Friday footnotes [8]

Friday footnotes is a weekly list of links related to product management and design in the ‘internet of public service’ curated by @jukesie

[1] Lasers, hedgehogs and the rise of the Age of Yoghurt: reflections on #OpenDefra by Ellen Broad is of particular interest to me just now albeit not so much for the talk of the release of open datasets (honestly I’m not that fussed) but the wider thoughts about Defra moving to an ‘open culture’? That is right up my street.


[2] Employee Evangelism: Make Your Team Badass has Melinda Seckington sum up in a few hundred words what I have been trying to articulate and achieve about my own work at ONS for the last two years! When you are trying to build in-house digital capability but you aren’t one of the ‘cool’ internet-era places to work (and I’d suggest Futurelean is a lot more appealing that us!) you have to get out there and spread the word — make sure people understand why they should come and join you (and the more of your team that does this the better,)

[3] Introducing our architecture approach and principles is something of a unique blogpost (and supplementary slidedeck!) as in it James Stewart managed to discuss technical architecture in a way that doesn’t entirely lose me a few lines in! One of the things I believe more and more is that Product people need to really grasp the big technical decisions and trade-offs that are being made in pursuit of the ‘vision’ and clear thinking like this really helps with that.

[4] How To Eliminate Organizational Debt is one of the best blogposts I’ve read this year….for the first two thirds then I think Aaron Dignan rather loses me with his suggestions to ‘take back the company’ — none of which really address his earlier (brilliant) points to any satisfactory level. That said if you are interesting in organisational transformation/change this is a must read for 800 words or so.

[5] Star Spangled Geeks is a brilliant article by Steven Levy about the work of the United States Digital Service and the challenges they face to just exist. What makes the USDS story so fascinating (and yes I am a total fan boy of them and 18F) is that there are so many parallels with out work this side of the Atlantic but they have a whole bunch of uniquely American hurdles to clear as well. Not least lobbyists who make ours look like primary schoolers!

A genuine office space at USDS! I’ll stop moaning 🙂