I started out as an environmental scientist at the Environment Agency, working on recovering and recycling the UKs large amounts of agricultural and industrial waste. At some point I fell into managing digital projects, and with the creation of GDS and the Transformation 25 Programme I made the full transition to product management.
Four years ago I decided to go to Aotearoa New Zealand on holiday; ‘nek minnit’ and stayed. I was lucky enough to work on and lead some exciting programmes and products. I managed the Common Web Platform which was used to run 230 public sector websites, intranets and transactional services, including the first online Census in 2018. I was part of a small team that setup Web Services Panel, which I then went onto manage. This panel provided quick access to the 81 key suppliers of web services to the public sector.
Eventually I got the job title of All-of-Government ICT Capability Manager for web services for the New Zealand government. I also managed a small delivery team and multiple suppliers to deliver New Zealand’s Digital Marketplace. Finally, I went on to run GOVT.NZ and oversee the implementation of new innovative features such as legislation-as-code, machine-readable content integration.
I’m now back in the UK and slowly remembering that winter is a real thing after back-to-back southern and northern hemisphere summers.
If money were no object, what would you do with your life?
If money were no object I would be the world’s worst professional Downhill and/or Enduro mountain biker. I would give myself all the gear, travel the world and make everyone else look good. I would have the best time ever
What did you want to be when you grew up?
A ‘space scientist’, I’m not really sure what that is, but my very young mind knew for certain that scientists and spaceships were cool and that’s what I came up with. I’m always slightly envious of my friends that work at the UK Space Agency, although my next thought is usually of the HMS Camden Lock from the TV series Hyperdrive (a totally underrated show in my opinion).
What’s the last picture you took on your phone?
The last picture I took on my phone is from the weekend before I started at Notbinary. It was taken towards the end of mountain bike loop called The Gap in the Brecon Beacons.
What problem do you wish you could solve?
Make everything metric! I have now spent a few years in a country that is fully metric and it was glorious. I have no idea why we just don’t get on with it here, it’s a permanent half-done job. We seem to jump between standards constantly. Who was the delivery manager on this? They should probably get the sack, assuming they didn’t retire shortly after 1965.
“Do. Or do not. There is no try” Yoda
Is there carbon in your cloud?
With all the government clients I have worked with ‘cloud first’ is always followed (or at least aspired to) and frequently talked about. Guidance on how to create and implement a cloud hosting strategy refers to capability, cost and data storage requirements of your organisation's unique set of needs, but not the needs of the planet.
Avoid learning too many lessons from these ‘unprecedented times’
The big thing I keep reminding people is while there will be lessons to learn from all this we need to take them with a grain of salt. These are not normal times and the change in attitudes is probably a lot more fragile than some people think.
Impact beyond Alpha
4-8 weeks of a Discovery or Alpha project is a fleeting time for us to accomplish our mission: to help institutions embrace the opportunities of the internet era. What can we try to extend our impact beyond the confines of the project.