Blog

The state of blogging in digital government

In its early days, GDS published a set of design principles to guide the building of new digital services. These principles were a codified version of a set of practices that had developed during the building of Alphagov and the beta of GOV.UK. The 10th principle says: Make things open: it makes things better Teams […]


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2017 year note

31 December 2017

This year has been a bit of a mixed bag, with many ups and downs. At the end of 2016 I left GDS with no real plans for what to do next. GDS broke me. Both physically and mentally. After 5 years there, I was completely exhausted. I’ve spent a large part of 2017 working […]

We need to talk about spend controls

10 April 2017

Recently, the National Audit Office (NAO) released a report on the Digital Transformation of government. In it, they devote a section to the approach and results of the government’s control of technology spend. As always happens, the focus is on “savings”. After all, what’s the point of controlling spend if you don’t make savings? People […]

Deliver little, deliver often, avoid the big bang

27 March 2017

When building and running services it’s important get into the habit of releasing updates to users on a regular basis. This applies to all phases of a product lifecycle – whether you’re prototyping something new, or maintaining a service that’s already in use. Deliver value early When you’re building something, find the smallest thing you […]

Create the space to let teams deliver

10 March 2017

Building good services takes a lot of effort. Whether it’s gaining a deep understanding of user needs, or changing policy and laws to remove complexity, or piecing together technology to make it all work, there are many things that need to be done. The most successful teams and services are those that have the space […]

Lessons learnt

9 March 2017

For the last 5 years, I’ve been at the heart of efforts to bring government into the digital age. I’ve worked with teams across departments to introduce new ways of doing things, to build new services and transform organisations. Along the way, I’ve learnt a huge amount about how to do it, and also what […]

What I mean when I say ‘digital transformation’

18 October 2016. 1 Comment

Digital transformation is a phrase that gets thrown about a lot in government circles at the moment. It means different things to different people. This makes it impossible for people to really understand what you mean when you say it. I’m not the first to write something about this. Simon recently wrote about how the […]

Plenty done

13 October 2016

A few weeks ago was my fifth anniversary at the Government Digital Service. I’ve had the opportunity to work on a huge number of important projects in various roles including software developer, technical lead, product owner, delivery manager, troubleshooter and technical architect. From building GOV.UK to travelling to DVLA in Swansea every week creating new […]

Plenty more to do

16 August 2015. 1 Comment

It’s been a fortnight of big announcements. Mike has announced he’s leaving. Leisa is going home. Tom, Ben & Russell have decided to move on. We’ve also said goodbye to some others – Andy, Lindsey, Sam and Mark. There’s been lots of noise about what this means for GDS, for ongoing digital transformation, for the […]

Spending time with users

14 June 2015

Last week I spent a day in Manchester with my team’s user researcher. She’s visiting people all over the country to help us better understand how people interact with government services. Taking part in research like this gives you a great opportunity to meet people outside of your normal circle. As a civil servant, I […]

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Any views stated here are my own and not those of my employer unless otherwise stated.