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Digital Mulling, Marketing & Projects

What next for digital transformation

I was delighted to be asked by DigitasLBi to present on digital transformation within Scottish Government.

Given three busy weeks, I quickly put together some slides about the efforts to create a passionate digital team in Government. A team is tasked with helping organisations transform the way public services are delivered in Scotland.

Talk: The needs of users, their journeys and transforming public services

This dual served as the perfect opportunity to listen to some great speakers. Topics included digital trends (Digitas LBi), organisational transformation and change (Standard Life), innovation in media (STV) and tips on optimising app store games for maximum downloads (Channel 4).

Speakers included:

  • John Monks, Head of Digital Business Design, DigitasLBi
  • Mary Harper, Head of Customer and Digital Marketing, Standard Life
  • David Milne, Head of Digital Publishing, STV
  • Colin Macdonald, Commissioning Editor for Games, Channel 4

Given three busy weeks, I rushed together a couple of slides about our efforts over the last eight months to introduce a passionate digital team to Government. This team, as a collective, tasked with helping organisations transform the way public services are delivered in Scotland.

View a great summary via the Eden Scott blog

Saying hello to Jekyll

Goodbye WordPress. It's been great working with you! Hello Jekyll. Jekyll is a static site generator, an open-source tool for creating simple yet powerful websites of all shapes and sizes. To quote the project's readme:

Jekyll is a simple, blog aware, static site generator. It takes a template directory [...] and spits out a complete, static website suitable for serving with Apache or your favorite web server. This is also the engine behind GitHub Pages, which you can use to host your project’s page or blog right here from GitHub.

GitHub you say? Sounds good to me.

So, we're now up and running on GitHub, with Poole as the template of choice for Jekyll.

Migrating from WordPress is a breeze when you make use of some of the useful apps out there for doing exactly that. Interested? There is a great post from leon Paternoster that explains all.

However, if you are less code savvy - there is a great windows app that does it in a flash wpXml2Jekyll - pick it up on GitHub.

Revisiting an old favourite called URLs

When we embarked on our most recent public sector project, there was a big focus on shifting mindsets towards agile practices and away from traditional approaches to product and software development. I blogged briefly about this personal switch to agile back in February.

So, where are we now? We are approaching our first alpha release, we have begun sharing some early thoughts over on inside.mygov.scot we are on twitter and continue to code like crazy.

As part of our hub and spoke model to content contribution within the team, I went back to an old favourite - URLs.

You can read more over on the mygov.scot blog.

The blog is filling out nicely with content from a wide range of people within our teams - including a post on user research by Paul.

I'm also leading on the release of material supporting people in the delivery of digital public services. You can find this under standards and guidelines.

Adapting to agile methods in the public sector

Working in an agile manner, after a history of creating bulky project briefs and requirements to front load work, is a little challenging to say the least. I had a history of attempting to nail long documentation, with the aim of realising as many outcomes and outputs as possible. However, long development times, a lack of flexibility in relation to change and worries about launching too early were always common.

I'm now sketching out ideas on whitewalls, snapping photos of doodles, holding short stand ups and working with product owners who have a real passion for the creations under their guidance. We're aiming to release frequently and we're aiming to ensure that anything we do is backed by real, robust user needs - something that Government Digital Service have really been a champion for over the last few years.

It all feels very liberating - in a technical / work kind of way.

If you are interested in finding out more, the web is full of details around various flavours of agile project management methods. Within the division we work through a hybrid approach, utilising DSDM for more robust governance and fuller project documentation, alongside a more Scrum like method for the delivery teams themselves.

Exciting times and more to come.

Talk @ Scottish Borders tourism partnership conference 2013

I was kindly asked along to the Scottish Borders Tourism Partnership Conference at the tail end of 2013. Whilst there I spent a bit of time talking about digital marketing and some wider thoughts on digital in general. The deck has now been made available via VisitScotland.

There are plenty of talks available, including my own, so feel free to go check them out.