Week 123

  • For the next couple of weeks, whilst Nick is away on leave, I’m acting in the role of head of division. So this week has been a bit different to usual. So far, I’d say fewer meetings - but more complex issues.

  • One of the unique things about our program is that we live inside the regulatory group, not inside IT. Now that we’ve grown considerably, we have been looking at what can be done to bolster the lines of engagement between our digital teams and our regulatory areas.

    There is no exact science to this. Right now, we have a mix of channels in place, depending on the team. For example, some of our product teams have advisory groups formed of representatives from the relevant regulatory areas. Many of our teams work closely with individual subject matter experts. Some (but not all) of our product managers have joined us on loan from regulatory teams.

    We are now looking to go further and create a handful of business lead roles to work all across our program. To support them, some of the branch heads responsible for our core regulatory functions (eg. the team that manages meat exports) will be anointed business stewards.

  • On the other hand, we also work very closely with our friends in IT. As our program has grown, so too has the work of our Digital Foundations area building the ‘wholesale’ platforms for the whole department - on which we deliver our ‘retail’ services.

    This new ‘wholesale’/’retail’ operating model poses new questions for how we make decisions about our technology and architecture. Anuj, who leads technology for our program, wrote our initial technology strategy about 18 months ago. It’s simple, straightforward, and pragmatic (and we ought to blog about it).

    To date, our technology decisions have largely joined up - not least because the combined group of people making the decisions has been quite small. However, as we grow, we know that won’t always be the case. So - we are doing some thinking, having some joint conversations (and a bit of paper writing) to look at how we can set this up for the long run.

  • This week, I’ve read The Advantage by Patrick Lencioni. The book posits that organisational health is the defining trait of high-performing teams, and dives into some of the diagnoses where organisational health is low. An easy read and lots to reflect on from some of the teams I’ve led and worked within.

  • Jess and I went up to Sydney for the weekend. I had coffee with Martin and we had a great chat about where next for digital government in Australia - particularly reflecting on Lesley Seebeck’s article last week. We also went for a walk around Marrickville with TJ and Han, dropping into some of the arts and crafts workshops on the trail of the EDGE Sydneham festival.

  • Finally, it was absolutely brilliant to run the City2Surf today for the first time since 2019. Not a PB this year, but a good result nonetheless.

At the end of the City2Surf course at Bondi Beach