Weeks 99 and 100

Another fortnight-note from lockdown in Sydney.

  • We now have a single 12-month roadmap across all of our product teams. It’s a roadmap of cards, a bit like the old GOV.UK roadmap wall at GDS. As a new product team, it can be difficult to predict what you might be doing 12 months from now. So we’re thinking of it as stakes in the ground, with a hefty caveat that things can (and will) change. (And no Gantt charts in sight.)

  • One of our product teams in Export Assurance is focussed on making it easier for our staff who do audits. Our audits are currently done completely on paper, which means there’s lots we can do to improve the process. The team are currently in the alpha phase, testing how a new audit platform might work for our staff in the field. Last week, I joined a workshop where the team shared our prototypes with a cross-section of auditors across the department for feedback.

  • Over in Export Intelligence, we’ve taken a deep dive into quotas, looking at both how users apply for quotas and how the teams in the department administer quotas. At first glance, we have a miscellany of existing systems in this space, which have generally been created either for specific commodities (like dairy, for instance) or for specific countries, where Australia has a free trade agreement. It’s a huge space, so we’re going to scope out a joint discovery with our regulatory teams.

  • That’s not the only deep dive this week: the Registration and Approvals team in Export Readiness have started a deep dive on the Establishments Register. It’s the database that records the details of business premises that are approved for export.

    This is hot on the heels of the private beta, which makes it possible for businesses to add and remove approved people from their premises without paper forms. We’re now looking at what it will take to transform the underlying system. This will make it possible to grow beyond our current trial cohort on the journey to a public beta.

  • On Tuesday, Nick, Mark and I ran a session on digital transformation with the department’s executive leadership team. We talked about the old model, where technology requests go through the ‘front door’ of our IT divison, down a conveyor belt of different teams doing architecture, procurement, change management (and more) in sequence.

    Then we contrasted it with how we run multi-disciplinary teams that are joint with our regulatory areas, empowered to make decisions, and delivering iteratively. We’re going to turn this into a series of short videos to share across the department (and perhaps more widely).

    It was really Nick and Mark in Canberra that did all the work, as I dialled in from the (slightly broken) screen of a wandering telepresence robot:

Remote meetings

Week notes 100, which deserves a passing mention, even if there have been some very long gaps inbetween. Plenty has happened since Week 1.