Week 50/52

A couple of notable things happened this week;

  • The word came down and we are officially the Department for Business and Trade (DBT). I was secretly hoping for the Department for Business and International Trade (DeBIT) because what fun that might have been newspaper headlines wise. Anyway the new PowerPoint templates are very nice so that is good.
  • After six months I passed my probation and thus am all-in as a Civil Servant once again. It wasn’t like I was expecting not to pass but it is a nice milestone nonetheless. It hasn’t been entirely smooth sailing these last six months but I maintain that bucking the trend and coming back to public service was the right decision for me and long may that continue.

I’ve been working hard promoting the Product Manager vacancy in the team this week. There is so much competition for these roles – at least six or seven other public service orgs have live recruitment campaigns for roles with almost identical job descriptions and very similar salaries. There has to be a better way of doing this – some kind of shared public service product person pool? A collective endeavour to collaborate rather than compete to bring the best talent into the fold. I don’t know how to make that happen but I’m not sure things are sustainable at the moment.

As part of my promotion I was thinking about the kind of person makes a good product manager in this world and I came up with this;

Somebody who –>

understands what it means operate through influence not authority

gets that agile is a mindset more than a particular framework

won’t get frustrated by bureaucratic blockers

…but also won’t stop challenging them

knows that putting our users first is non-negotiable

…but that Civil Servants are users too

can make decisions informed by data

realises the importance of security and privacy

are curious about technology

is comfortable communicating to a range of audiences in a range of formats


We also have senior vacancies in User Research and Agile Delivery which are well worth checking out if you are thinking about that Civil Service life 🙂

There have been other people related tasks this week that have taken up a lot of time – sorting out contractor roles, looking at internal vacancies and capability assessments (I really find our process challenging and, if I’m honest, unhelpful but I totally get why it is like it is). I’m also starting to look at how we can reboot a coordinated approach to team / profession level workforce plan as it got somewhat uncoupled when I rebooted our planning approach and I need to get a grip on that.

Caught up with former boss James on Wednesday near Waterloo. Always good to have a chat – he has been there and done that in the public and private sectors so he always brings valuable perspective. Also he always comes loaded with the gossip! It was good to hear a bit – but not everything – about his stealthy new start-up and the plans for it. It was a good test of my resolve at being a Civil Servant again!

Survived the tattoo!

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