In a complete change of pace from last week’s attempts to write weeknotes, I’m sitting in the rather pleasant Koko Coffee & Design shop in Amsterdam enjoying a short break with Kari. After the pace of the past few weeks even a couple of days’ slowdown is really rather welcome.
The big features of the past week were Sprint:Alpha and another GDS all-staff gathering. The former was a chance to report on progress on the transformation programme GDS is leading to help departments transform 25 services across government. It was great to see such a broad range of people there and to see some coverage appearing from people like Rory Cellan-Jones.
Gavin, Gareth and I led a session on “choosing technology in government” as a response to some trends we’ve seen across the programme. We looked at the topic from a few angles to begin to sketch out the wide range of factors involved in making tech decisions and what we feel are appropriate sets of questions that senior management should be asking. The aim was to bring all those decisions back to the fundamental consideration of user need. The session seemed to go well given how little time we’d had to prepare, though I think if we were to do it again we’d probably try a little harder to make it less “talk” and more “workshop”.
On Thursday I presented an update on progress on GOV.UK at the GDS all-staff session. It was a good reminder of how much activity there is! More interesting than my spot, though, were really good talks from the Lasting Power of Attorney team about the journey to launching their public beta, and from John Adams on the DfID Development Tracker. There’s lots for us to learn from both those projects.
And now the sun’s coming out and it’s time to wander off in search of lunch…