This thing of ours


I’ve been listening to Five Families: The Rise, Decline, and Resurgence of America’s Most Powerful Mafia Empires and recently I stumbled across Donnie Brasco on TV for the first time in ages (not long after hearing about the real story in the audiobook) and it got me thinking about weird little parallels with my working world.

First and foremost though this classic scene just makes me laugh when I think of all the ways people use ‘digital’ and all the arguments about whether it is a useful term. Fuggetaboutit.

Digital is, like, if you agree with someone, you know, like “User research is one great way of working. Digital!” 
But then, if you disagree, like “A systems integrator is better than an SME? Digital!” You know? 
But then, it’s also like if something’s the greatest thing in the world, like, “Minghia! Those savings! Digital!” 
But it’s also like saying “Go to hell!” too. Like, you know, like “Hey Paulie, you failed another assessment?” and Paulie says “Digital!” 
Sometimes it just means “Digital.”

It is all just context 🙂

There is so much jargon, so many rituals and ‘ways of working’ that there is probably quite a bit of fun to be had writing a Cosa Nostra Guide to Digital Transformation.

The Commission as GDS maybe? Or the Digital Leaders group if it still exists. The Five Families = DWP, HMRC, Home Office, BEIS and Defra? The Bosses are the departmental CDOs and the Capos are the product leads who run their crews (teams).

Those crews are self-organising and set their own objectives according to a wider goal (make money and kick it up to the bosses!) and they are supported by specialist ‘associates’ when needed (not unlike Emily’s team onion idea!).

There is a whole language to unpick (though nothing else as good as fuggetaboutit!) and their ‘rituals’ which could certainly be used to shine a light on some of the increasingly arcane corners of the agile world.

Anyway it is just a stub of an idea at the moment but I have a feeling it might be fun. Make a change from agile through the armed forces at least!

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