Straight, art, Grexit and that London

Yes, if you want straight hair you can now do so within the convenience of an office setting. I believe Steven ‘the hair’ Huff has been lobbying long and hard to get some more appliances in the office dedicated to the jujing of hair, to ensure he keeps that hard fought ‘Hair of the Month’ award.  This lobbying has paid off as on the second floor you can now stand enjoying an unparalleled view of the South Gyle whilst straightening your hair.

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It also comes with instructions on how to use the straightners. So if you haven’t straightened your hair before you can leap straight in.

I did see Robert Thomson with a P heading off to HR yesterday to complain of outrageous favouritism towards those of a hirsute nature.

Art. I like art, I have some at home and often drag my beleaguered children off to art galleries at the weekend. Clearly every 4 and 7 year old relishes visits to art galleries and I am happy to indulge them. This has had some sort of influence on my 4 year old as he came home with this master piece a few weeks ago. I think it is a metaphor for male angst in a post feminist age, what do you think?

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Whilst I was endeavouring to educate them to within an inch of their lives I stumbled across the glorification of Scotland in Leeds City Art gallery! Look…

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It is by Lady Elizabeth Butler and is called ‘Scotland Forever’. It show the Scots Greys, even though they are dressed in red, charging at the French at Waterloo. Imagine, we all used to really get on and sided against a common enemy from over the channel. I can’t imagine the Welsh helping out like this, maybe they didn’t have horses then because they ate them or something.

That well known Cougar attracting iOS wrangler from Hellas leaves us today to concentrate on saving the Greek economy. You will pretty soon see him squaring up to Herr Schauble in Berlin. I am sure we all wish him well in the future. (Alternatively, you will find that he is off to build his own company, I am sure we will hear more of him in the future).

Don’t go to London. I was in London this week for one night and bad things happened. I was in a pub waiting for some friends when the rather refreshed upper class man behind me (he had a pinkie ring) started singing ‘There will always be an England’. In addition I was woken by the rather enthusiastic coupling of the couple in the room above my head at 5 am. Are people in London in that much of a rush that they need to start doing that sort of thing at 5 am on a school night? Also, I happened to notice that you can buy bedsits for £950,000, aka ’Studio Flats’. Madness, stay north of the wall.

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Finnie’s Fabulous Fash Finking (F4)
Hiya lovlies, its FASH time. We have some great tips this week.
First up, start washing ladies. Not washing is so last week don’t you know.
Secondly, I wanted to share the fashion gorgeousness that is my absolute number one Scottish idol. Follow this man, ladies and gentlemen and you won’t put a foot wrong when it comes to being top of the fashion parade.
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Thirdly, I have been reliably informed that a ‘Belfie’ has moved on this week. This week it all about taking a picture of your derriere and getting it on Instagram before you can say Jlaw. Go on indulge with your colleagues and family. I am reliably informed that HR departments throughout the kingdom are really relaxed about this sort of thing.
Till next week fashionistas!
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Guru Fraser
“When you join an organisation at the bottom you look up and all you see is arseholes. When you reach the top you look down and all you see is heads.”
Profound! Thats all I can say.

The serious bit you may want to read.
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Some challenges from Zero Defects on scope and fixed dates, a cry for developer anarchy and something to do with Lego…
Fixed scope, fixed dates, would you cut corners and risk product quality as constraints are imposed?
“.. as your deadline approaches your options are reduced and you choose options to fit the deadline rather than satisfy your customer…”
http://winnipegagilist.blogspot.co.uk/2013/03/thoughts-on-beyond-deadlines-by-jabe.html
Interesting approach, what if the development team not only solved the problem but also owned the problem?
http://www.theguardian.com/info/developer-blog/2015/feb/09/do-what-you-want-building-great-products-through-anarchyLego, Star Wars and something called agile….
http://somethingagileleansomething.com/
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Some stuff I have read this week.
An eye opening expose of how the Mail Online operates.
You have no privacy, you are merely a source of data.
Talking about privacy. What about ‘context privacy’?
According to this article these are the Top 10 emerging technologies for 2015. Might be worth remembering to go back and check when we get to the end of this year.

I was at a breakfast meeting this week with ‘Digital Leaders’ from Barclaycard, Legal and General, The Telegraph, Mitsui Sumitomo, Channel 4, William Hill, GLH Hotels and GDS. The themes were all fairly familiar with concerns on how you start a transformation, how you engage stakeholders, where you get the talent from and how you reconcile waterfall desires of certainty with agile practices? It is fair to say there are no absolute answers but some of what I got from the meeting was that you need to be brave and start, you need to engage the existing teams and stakeholders (you can’t be an Island) and you shouldn’t be afraid to use some tools that are necessarily ‘agile’ such as Gantt charts if it helps with stakeholder engagement.

Mike Beaven from GDS said a few words. The format was Chatham House rules but I don’t think he will mind me attributing the following to him.

He spoke of the need to identify clearly with the needs of customers, which is quite difficult when you are the supplier of ‘grudge transactions’. I.e., nobody really wants to deal with the government as it mainly involves the less than pleasant aspects of life such as death, unemployment, planning etc.

They are very ambitious and originally set themselves a target of 25 transformation projects across government services involving departments as diverse as the HMRC and DVLA over 2 years. As it stands they have succeeded with 20 which is very impressive. They are also looking at providing single identity and payment services for all government departments. Clearly they have great ambition and as I understand from other sources they are technically advanced, for example, in HMRC they are deploying to production on a weekly basis. Something we can’t do!

They also have an interesting approach to delivery phases using Discovery, Alpha, Beta, Live.

Mike talked about the three key things they learnt you need to focus on being

1. Strong leadership. Obvious really but difficult, particularly when you have what he described as a ‘frozen middle’, where the top and bottom of the organisation are motived but the middle isn’t and you are looking to get the whole organisation to shift from providing bureaucracy to providing services to actual customers.

2. You have to work with the established teams. Give them the support they need to succeed. This you can do by building internal consultancy teams, with a particular focus on strong technical support to help and guide the existing teams.

Demos really help with building relationships with senior stakeholders. The Civil Service has the concept of people having core competencies so you have quite a few people in senior technical positions who previously did something that had nothing to do with IT.

3. Service management. Focus on enabling a culture of service management. A good way of doing this is to find the people in an organisation who are at the ‘sharp end’ of customer engagement and give them autonomy. I interpreted “giving them autonomy” as providing the right technology and giving them permission to supply services in the best way they saw fit.

Have a great weekend everybody.

See you on Monday.

Andrew.

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