Fat dogs and cancer

What a blinding start to the blog! I would like to thank Ramjan Reshad for his brilliant idea on new themes to start the blog with, which is song lyrics that are written to impress ladies but don’t. I am not sure anybody will be able to top his suggestion of “Lying in the sun like a fat dog next to you is worth cancer” from Gangsters by The Longpigs. I would also like to put on record that I never thought I would be too hot in Scotland. Today I was – Edinburgh Waverly is a giant greenhouse.

One of my reflections this week is that we still have quite a way to go to rightsize our processes and planning, for an organisation our size there is way to much. Our focus should be on outcomes. The Agile Manifesto puts in very eloquently.. we should value more

Working software over comprehensive documentation
Individuals and Interactions over process and planning
Customer collaboration over contract negotiation
Responding to change over following a plan

Can everybody think about how we can put more emphasis on the items on the left and put forward some suggestions?  We really do need as many suggestions as possible if we are to make Tesco Bank a better place to work in.

I was at the ITLT offsite this week and we had some interesting discussions. There was quite a bit of debate on the level of staff attrition in IT at the bank and the reasons for it. I believe there is generally a good level of understanding of some of the causes for this but the solutions will need to come from us all. There cannot be a top down only solution. HR also presented on some work they have been doing to clarify the number of roles and job titles in IT. More work will be done in this area to clarify job families and provide a clearer structure for people to develop and progress, which can only be a good thing. Andy Ryan turned up and gave a presentation on the Wallet programme – what it is and what we are doing about it. It was a good presentation so if you are interested in Wallet I suggest you grab Andy and get him to run through the slides for you. I also presented on my plans for the Digital team. I plan to run through these at the team meeting next Thursday but if you are desperate for a preview beforehand grab me.

Chris Brind a very experienced Android developer started this week in the Mobile Banking team, which means that when Tony C gets on board we will have 2 dev pairs working on this, split evenly between perm and contract which should give us the right mix of experience and continuity. Mark Plumer whose joining date is rapidly approaching came in for a chat and a beer – after meeting some of the team in the pub and learning of Fen’s extra-curricular activities I do hope he comes back. Mike Ritchie, the new Development Manager starts on Monday which is really good as he brings a lot of Agile/XP development experience with him.

You may have noticed quite a few boxes of equipment turing up on the 2nd Floor. The Wallet and Android scrum teams are in the process of setting up their development environments. There is quite a lot you can’t see, Jenkins, Jira, BitBucket, AWS……If you are interested have a chat with Fen – he has been up to his elbows in this.

We also had Dan and Matt from 10Gen up from London to give a talk on MongoDB, it was two hours of deeply technical discussion on document databases. Apologies if you turned up expecting something a little lighter to start with but on a positive note Claudia and Lizzie are now experts on sharding. Joking aside, I am very keen for as many of us to get to understand as much of the new technology out there as we can, regardless of the role. So it would be good if I could get some suggestions about technology you are interested in. I may be able to rustle up some contacts. As an aside Cohaesus are up next week to give the Digital team some ideas on how to get design, UX and technology to work better together.  If you are interested let me know.

I had my first ‘surgery’ today. I wasn’t left alone and had a good discussion – thanks Karan. I will be having more.

We have a winner for the caption competition. I got two responses. The first from David McConchie was

Joe says. ‘As a sporting chap, I want an air filled spherical polyhedron stitched from 32 panels of waterproofed leather or plastic so I can kick it across the ground. ‘

Man with balding head leaning in says ‘you mean you want a football’

The second from Craig McPheat was

‘And that’s why you need a CMS’

I declare the winner to be David. David a bottle of champagne will be on your desk next week.

Craig McPheat has put his hand up for the Grameen volunteering opportunity. If anybody else is interested can they speak to Craig so we can build a team to support this.

Some sharing for this week.

I am not sure how I feel about this? Interesting technology but…


Jo Vetesse passed this on to me so I am passing this on


Thought provoking article on ‘platforms’ a recommended read


Have a good weekend. Its going to be a scorcher AGAIN. If it carries on like this I will have to start
complaining about the heat!


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