications and experience.
  • I was able to talk about Agile Project Management really easily and cite lots of materials and sources that I had consumed recently to show I was current and relevant.
  • I was able to give tangible examples of Agile methods and activities I had tested, implemented and iterated in my existing job and personal life. 
  • I was able to articulate why I thought I was a better choice than candidates who might have more experience than me.


All of this meant that I could demonstrate that I was already a Delivery Manager ahead of having the job title to reflect it.

I was offered a position at that second interview.

Take Your Time

All in all the above journey from the moment that I asked “How do I get to work for you?” took just over a year of pretty consistent, relentless and active effort.

That might seem like a long time, but actually, the time passed super quickly from the moment that I made the definite conscious intention and first acted on it, through to the point of being offered paid employment as a Delivery Manager.

The weeks and months flew by because they were so action packed. There really wasn’t a dull moment. Every week was full with a plethora of tasks and engagements and the odd one that wasn’t, was mostly spent getting some much needed rest and relaxation.

Follow The Advice Of Working Delivery Managers

They want you to win and they want you to join the community.

Lots of them are current, well read and well connected and if you ask good questions, they can give you some great answers.

Chatting with working Delivery Managers was absolutely the most valuable activity of the process.

In Summary

Albeit a long and winding trail, I really enjoyed it. 

I also haven’t really stopped all of the activity that I embarked upon.

  • I still meet Delivery Managers and ask them lots of questions
  • I still read materials
  • I still learn, try and iterate new techniques
  • I still read stuff (books, blogs, posts) all of the time on Agile
  • I still go to events in the evenings and at the weekends to learn and explore more.

This continues to feed the narrative that we tend to ‘be’ Delivery Managers as opposed to ‘do’ Delivery Management.

As discussed earlier in this article, I doubt very much that there is an exact or specifically defined way in which to secure paid employment as a Delivery Manager. But I think there are a lot of themes that could be explored, iterated and formed in to a not too dissimilar journey to the one I have outlined in this piece. Beyond the ‘journey’ however, almost anyone can ‘be’ a Delivery Manager wherever they are right now and that is the true golden ticket.

Of course, should you choose to ‘be’ a Delivery Manager regardless of your official job title and remuneration package, there’s certainly a reasonable chance that material side of the role might follow in the not especially distant future. 

How to become a Delivery Manager? 

Become a Delivery Manager.

What we’re learning from HackIT Service Assessments

Service assessments are a central part of HackIT’s governance approach. In the last 18 months we’ve run more than a dozen and the Delivery team have also piloted GDS Service Assessor training to help skill up a pool of assessors. Last week we completed a service assessment of the beta stage of the Manage Arrears service. The assessment itself will be published in due course – what we’re sharing here is our experiences and the key lessons we’re taking away for next time…

Great prep is a great start: From the panel: Soraya put together a really good Trello board (building on an earlier version from the ‘redesigning content on the Hackney website’ project). It was really helpful extra context and a great example for future teams to crib from. Without this, we’d have struggled to get to grips with the detail we needed to make a useful assessment. Attending a couple of the show & tells in the run up would have given us a head start for the assessment without requiring much time from us and no extra effort from the project team – we’ll try this next time.

From the team: It was useful to start a Service Standard Assessment Trello board at the beginning of our phase to link evidence to each criteria periodically as the project progressed. This helped our team ensure that we were capturing supporting evidence, as well as creating a great service in the best way we could. As the approached, the Trello board reminded us that there were some aspects of the standards which we would not have a chance to fully implement. We had plans in place to implement these and were able to share these confidently but this was the difference between us getting a partially met and a fully met for many of our criteria. The learning here is to allow more time ahead of the assessment to execute actions. Try not to just have a plan, implement the plan! 

Keep some focus on the bigger picture:
From the panel: The team have a great product that they’re very passionate about but as assessors, we’d never seen the product close up before. Even with a great Trello board and some show & tells under our belts the panel still needs a brief overview of the end to end product and how the current phase fits in. Next time, I’ll take the time to remind a team in advance, of the importance of ‘showing the thing’ on the day – a really strong narrative and end to end demo are key to making sure the team sell all the benefits of their work.

