December 2, 2022
In the spirit of transparency and candour, we publish weeknotes reflecting on the what and why for the ENV service transformation team.
This week felt a bit like a slow down, which was nice on many levels. Kevin and I both took a break from weeknotes last week — well deserved for Kevin (he defended his Masters thesis!) and my brain was feeling full on both personal and work levels.
So — I’m looking back over the last two weeks.
Something that stood out was the value of in-person or group workshops to help build confidence and direction in our work. Shout-out to all the facilitators out there who help make these sessions productive! And — a note that meetings are not always the answer — a clear, to the point email and/or discussion on Teams can suffice.
On that note — a few group sessions that felt good:
- Presented an update on the Strategic Transformation Branch approach and work to ENV Executive. A key ask from my presentation was for ongoing executive input to confirm our priorities. It was great to discuss our work and hear feedback in real time.
- Joined a CleanBC digital experience prioritization workshop to help surface ENV key activities and people to help build out the future roadmap for the team. This work has felt a bit opaque as we’ve been waiting for these workshops with the ENV and Energy, Mines and Low Carbon Innovation (EMLI) teams, so it was nice to re-connect and frame up the work ahead.
- In-person connect with Kevin and Product Owner for our Compliance and Enforcement Digital Services work, Steve, on their roadmap. We talked about future service design work, onboarding the soon-to-be-hired developers to round out the Product Team and areas of focus for the Product Team through 2023. Definitely a happy place for me to be in front of a whiteboard and sketching out timelines/constraints to help make sense of priorities and work ahead.
- A regular monthly jam session with ENV Product Owners and digital leaders on team models to sustain service design and delivery. We talked about how best to secure ongoing funding and support for embedded digital staff in program areas and where internal product teams could focus (maintaining/sustaining existing products to developing new applications). Lots more to dig into here with other teams across government for lessons learned/approaches — there’s not a single ‘right approach’ as the context of the program area, budget, product landscape play such a critical role.
- Planning work to support a joint ENV/EMLI/Environmental Assessment Office session next week for digital teams to share their roadmap, connect and highlight future collaboration opportunities. Really looking forward to this!
- Discussion with web leads across ENV (both internet and intranet) on roles and responsibilities and how we want to stay coordinated. We paused a manager-level committee (didn’t seem like it was valuable) and are continuing with a staff-level working group to stay connected. And, we’re leaning to more asynchronous communications via Teams as opposed to monthly meetings.
- Popped into a few of the Compliance and Enforcement code challenges as part of the developer procurement process — a one-day ‘let us watch how you work’ approach to see the developers in action tackling real user stories to help inform our procurement decision. Vendor try-outs!
A few (great) non-facilitated check-ins:
- Caught up with a few colleagues from across government: 1) Advanced Education on their digital approach re: EducationPlannerBC, 2) Agriculture on continuing to take a service design approach to program delivery and 3) Government Digital Experience on their central service design team.
- Check ins with colleagues across ENV for pretty much all the ENV Product Teams — quick chats to help surface any questions, add detail and context to decisions and flag anything coming up is the foundation for service transformation (i.e. building trust and connection).
- Great chat with the lead for the Forestry Suite of Applications on their team design and approach. A lot of similarities with our work in the Environmental Protection Digital Services space. Like EPDS, they have a large number of existing digital applications that need to be modernized and also develop new applications to meet emerging or pressing needs. A great example for approaches to sustaining digital teams and products through both capital and operating funding.
- Connected with our partners at the Natural Resource Information Digital Services team on supporting digital teams and tools.
A few more administrative pieces:
- Drilling down to ensure we have an updated list of ENV digital applications as the foundation for IM/IT budget planning. Next steps will be to set up conversations with all ENV division leads to discuss their needs for IM/IT budget for 2023/24. I’m actually pretty excited for these conversations and what they may surface re: user needs, service design and transformation opportunities. ***In many ways, I see the digital systems side of things as a MacGuffin for service transformation. Changes to a digital application or system are often where the focus is (they’re tangible, shiny and a clear action) — but, the real value comes from the user research, problem definition, service/policy design and organizational support to deliver digital applications that will actually help to underpin service transformation.
- Submitting some HR forms to support organizational design changes and the bureaucratic pieces to support the Director, Digital Services role that was introduced in the Environmental Protection Digital Services space this fall. A few other HR pieces here too (I can finally approve staff vacations!) and financial training courses.
A few links and books:
- Ben Holliday — As-is for service design (the balance between mapping the service that was and designing the service that could be)
- Facilitation resources (good books!)
- The Three Marriages: reimagining work, self and relationship — David Whyte (the eternal balancing act)
Kevin’s taking a well-deserved break from weeknotes for the month of December — he’ll be back by year-end for a Year in Review post!
The opinions and views expressed in this post are solely the author’s and do not represent those of the Province of British Columbia or any other parties