It is important in any workplace that a culture of open communication prevails and thrives, and people can comfortably share ideas, achievements (and mistakes), lessons learned in a positive, respectful environment.

Being in the throes of organisational change around Christmas time, with a new team in place for the new year, we started into a cycle of continuous improvement across our product suite - planning and putting sprints into play, in the context of preparing agile training across the organisation to instill a commonly understood flavour of it.

Out of one of our first retro sessions of the year came the realisation that some product silos remained in the sense that there were gaps in ‘portfolio-wide’ knowledge that needed to be addressed.

Showcasing experience

Even in the context of the retro / demo cycle that is part of agile delivery, there would still be a need for showcasing (beyond the product team), encouraging us to ‘sell’ to ourselves anything; from our own product features, to industry trends, user behaviour changes and making recommendations based upon knowledge garnered.

whiteboard with post its Whiteboard of our retro session in March


Hence began ‘Insight’ - a regular 30-40 min session involving 2-3 speakers, presenters talking to the government digital services team on anything and everything including:

  • demoing new product features
  • presenting specialist knowledge
  • discussions on user/business problems
  • industry trends

The sessions have been a success - so far including discussions on a variety of topics including:

  • content design optimising experience around citizenship
  • agile training
  • product feature demos
  • government web strategy
  • use of Lean Canvas
  • accessibility
  • use of Github
  • analytics (Voice of customer)
  • open data

The presentations have showcased a multitude of talent across the team and highlighted an important and varied role played improving citizen's experience with government.

It's important that open communication prevails and thrives, and people can share ideas in a positive environment.

Mark Kirkpatrick

An open forum

Insight continues to grow with bookings in to cover the next few months. In terms of addressing the ‘gaps’ mentioned earlier, it has served to inform the wider team, as well as open up conversations around product/portfolio direction of travel.

It is also an open forum for everybody from across the team to contribute to as and when they see fit, and in being so it is fast becoming a staple part of the way we do things - refining, improving digital services across government as we go.