Daily note for 18 January 2023

In a conversation today I got to reference the chicken and pig analogy around project managers, which is something I haven’t done in ages.

I was differentiating between those project mangers without domain knowledge who coordinate, document, follow up on actions, make sure stuff happens, but who don’t really have skin in the game in terms of the outcomes of the project.

Then there are those who really care about the thing they are working on, who are really committed to it succeeding in the long term.

Chickens aren’t always bad and they really do have uses in the right context, but it’s important to know whether you need a chicken or a pig PM on a certain project because it can have a real impact.

“Old people hacks: tips for those of us over 40/50/etc” – sad to say I found much of this quite useful (I turn 45 in May).

“Not another ‘is design thinking dead?’ blog post”:

Maybe the most interesting changes are not in the tools that we so readily focus on, or our methodologies and approaches to innovation and improvement. Maybe we should be paying more attention to the most valuable of resources, the humans, and how we think, behave and work together for change.

Can anyone be confident that a local government software scandal isn’t on the horizon*?

One thing I have been mulling on following the recent – and much belated – focus on the Post Office Horizon scandal is just how much assurance any organisation can have in its core line of business systems.

The implementation of supposedly off the shelf software inevitably involves the kinds of customisations and bespoke code that caused problems (not all of them, but a fair few) for Fujitsu and the Post Office, and of course the people who suffered the consequences.

Where there are systems in use in local councils which handle similar workloads – revenues and benefits, social care systems, finance and payroll systems, to name a few – how confident can we really be that errors and bugs aren’t causing major issues, that for whatever reason lie undetected?

* see what I did there?

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