From the team: As a team, we found this assessment invaluable. We learned that it is important not to assume that everyone is aware of what went on throughout the full project lifecycle, and to remember to set the narrative and background.  This was missing in our presentation and would have been a benefit as we would have shared more insight into the Discovery work from earlier phases which would have emphasised the overall service vision and journey.

Take some time to come to a decision:
From the panel: we made a conscious decision at the start of the session to conclude the assessment on the day which meant a nervy quarter of an hour at the end of the session while the panel reached a conclusion on each of the standards. With hindsight, it might have been beneficial to have delayed this and given the panel a bit more time to explore the detail of the Trello board before we made a decision and to allow the team to challenge some of our assumptions.

From the project team: Next time, I would definitely include some extra time after the scoring for questions. This would provide the assessors with an opportunity to clarify or ask questions about anything which they were unclear on. Also, it would offer the team a chance to question the outcomes. On this occasion, the team came away feeling slightly deflated because there was no opportunity to discuss and understand fully how some of the final scores were met. Since then, our lead assessor, Liz, has done a great job to add the reasons for the outcomes which are available on our Service Standard Assessment Trello board.

Maybe a consistent panel could be useful:
From the panel: We also reflected on the potential benefits of including some of the same panel for the next stage service assessment of this product. Some fresh eyes will be useful too but it could be beneficial to help appreciate whether some of our recommendations have taken root. We were really lucky to be joined by Jess from ACAS as our external assessor, who was new to assessing but who’d been on the other side of the table a couple of times before. She was able to offer challenge from her experience in central Government (where service assessments can act as gateways) but had enough experience of being in the project team’s shoes to ask probing questions in a supportive way.

From the project team: It would be good to use the same panel for this product’s next service standard assessment as they are aware of it and the recommendations that came from this assessment. They could see the product’s progress as well as question the outcomes of the last recommended actions. We had a great multi-disciplinary panel which included both external and internal assessors all of whom objectively evaluated our service and raised constructive feedback.

You can find links to all of the service assessments we’ve carried out on our HackIT site. Written by Liz Harrison and Soraya Clarke


One Team Gov Hackney : Our first meet-up!

One Team Gov is a global community founded in 2017 who aspire to radically reform the public sector through practical action. There is a particular focus on breaking down silos within and between government organisations. It’s made up of mostly civil and public sector employees driven by optimism, the desire to make things better and united by a set of core principles. This fits in very well with the Hackney Council values of being open, ambitious, pioneering, inclusive, proactive and proud.

So far, the core group in the UK has run a number of unconferences, including one at the annual event where the top 200 civil servants meet, as well as contributing to reports such as NESTA’s Radical Visions of Government. It’s core themes this year are diversity and wellbeing, the climate emergency and public sector leadership.

Across the world it now has groups in Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Finland, Sweden, Norway and Switzerland and has run three 1,000+ people global meetups.

However – as well as going global it’s also time to start going local! Groups already exist in Wales, Leeds, Manchester, Scotland, Newcastle and most recently one was set up by our friends over at Croydon Council.

Inspired by Croydon and the other groups we decided it was time to set up a branch of One Team Gov here at Hackney. One first meeting was bright and early on the 15th of Jan and was attended by people from a number of areas in the Council including Housing Needs, ICT and Adult’s Social Care.

Fueled by coffee and croissants we had a brief intro to the One Team Gov concept and a round of introductions as many people attending had never met each other before – already a great start! Following that we had a lean coffee session where everyone was given an opportunity to introduce topics related to improving how the Council functions and then to vote on which ones they would like to spend the remainder of the time discussing.

The suggested topics included how to end projects well, creating a culture of empowerment, benefiting from data insights, enabling and empowering teams to be self improving and governance of cross-cutting projects. The two that the group chose to focus on were on how to share information about the work we’re doing to prevent duplicated effort and highlight conflicting objectives and how to provide consistent ways and means of communication.

