Made Tech Team Interview: Gráinne Blake, Senior Delivery Manager

This month we continued our Made Tech team interview series with our Senior Delivery Manager Gráinne to better understand her role and to feature the great work she has been doing.

Our Senior Delivery Managers help public sector organisations accelerate digital delivery, drive efficiency and ultimately improve society. They do this by leading multiple large-scale teams, ensuring the effective delivery of complex, high-risk products and services and building and managing strategic relationships.

If you would like to watch the full interview, it is available here.

Q: What hobbies do you have?

A: In this day and age I live a pretty small life given the time that we live in. I come from a musical background — I studied music — so normally it’s anything musical. You’d normally find me in a pub with a pint of Guinness, my bodhran (a musical instrument), or just listening to some good records on my record player from the 70s. Aside from that, walking my dog and I also picked up some chess during lockdown, so I play that remotely with my brother in Ireland.

Q: Before you joined Made Tech had you worked in the public sector at all?

A: I had worked with some public sector clients but not that many and primarily in the private sector. The public sector clients that I did work with weren’t really working within the GDS Framework as much, so not much exposure in that respect.

Q: How do you find working in the public sector?

A: I really like it. To be honest, I had a few reservations when I was joining Made Tech about the public sector but I find the work really rewarding and it’s that whole idea of impacting a citizen’s life that really hits home for a lot of people at Made Tech.

 Q: How long have you been at Made Tech? How did you find out about the company?

A: I’ve been here for eight months — sometimes it feels like a lot longer! I actually used to use Made Tech as a supplier seven or eight years ago and I stayed in touch. I heard about the growth plans into Bristol and thought there would be an opportunity to join the team. So I stayed in touch with Chris Blackburn, our COO, and the rest is history.

Q: What was the interview process like for you?

A: It was really simple and quick, which I really liked. So there was a telephone interview in the first instance, which was pretty much a 30-minute call just to get to know a bit more about the role and to see if I was a fit. Then it was a face-to-face interview for an hour and then a job offer on the same day which was great. It was a great Friday!

Q: What does your role here involve?

A: It depends day to day. It’s a mix between hands-on delivery management and hands-off. To give a bit more context of what I mean by that, it’s probably best if I talk about a few of the deliveries I’ve been on just to give it more context. 

When I joined Made Tech I was involved in an eight-week discovery to essentially create a migration and decommissioning report for an end client. That was very hands-on and delivery management kind of acting as a consultant in that discovery like just one of the team to deliver that outcome. I’ve also been involved with a beta and delivering that service to end users. It’s been quite different from the discovery but again very hands-on working with the team to get them to be high-performing and to deliver outcomes for that client. Then, the third was a rainbow style engagement where Made Tech have landed really great engineers to contribute to client outcomes within a multi-supplier environment. So it really depends from delivery to delivery, which is fun!

Q: Which has been your favourite project that you’ve worked on so far?

A: It’s tricky, but it’s nice to be able to think about that after eight months. I suppose it’s the beta delivery that I spoke about and the reason for that is I come from a product management background. I love thinking about user needs and why we’re doing what we’re doing and so it really hits home with me in that respect. I’ve really enjoyed working on that delivery.

Q: What do you like most about being a Delivery Manager?

A: I like the variety of work. I’ve just talked about three very different deliveries that I’ve been involved with, and I love knowing that this week probably won’t be the same as next week and if it is there’s probably a problem that I need to work on. It’s really great having that variety of work from week to week or day to day.

Q: What are some of the most challenging things you find about the role?

A: Probably the prioritisation for me — it’s something I’m constantly trying to work on. Making sure that you look at deliveries right and you think about what’s going to deliver the most value for an end user. That you look at your diary and you ask what’s going to deliver the most value today. So it’s an ongoing prioritisation of my work efforts and where best to put my time considering I’m working on multiple things concurrently and asking that question on a daily basis.

Q: Do you have any advice for someone who wants to be a Delivery Manager?

A: I think it depends if someone’s trying to get into delivery management or tech just as a whole. There could be some people who are really technical looking to make the move across to delivery or they could be coming in completely green, so it would depend based on that and obviously it’s not binary. 

There’ll be a lot other situations too but I suppose in the first instance it’s all about people, right? So I’d really recommend getting in touch with people through friends of friends just to get those insights in terms of what delivery could mean on the ground and getting that context. I think past that, I’d read up. There’s lots of great books and tools out there so getting them around modern ways of working and modern software delivery would be really beneficial.

Q: Do you have any books or resources you would recommend for someone interested in this position?

A: I’m reading what I consider a really great book at the minute — it’s Marty Cagan’s Empowered. It’s a really great book about how to be credible and parenting a high-performing team. It’s a really brilliant book to understand what are the things that make a team high performing and how to get there. I’d really recommend any of Marty Cagan’s books, he’s great!

Q: What is the biggest challenge you’ve had to face since lockdown in this position and how did you overcome it?

A: This is going to sound really simple but switching off from work. The first four or five months I was working in my sitting room. I finally finished this little cave I have for me now but switching off is really tricky. But even with this little room now, I find it hard in the evenings and I’m having to be really strict with myself in terms of when is work-time and when is me-time, and trying to make that physical separation. Dog walks are great!

Q: What do you like most about working at Made Tech?

A: The culture. I haven’t worked in a place like this where there’s such a community. Just as an example, I really feel like if I had an issue on a delivery I could put my hand up, reach out to even the delivery community and I’d get a handful of people coming back to me to try and help. I haven’t necessarily had that before in a working environment. There are lots of different silos in other companies or even silos within silos, so it’s really refreshing to do this differently at Made Tech.

If you have any more questions for Gráinne about her here, you can get in touch by reaching out on Linkedin. Additionally, if you are interested in joining our team, you can view our current open positions here. Be sure to stay tuned for our next Made Tech Team Interview coming next month.

About the Author

Karsyn Robb

Digital Marketing Coordinator at Made Tech

We are hiring! Find out more about a career at Made Tech.

Download a copy of our new book

Legacy technology is one of the biggest threats to public sector organisations.
Whether you’ve started your journey already or don’t know where to begin, this 160-page book has been written to guide you to define and implement the right approach for your organisation.