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Looking back (and forward) at the technology team away day

Posted by: , Posted on: - Categories: Collaboration culture, Focus on core work, Open, Technology

The technology team during a discussion at the away day

Three months after starting as Chief Technology Officer, I was delighted to take the 50-strong technology team in PDS away for a day in mid-December.

Our twin objectives were to celebrate a year of working with colleagues across Parliament and discuss the value that technology could unlock for Parliament.

Our work this year

Tracey Jessup, our Director, spoke about the achievements throughout the year and thanked the team for its commitment and collaborative working style.

Among the many projects we worked on in 2017, Tracey called out eight successes:

  • the rapid recovery from the cyber attack and work to reduce cyber risk
  • working together to make a snap general election happen
  • the relocation of our data centre
  • transforming Parliament’s IT network
  • introducing Skype for Business
  • migrating multiple services into Microsoft Azure
  • upgrading to Microsoft Office 365
  • providing IT architectural support to the digital portfolio team who manage all of the projects in PDS

In all these successes, a focus on excellent service for the user shone through along with the tireless efforts of the group.

Tracey also talked about how she sees the team evolving through three main changes:

  • moving to technology platforms in order to simplify our users’ experience of technology
  • using a product owner model for accountability of the IT services we provide to the organisation
  • monitoring our five year roadmap for Parliament and make sure we’re staying on track

What a product owner model means to us

The team were then asked to discuss what being a product owner means for us. We started with a thoughtful presentation and Q&A session led by Claudia Wootten of the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP). She talked about her role as product owner for Unified Communications.

The group then debated the advantages, challenges and skills needed to move to a product owner model in the Digital Service.

The feedback will help my senior team shape our operating model. We'll share more on this later in the year.

Opportunities for Parliament

A number of thought-provoking presentations and demonstrations from our suppliers followed. Amazon Web Services, Cisco, Microsoft and Samsung helped us think about the opportunities for Parliament. From virtual reality, chatbots, and voice interaction, to cyber defence and scalable compute resources, the expertise shared during the day has set the stage for 2018 and beyond.

The event was well received and we got a score of 4.6 out of 5 from participants, with outstanding scores given for the presentations by DWP, Amazon and Tracey.

I'm looking forward to a busy and successful 2018.

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