This weeknote follows a little different format. I am experimenting with the sections with the goal to make the drafting process more efficient. I found that I like to use this space to reflect things in more detail (for example, last week the concept of working in the open). Still, I also want to give a brief overview about what got done and what’s next. So let’s try this:
Focus: The gap between strategy and execution
We are stuck. Stuck in the gap between strategy and execution, and this though, we know that “Inertia is the most powerful force in government.” (p. 78 in Digital Transformation at Scale: Why the Strategy Is Delivery by Andrew Greenway, Ben Terrett, Mike Bracken, Tom Loosemore).
We spent the last couple of weeks on creating a shared understanding in our extended team. So to say, taking a breath from last year’s fast-paced working mode that was connected to ship the beta-version of the Digitalcheck. Most of the breathing was done on a vision level to have a so-called “north star” that should guide our day-to-day work. We anticipate that this will help us in decision-making, trust, and in the long run open up the space of action that a self-organized agile team inevitably needs to shine.
So intentions good, all good? Not really, right now we are in the void between this high level strategy and our iterative execution approach we kept up last year (plan-do-study-act and repeat). So we gained focus but are also lacking clarity, are not ambition enough and somehow lost some urgency and the pace that produces a steady stream of small steps in the right direction.
So how do we get out of this state? Surely not by falling into the water fall trap of breaking the strategy into ever smaller pieces and throwing these on a linear timeline. Rather, I will try two things to get our inertia back:
- Get me and also the extended team back out to our users. Users create urgency that no one can ignore. Users expect their problems to be solved, and our vision will help us that we solve these problems in the right “direction”. Hopefully this will put us back into a delivery mindset.
- Start thinking about how to communicate in a sharp narrative on our approach to execution. I think part of our pitfall here is connected with a missing understanding about how to travel, although we are following the same north star.
Happened this week?
- A working session with the carbon reduction initiative, and we launched a company-wide slackbot reminding everyone to use reusable options when ordering lunch or getting take-out
- I was excited about and thankful for a great product discussion club moderated by Magdalena about the product development cycle. We had an insightful discussion about our understanding and approaches to the different phases in the different products. The discussion was fueled by this great blog-post: 🇬🇧https://scottcolfer.com/2021/08/09/gds-phases-product-lifecycle.html. I might write a focus part on this in the future.
- Updated an administration reporting tool that was rather outdated and started to look into how to keep our workload regarding these tasks as slim as possible.
- Spent quite a bit of time with our company value activities, reviewing, ranking and commenting on different values. It is a fun and fascinating task together with a company-wide working group.
- Welcomed a new team member 🎉 Lena will support us the Digitalcheck team with her background in UI/UX design. Invested some (but not enough) time onboarding here into the topic of the Digitalcheck, more specifically the principals (🇩🇪).
- Struggling together with Sabrina to cut 60 minutes of content from the second part of our roadshow and finally pitching the concept to our partners in the administration.
- Spent some time supporting different ministries with a some Digitalchecks.
- Tied together some loose ends:
- doing some research into the drafting tools of policymakers in Germany, more specifically eGesetzgebung (🇩🇪)
- following up on some meetings from last week
- sharing learnings with the team from a workshop on how to write easier to understand legal texts
- Looked into the legislative aspects of the “einmalzahlung200”, triggered by a insightful episode of the German podcast “Lage der Nation” (🇩🇪)
- The upcoming week only has four work days. For the international women’s day, a regional holiday in Berlin, I plan to be on my bike.
- With Jakob, I will continue our work on creating a project reporting structure that is demanded by our counterpart in the administration. Goal from last week holds up - keep it stupid simple (and slim).
- Together with Sabrina, I will spend some time on finalizing the resources’ for the 2nd part of our rollout workshop series for the Digitalcheck.
- I will dedicate some time to continue my work on the evaluation concept for the Digitalcheck, I want to get to a state where we can communicate precisely.
- Together with Sarah, I will give a talk at the Herti School about the Digitalcheck, our goal is to inspire students and give them a glimpse of what they could do with their education in the governmental space.
- We will meet up with the Normenkontrollrat and take a look at the support tickets of the last two weeks in order to learn and identify areas we need to adapt the Digitalcheck. Furthermore, we need to continue our work on how to document the Digitalcheck for the parliament.
- Other than that, I hope we will get some headspace to figure out what will be the next areas we want to research to move forward with the development of the Digitalcheck. The intent, overcoming the gap between strategy and delivery.
- A co-worker commented with this website on my excitement about the blue sky and sun that visited Berlin this week, I find it quite funny: https://seasonsof.berlin/
- A nice write-up on why roadmaps are often a waste of time and what can be a better investment of the time by my former product management mentor: https://www.linkedin.com/feed/update/urn:li:activity:7033342580322902016?updateEntityUrn=urn%3Ali%3Afs_feedUpdate%3A%28V2%2Curn%3Ali%3Aactivity%3A7033342580322902016%29
- A lovely article I could not agree more with from Mariana Mazzucato, looking forward to reading her new book: https://www.ft.com/content/fb1254dd-a011-44cc-bde9-a434e5a09fb4 the argument that we always should keep in mind when hiring consultancies: Are we missing the incentive in the contract that helps us to get back on our own feed, or are we incentivizing a follow-up contract?