I survived go ape

Hello everybody,

I now have a blog so will be putting this email in my blog. I understand that some of you are having trouble getting access to WordPress from work so I will continue to send out the email as well as putting it in my blog. I don’t know why you can’t access WordPress from work, I can assure you I have categorised my blog as a ‘U’. Why do something once when you can do it twice!

I have now managed to speak to most of the immediate team. My intro meeting count is at 27 so I know I have a couple of you for one reason or another. Please grab me or Lesley (probably the better bet as she is more organised than me) to organise a quick catch up. I will also in due course set up some ‘interrupt Andrew time’ when people can drop by my desk and moan/ask questions/feedback/make suggestions (delete as appropriate). I have started to think about some of the themes that have come out of the sessions. Positively most people in the team flagged that there are a lot of good people in the team. Negatively there were general concerns about the teams self esteem, the right tools to do the job, poor downward communication, resource planning, connection with the wider business, process overload and the handling of design. I don’t think any of this comes as a surprise to members of the team. A lot of these themes came through in the team retrospective that Jo ran. I am confident we can fix them, it will take time and won’t be easy but we will fix them.

We have a new team member. I am delighted Fenwick Howieson has joined us as he brings some very valuable skills to the team, not least an unrivalled knowledge of where to find salmon. He is currently working on how we can implement a developer LAN for the whole Digital team. I am hoping we can get this in sooner rather than later and I will also make it a priority to lobby for a better email solution. I don’t think I can work with the VDI solution we have for much longer. I have also had an offer accepted that I made to Mark Plumer for the Service Delivery Manager role in the new structure. He has still to negotiate his exit date, as he has a 3 month notice period, but I am hopeful he will be with us by the end of July. I will be asking Mark to take on building a dev ops capability, a support model for the applications we deliver and management of the infrastructure we require for the team. He is a very keen golfer so Jo Vetesse also interviewed a really good developer this week and was impressed enough for us to move to make an offer. The offer should be going out very soon.

The Digital away day was great fun. The weather could not have been better; I told the guys from Equal Experts that the weather in Scotland was like that all the time. I am not sure they believed me. The presentations from the wider Digital team certainly gave me a lot to think about and I was impressed by the speed in which the team was set up. It certainly speaks volumes about Tesco bank’s determination to make the Digital team work – which we will. I am not sure about everyone else but I was not entirely looking forward to the Go Ape experience, particularly after I viewed their online video. I am not the best person with heights. It got even worse once we got on the course and we had to go over the first walkway with the 0 and X’s – it made me look down and it was quite high up.. However, once I had convinced my mind that I was safe I really enjoyed it. I had made the leap of faith and it is that leap of faith that we need to make to adopt a truly Agile model.

Talking of Agile. I promised some training and it has started today. Please let me know what you think about the material and the guys providing the training. I dipped into the session today and thought it was good. I’ll get some feedback from those who attended the full course today and if we are happy with what was provided we can extend the training. I know there is a big appetite in the wider team and business to get some Agile training. The ITLT were keen, particularly HR, to get some training.

I am not sure if you are aware but the bank has stepped up and is taking the lead on the building of a Wallet, which is very exciting and nerve wracking all at the same time. We in Digital will have a big role to play in this and am I working on exactly that role will be at the moment. I will of course share more when I can. To that end I will be in London for the latter part of next week. I am sure the contrast between London and Edinburgh will be stark, in Edinburgh’s favour.

Sharing time. Have a look at this blog entry. Julian Browne is an architect I did a lot of work with at Telefonica. A very smart guy with some great ideas. This blog may upset some architects but my experience tells me that he is right.


I found this article on Twitter. Some interesting stats on the shift towards tablets. Also what people use Tablets for. I am not sure what category adult specialist interests fall into! A guy from Akamai once told me that 50% of the internet is porn and gambling.


Interestingly Dwolla, a start up payment transaction service, has just announced a link up with Mint.com. Check it out here


I hope you all have a great weekend. I have managed to set a precedence with my nephews that once they get to a certain age I take them into town to buy stuff for their birthdays. So if you happen to be in Leeds you will see me being dragged around by a 7 year old and my kids, who will also demand I buy them something as well.

PS. My top tip for this week is to leave a pub before midnight when on a work night out. You know who you are.



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