1/ In government, there is a flawed belief that software development is a skill that they cannot afford, but software governance is a generalist’s domain, and any required specialist skills can be quickly acquired.
2/ This understanding often manifests in the hiring of third parties to build software to a set of requirements.
3/ Once that piece of software has gone through the three Government Digital Service sanctioned alpha, beta, and live stages, the software is done and everybody moves on.
4/ It should be noted that there are other reasons for this too: the government’s business case process, financial management practices, and a worldview that conceives of things in one of three states: 1) non-existent 2) being built 3) built and merely operational.
5/ By contrast, it is generally true in the private sector - with some vertical exceptions - that there is almost an opposite misunderstanding of software development.
6/ While government excels at hiring delivery managers, programme managers, portfolio managers, and almost everything other than engineers, the private sector frequently confuses the act of hiring developers with meaningful engineering.
7/ Whether in large enterprises that don’t consider themselves to be software companies or in startups led by non-engineers, developers are often thrown into a pot with little-or-no investment in how their work is done.
8/ It is often up to the engineers to convince management that they need to take actual time to organise their work and structure their processes and if they succeed in convincing management, it is often left to them to do so within the existing headcount and budget.
9/ Engineers who move from the public sector to the private sector find themselves looking desperately for some sort of governance and management from a leadership team whose conception of software development is defined by little more than their understanding of Excel.
10/ Meanwhile, engineers who have spent their careers in the private sector who later move to the public sector will look around in horror as they try to identify who else in the organisation can help fix the plethora of custom software in their new organisations.
11/ Software estates that would warrant teams of many tens of engineers are lucky to be staffed by two in government. To compound the problem, they’ll probably find themselves reporting to the person who is responsible for the office printers.
12/ There will, however, be many meetings. to attend.
13/ Both of these extremes are wrong.

~ fin ~

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More from @jamesaduncan

8 May 19
I find it remarkable how often "leadership teams" sabotage the organisations they purportedly work for. There are many ways in which this happens, but I want to focus on one that I see quite frequently.
Reorganisations often take place because somebody gets singled our for greatness, or more frequently, somebody senior finally gets identified as being a bit shit but no-one really wants to do anything about it.
When organisations reorg just to accommodate someone they don't really want to accommodate, they tend to just organise people into slightly different groupings, while ignoring the operating model, tooling and business intelligence.
Read 8 tweets
22 Jan 19
@swardley Designing around pioneers, settlers and town planners is possible, and to do it takes a lot of willpower. It's flies in the face of 30 years of received wisdom and getting it right means going back to real basics and having a lot of people look at you funny.
@swardley Lots of the work we do @stanceglobal with customers helps them down the path to being able to implement these models, but pioneers, settlers and town planners are something you get to think about once you've got everything else right. If you start there, it's gonna go wrong.
@swardley @StanceGlobal That in itself is a challenge, because people intuitively understand P/S/TP and want to exploit it. But it is less true for the groundwork that is needed to put the right structures around those people types and govern those structures in a way that takes advantage of them.
Read 5 tweets

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