Experiences

We’ve invited a couple of our new hires to tell us why they made the move to HackIT. Was it the vibe, was it the commute, was it the innovative projects? Let’s find out.

Philippa Newis, Senior Delivery Manager

It’s Day 6 in my new role as Senior Delivery Manager at HackIT.

“I heard it on the grapevine” that HackIT was a great to work. Not the Hackney of sexy tech startups in Shoreditch and Hoxton, but Hackney Council. Word of mouth is a powerful thing. Trusted sources told me that HackIT was delivering great digital services and changing up its whole way of working. Boom! The equivalent of catnip to my delivery manager sensibilities.

Here are three reasons why I want to work at HackIT:

I want to work on interesting digital projects that make a real difference to people’s lives

Let’s face it, no-one chooses to interact with their local council, rather we have to. Be it the mundane chore of paying our council tax or at the most painful and chaotic points in our lives – a family separation, a severe illness or the death of a loved one.

For me, this lack of choice means we have to design and implement services that are absolutely fantastic. It is not an excuse for shuffling mediocrity, it is an imperative to reach for the moon. Fantastic doesn’t mean superficial “bells and whistles”, it means services that everyone can use.

I want to work in a way that values human beings

This thing we call “agile” or “scrum” or “kanban” – whatever label you fancy sticking on it – is human-shaped work. Its driving force is the needs of our users (in our case this means Hackney residents, businesses or visitors to the borough). But it’s also about creating a great work environment for the teams that deliver those digital products and services. For me, being human-shaped starts by:

  • Trusting the team’s collective expertise and celebrating it often
  • Valuing learning and sharing it with others
  • Acknowledging that things will always change and while this is good it can also feel hard sometimes
  • Chunking up complexity so that we can have conversations, not 200 page documents
  • Supporting productive work, not arduous work

Look after your humans first and foremost. A happy, engaged team doing meaningful work will result in great product and services.

I want to work within in a governance structure that enables innovation

But the thing that really piqued my interest in HackIT is its approach to governance. There is commitment – and action – to rewire its governance so that it reflects agile principles. Shoe-horning agile ways of working into traditional models of governance is a recipe for unhappiness and really icky conflict. Agile teams feel like they are banging on doors that won’t open and gatekeepers can’t fathom what they are being asked to unlock.

I want accountability that holds me to standards and governance that enables me to deliver. I’m all for healthy constraints and the transparent use of public funds but how we did this 10 years ago is no longer fit for purpose. HackIT is taking the plunge and trying a new thing with its governance. It’s emerging but you can read more about this from Cate McLaurin, HackIT’s Head of Delivery.

There’s so much to learn, it’s only Day 6 after all. Ask me how I am doing in six months…