The mini-session on work related information generated insights including the following.

  • The difference between “static” information about a project and and “the narrative” of what it’s achieving
  • The use of project start-up and close-down checklists
  • How difficult it is to know what other parts of the Council are doing and especially who is responsible for things
  • The danger of being overwhelmed by too much information
  • Whether it can be a good thing to have conflicting objectives in different teams
  • HackITs use of Objectives and Key Results (OKRs)

The mini-session on consistent ways of communication insights were as follows.

  • “No time” to communicate can often be an indication of other more complex issues preventing participation in a project
  • People often shut out communications they don’t see as related to their “day job”
  • Ways of communicating are very important – building a strong relationship often means having to initially talk to people face-to-face even if they are spread throughout the borough
  • It’s important to ask how people like to communicate
  • When looking to make people involved in a project – make sure you include discussions with the manager (about their time) and their team-mates (about the impact)
  • Having agreed combined objectives can make people feel more like part of the team and more willing to respond to communications – start small, build reciprocity!

After the two discussions came to an end we had a short retrospective which covered four areas. Things people liked included the opportunity to meet new people from different areas of the Council, the way the session was run and the croissants! People learned about lean coffee and that we all face common challenges. It was felt that the session could do with people from other teams and perhaps dedicate more time. Finally, the group longed for specific actions to take away – and a breakfast fry up!

All in all it was a great first session. We’re going to organise one every month – if you work at Hackney Council and would like to be involved please let us know.

Hackney’s new Change Support Team

Shortly before Christmas, I joined Hackney Council to set up a new Change Support Team. I’m well overdue a first weeknote, so I’ll brand this a ‘month note’ for now… The main news here is that we’re hiring for three very exciting roles – keep reading for details. 

Some first impressions of Hackney:

I’ve been unbelievably impressed by my colleagues around the Council and the work that’s being done – in just a few weeks I’ve seen amazing examples of change and innovation across all areas of council services

The speed and scale of change in the borough is massive. My colleagues in the Data and Insight team put this image together which gives a sense of the scale of change in the last ten years.

It’s sobering to remember though that this level of change doesn’t benefit all Hackney residents equally. The borough still has 11th highest level of deprivation in the UK, and that’s particularly challenging when you look at, for example, the impact of rapidly rising rental costs on Hackney’s low income residents.

Broader than the trends in Hackney, the scale of rising need is shocking. National policy failures in housing, mental health services and adult social care for example all take on new meaning when you see what those crises mean for vulnerable residents and the front line staff who are being asked to do more with less to support their residents. 

The response to these challenges has been incredibly impressive at Hackney, with staff leading on new ways of working in their service areas to manage all sorts of change. In just the few weeks I’ve been here, I’ve seen how Adult Social Care have introduced the Three Conversations Model, how colleagues in Housing have introducing new tech to streamline work around managing tenancies, and partnership working with the voluntary sector and local communities to improve outcomes for young black men. Over 70 staff members from across the council have completed three day Agile training, to help introduce new ways of working, focusing on keeping users at the centre of design and quick experiments which encourage “failing fast”. 

The new Change Support Team:

The Change Support Team will provide extra capacity to support this kind of change. The team will act as an internal consulting agency, sitting with different services across the Council, building confidence and capability to deliver complex change. 

We’re going to hire for a multidisciplinary team – combining expertise in Service Design, Behavioural Insights and Agile Delivery. We’ll run short term projects with different teams around the council. The roles will essentially be like working for a public sector agency – but without the business development and with the ability to work long term with colleagues and build up a real expertise in the borough and our residents.  

The success of our team will be defined by the degree to which we’re perceived to be an integral part of the Council service we work with – embedding the confidence to embrace change and adopt new ways of working, not simply ‘doing transformation to’ services.

I think the roles we’re recruiting for are very exciting jobs – it’s a great way for someone with local government experience to apply their skill sets across a range of services and develop expertise in a range of new areas; similarly this team is a brilliant opportunity for anyone with academic, private sector or voluntary sector background to apply their skills and make a real difference at scale. 

