Agile London @ GDS

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Agile London @ GDS

Key Details




10 Whitechapel High Street, London, E1 8QS

Our Hosts

Government Digital Service. The UK Government is recognised as a world leader in digital government; it ranks at the top of the United Nations’ E-government Index. We create public services that are simpler, clearer and faster to use. We deliver real, meaningful change for millions of people and help shape our society’s future. The U.S. Digital Service is modelled on ours, the New Zealand Government has used GOV.UK source code for their own online presence; countries like Canada and Australia are modelling their transformation on ours.

GOV.UK has won awards including the Design Museum ‘design of the year’ and saved the taxpayer over £60 million so far. But it’s just the start. 40 major government change programmes are underway. The Government Digital Service (GDS) is a centre of excellence in digital, data and technology. We work collaboratively with departments to help them with their own transformation. Home of GOV.UK, GDS also creates shared digital platforms and tools that can be used across government, through programmes like Government as a Platform.

We work in multi disciplinary agile teams and always start with user needs. We work to a set of Design Principles that guide us in everything we do.


Nick Tait, Head of GovTech at GDS

Delivering projects in government is quite unlike anything I have ever experienced before. After 20 odd years in the private sector delivering software and hardware to customers large and small I joined the Civil Service 4 years ago in the role of Programme Delivery Manager.

It’s the same, but different

I am going to talk about what it is to be a Delivery Manager in the Civil Service and some of the trials, tribulations and ultimate rewards of the role. I will touch on the seemingly age old agile vs Agile debate, the development of the Digital, Data and Technology profession and how GDS continues to shape project delivery and project leadership.

Jennifer Allum, Lead Product Manager at GDS

Reflections on scaling agile ways of working, as experienced at GDS

GDS has a good tradition of reflecting on how it’s working and what it’s delivering. Our blogs are our most visible testament to that. In the last couple of years, we’ve grown in size and that’s given us yet more things to think about - like how we stay aligned, and how we optimise our work.

As the Product Lead for GOV.UK I wanted to try working in a different way to focus the teams on a more aligned and visible delivery. I also wanted to have more flexibility to respond to changing pressures. A year after implementing changes, I moved to Verify and have broadly repeated the process there, albeit with learnings from my experience on GOV.UK. This new way of working has now been adopted by all product teams at GDS as we move towards a more aligned product function across all programmes.

Sharing my learnings and some reflections here will hopefully help people who are considering undergoing large scale change and what that means in an agile environment.

Tia Priest, Diversity and Inclusion Manager (D&I) at GDS

The impact diversity and inclusion can make in agile teams

Everything we do in GDS is agile and centred around users and the approach to inclusion should be no different. The historic approach to D&I has at times bred exclusive mentalities and behaviours by not always allowing for intersectionality and the expression of an individual as a whole. In GDS we create a safe space whilst encouraging collaboration and the understanding that each person is greater than the sum of their parts/ identities.

As D&I manager I work with our staff networks to identify systemic and cultural biases that impact on underrepresented groups. I coordinate projects but the real work happens when everyone in GDS is engaged and committed to behavioural and process changes that will improve our systems and culture.

This talk will share some of our successes, failures and lessons learnt in our approach to D&I as well as why we need to stop repeatedly doing the same things and expecting different results.

Matt Barnaby, Director at Basis Ltd

I have over 20 years experience (yikes) in working in Public Services. Some of that time was in Children’s Services, Education and Youth Work. The rest has been delivering change through projects. I deviated for a while and worked in Financial Services and even Rail which was all good fun but let’s move on.

Helping public services tackle messy problems, one post-it note at a time

So I’ve got two working theory’s. One is that even though the churn of daily life often makes us forget, deep down we’re pretty decent folk who want to do good things together. The second is that ‘life is something that happens whilst you’re busy making plans’. OK, so I stole that last one from John Lennon but you get the idea?

I love what I do. I use Design Thinking, Agile and Adaptive Leadership to help improve Public Services. The idea is that if I improve those then someone, somewhere has a shot at a better life. Nice right?

We always expect high demand for our events, so if interested, please signup ASAP via the Meetup page. For all other queries please email

Look forward to seeing some of you there on Wednesday 2nd May at 18:00.

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