Well, this week was better than last. Most teams had drafted their objectives for the year, by the deadline we set before Christmas. No one had slavishly stuck to the format but most explained the ‘what’ and the ‘why’ very clearly, which was great!
From time to time I make progress by using my diary to bully me into action. Four things came together to force me to move the project forward.
Following the housing services away day, I wrote up their expectations of ICT as a set of objectives for the next year. We’re not yet ready to commit to key results, but I underpinned these with the key activities that would enable achievement of those objectives. That’s been helpful to ensure we understand the ‘why’ as well as the ‘what’.
We looked at our emerging roadmap to understand what it means for the data we’ll need to expose via APIs. Having clarity over the objectives is starting to help us spot which user needs will be dependent on the same data.
We have worked with the Hackney Works service to understand their objectives over the next year and what that means for how we’ll work together to develop the digital service.
The session that did most to move us forward was a team workshop to review the draft objectives, collaboratively. We broke into groups to look at the objectives connected with our five missions. Each group made sure that everyone could understand the objective, and that it was clear what it required us to do and why. This might have been the best bit of the week. People challenged each other, constructively, and got to grips with what was important to each team.
I then mixed up the groups to make sure that we had different perspectives and different teams looking at the same objectives. And whilst a good idea in theory, I hadn’t spotted what would happen; that the objectives might be re-written to a point where they lost their intended meaning. But despite that, we ended up with a better understanding of what we were going to do together, and how we all needed to be involved.
Next week, we start to develop the key results that sit behind the objectives – what we want to achieve each quarter. We’re working with different members of the team, so it will test how well we can understand the work of each team and how we can challenge each other constructively.
I’m hoping the key outcome will be that we start identifying where we have too many things to achieve in each quarter, so that we can start prioritising objectives.
I’m also developing a tool to capture the objectives for each council directorate and service. It needs to be simple and visual, so that it’s accessible – but has just enough detail so that people can spot particular initiatives that are important to them. The timing may not be perfect, but Rob has a regular catch up in the diary with a Group Director which is too good an opportunity to test our approach not to miss.
So by the end of next week, we should have a longlist of objectives, some emerging key results and tested a tool to communicate these across the organisation. A good place to be with 8 weeks to go before the end of this phase of the project.