We’re looking for people who: 

  • Have experience of working in teams using Lean, Agile and User Centred principles to drive complex change 
  • Can demonstrate excellent problem solving skills – ability to adapt and iterate when necessary, and lead in ambiguity 
  • Enjoy – and are good at – working with people. You’ll bring an agency mindset to the role, seeing the service teams around the Council as our clients, and bring client or stakeholder management experience to this work. 

I’ve included an overview of the roles we’re recruiting to below – and you’ll find the full job adverts and descriptions on our recruitment site.  I’m more than happy to chat to anyone interested. If you’re not sure whether the job description is right for you, please get in touch on zoe.tyndall@hackney.gov.uk and we can set up a quick chat. 

Two of these job ads aren’t live yet. Keep an eye out early next week – or drop me an email and I’ll be in touch when the adverts are live

  1. Behavioural Insights Analyst (Up to £54k)

Some of the things you’ll be responsible for in this role: 

  • Research: Use quantitative and qualitative skills to lead on research in discovery phase; understanding how Council services are used and where problems are that BI approaches could help solve
  • Designing, running and evaluating experiments: Using behavioural science methodologies to design interventions; working closely with the Service Teams to understand impact of tests on costs, efficiencies, processes and residents’ experiences of Council services
  • Communicating and implementing change:Using outcomes data from tests to work with other teams to implement changes to Council services. Communicating projects and methodologies effectively to build capability and confidence of colleagues around the Council to adopt behavioural science approaches

This job is ideal for someone looking to apply their expertise in behavioural insights to a range of different topics, services, communities and problems. You’ll have expert knowledge of behavioural science techniques, and experience implementing these to achieve better outcomes.  Ideally we are looking for someone with core behavioural insights experience; however we are happy to consider applications from those who have worked in related fields, for example in digital marketing, advertising, public health or social research.

See the job description here

2. Service Designer (Up to £51k)

This role is ideal for someone looking to apply their expertise in change management and agile working to a public sector setting. You’ll do some of the following types of work:

  • Writing Business Cases: Use council data sets and research with service teams to quantify issues, to present analysis of why change to a process or service will benefit the council and residents. 
  • Create process maps and customer journeys: Work with service teams and colleagues in the Change Support Team to map existing journeys and processes, as well as other Agile tools such as user pen portraits, How Might We statements, etc. in order to focus on where Change should happen
  • Design solutions and trial these with service teams: You’ll work with the Behavioural Insights specialist and Delivery Manager to design new processes and test the impact with Service Teams. 

We’re looking for solid analytical skills here, more so than in some Service Design jobs. You’ll need to be confident in business analysis skills, understanding the costs of existing processes and making the case financially to work on any given issue. 

You might have worked as a designer, a management or strategy consultant, researcher or analyst, or have had responsibility for innovative approaches to developing services or programmes; you’ll now be looking to apply your skills to a wide range of different service areas and to join a dynamic community focused on delivering better outcomes for residents

Please see job description here.

3. Delivery Manager

As Delivery Manager, you’ll be central to the new Change Support Team’s success. You’ll have responsibility for: 

  • Managing the team’s workload: Leading on our Agile approaches – for example, leading Sprint planning meetings, Sprint review meetings and retrospectives, managing the Team’s Trello board and cleaning and prioritising the backlog;
  • Relationship management: Liaising between the Change Support Team and Service Teams around the Council, managing pipeline of potential projects, scoping and designing projects with Service Teams
  • Communications and Evaluation: Leading on creation of product road maps, show and tells, week notes, other communications around the Council. Evaluating impact of the team’s projects and creating dashboards of the team’s work

You might have worked as a Scrum Master, in Delivery or Product roles, or have had responsibility for innovative approaches to project management. You’ll be happy to work flexibly, supporting colleagues on projects as the need arises and developing skills in related areas, such as user centred research and data analysis as required.