Kicking off, heroic pussies and a big release

Just as I thought it was going to be a quiet week and nothing interesting was going to happen for the blog, when Markos ‘Vinny D’ Charatzas kicked off at the CIO Town Hall. Here is a picture of the brooding menace that is Markos when he has a ‘bee in his bonnet’.


What caused this ‘bee’ to buzz around his rather stylish bonnet?  He demanded to know on the Speakout section of the app why there was no open mic! I initially thought he wanted to serenade us with a Greek folk song or something and was deeply concerned for all of us. Thankfully he didn’t sing and then went on to make some really good points, as did a number of other people in the team. Keith, Gary and Markos keep asking the tough questions,  part of our culture should be that we robustly but constructively challenge, because if we don’t we will be left wanting when that challenge comes from our competitors. As the mic wasn’t forthcoming Markos left with the look of a brooding young constipated Marlon Brandon under that stylish hat. I think we should all get hats. 

Did anyone else notice how much prouder Tony ‘Cat Man’ Ciarletta was this week, his chest was puffed out just a little bit more than usual?  I think I know the answer. Cats are ascendent. Yes, they have risen beyond the demeaning demands of the internet by casting off the bread on their heads and attacking dogs who have attacked their owners.

If you didn’t get the bread reference please see…



Tony, if I ask really nicely,  can you do this to your cats please? I am sure they won’t mind. 

A big release. Yes once again an heroic troop of Digitalites will be coming in over the weekend to make sure the last PCA release before public launch goes well. I  have contacted catering and they are arranging for the following to be delivered to keep Tony happy overnight.


Seriously, I would like to thank everybody who is coming in to support the launch this weekend – Mark, Tony, Jim, Gary, Keith, Douglas, Paul, Fraser, Samrat, Pavani, Robert (with a P), Scott, Stefan, Martin….thank you very much.

The Tesco Town Hall was this morning. It was very interesting and inspiring and next week’s blog will be a Town Hall special when I have had enough time to digest what I saw and heard. However, one thing that really stood out for me was Philip Clarke’s clarity around ‘Leading with purpose not task’ In other words we need to think more about the purpose than the task and this reminds a lot of Lean which drives you to focus on adding value for the customer and ignoring tasks that add no value to the customer. 

Tony ‘Cat Man’ Ciarletta sent me this. And he is right there are some great quotes in the presentation. For example “We needed to work more incrementally, deliver to customers faster, and let feedback make the product better”. Well worth a read. 

“Found this nice wee presentation regarding MS Dev Division and its agile transformation … maybe for inclusion in this weeks blogs.. some great quotes in there!!”

Got this from Andrew Littlejohns. 

“We have some great colleagues in the team. This is not just me saying this two of the Compare crew, Tim and Barry, have been shortlisted in the “Colleague of the year” category in the Annual Values awards. They are both now off to the dinner on 29th May to find out if they have won. I am sure you will join me in wishing them luck at the awards dinner. “

He is right about the great colleagues. There are a number of people and teams who will be squeezing into sparkly frocks and heading over to Glasgow on the 29th May. Maybe we shouldn’t dwell too long on an image of Andy Ryan in a sparkling dress, however, If anyone wants to mock one up I will pay cash. 


Ivan ‘Zero Defects’ has a controversial entry in this week’s blog. A good one though I think!
Wallet which is seen maybe as a fine example of all things agile (ish), at least against how TB currently works, has still only shipped one release in around 10 months, in my eyes is quite a poor effort, I was reading an article earlier about Amazon”… May of 2011 had a mean time between deployments to production of 11.6 seconds, with up to 1,079 such deployments in a single hour…”
The problem with wallet is that the good stuff at the centre is constrained by the business culture wrapped around it, there seems to be a cast of thousands in place so everything is done in a traditional top –down committee based handoff risk adverse non trust fashion…In fact auditors were asking for the linkages between features in cucumber and stories, my answer was they don’t, brown trouser moment for some maybe….
I have a suggestion, please feel free to bat it off field,
We need an agile coach approach (building teams) not a project management (collecting data) approach to build mature delivery teams and pipelines, that includes all the elements from code to customer, that can go from where we are today  (1 per 10 months) to something that is relevant to our domain (especially in the mobile domain). Where releases are uneventful and boring when people are then free to innovate not fire-fight.
 This spotify model seems to be an ideal model, nice write up follows:

Article from my old big boss on the need for Digital skills. There is a massive shortage across all industries which means if we can attract, grow and retain talent in the bank we will be at an advantage.

Is the homepage dead? It certainly looks like it from this article

The danger of spurious correlation

Have a great weekend everybody. Especially those that have to spend some time with me over the weekend.


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