What went down at Deliver Con 2022

A couple of weeks ago we opened the Made Tech doors for the UK’s delivery manager community in and around the public sector. We shared our space to help host Deliver Con for 2 days, welcoming a range of wonderful speakers sharing their stories of agile delivery. Here’s our roundup from the event (with a healthy bunch of metaphors from the 2 days thrown in!) 

Day 1: Do you know your agile history?

Steve Feeney opened Deliver Con with the first talk of the event. He explained world debates around the agile ecosystem with a deep-dive into family feuds about scotch pies (yes, it’s all relevant). Steve finished his talk by bringing it all together and teaching us what agile actually has to do with Scottish migration.

James Cattell then led us through #FailCamp. This was a chance for us to come together, share our failures and recognise how they’ve ultimately given us truly valuable lessons. 

The metaphors continued with Steven Sampson-Jones’ lightning talk on the inspiration for Scrum. This featured lots of rugby-themed terms and, of course, the importance of working together as a team. Be honest – who knew scrum’s development related to product design from Japanese companies in the mid-1970s to early 80s?

“There was a real emphasis on learning, continuous improvement and iteration in these companies.”

Emma Collingridge talked brilliantly about agile coaching, sharing real-world stories from the Department for Work and Pensions. Emma described a small but beautifully-formed team that’s part of the delivery practice, their values, challenges to date and hopes for the future of the community.

“Coaching is not only a role, it’s a place of being.”

Rounding off the day, Daniel Susser gave a refreshingly lively final talk of day one. Sharing a recent project in the Ministry of Justice and insight into the Team Topologies approach. He explained how this way of working can be used to construct software teams in an effective organisation. Daniel described the ways this approach can be used in both a techno-social way that deals with tech things, but with a social human side too. 

Day Two: nurturing the delivery community

Calling all delivery managers: did you know you’re where you are because of one eugenicist and 8 engineers? Steve Feeney opened day 2 of Deliver Con with a talk on the etymology of agile and how it all relates to the Second World War. Steve explained how this talk was first delivered during a community of practice, where it began a huge discussion about the nature of agile, where it might go and what our skill sets should be.

“If you can understand the history of technology, manufacturing and business, it will allow you to critically evaluate the practices being presented to you.”

Up next we heard about creating a delivery capability framework at Citizen’s Advice from Jo Garwood. Taking us through every step of the process, Jo described how the idea started, how they did it (with support from Emily Webber) and where they’re taking it next. 

“Our community aims to raise the profile of delivery and improve our practice by bringing people together to share, learn, support and encourage each other.”

Steven Sampson-Jones gave us the first of our lightning talks and the agile story of the Chinese bamboo tree. This talk included another delivery metaphor, this time teaching us success lessons on patience, faith, perseverance, growth and development and most surprising of all, human potential.

In our second talk, Michael Ambrose from the Department for Work and Pensions spoke of getting products and services out and the benefits of continually iterating rather than a “measure twice, cut once” approach. Describing a recent project, Michael shared his experience when a team had 2 radically different thoughts on how they should work. The interesting part was that both arguments were 100% correct. Michael explained how they got there, and how the team came up with a novel solution valuable for any team.

In the delivery management world, we’re no stranger to terms like feedback loops and iteration. Louis Allgood showed us how we can individually use tools and techniques to gather feedback to continually improve and better serve our teams.

Sam Hoskin then led Discussion Con, another opportunity for us to come together, build connections and share our stories. And finally, we know there’s no one route into the delivery community, that’s why Liz Catherall gave a session on the delivery management pathways and user journeys. inviting conversation around how we can guide greater experiences across government for our existing and aspiring delivery teams. 

That’s a wrap for Deliver Con ’22

We were delighted to lend our space for Deliver Con this year. As always, the event encouraged us to challenge our own thoughts, biases and invited insightful conversations in the delivery community. The event was a great opportunity to learn from each other, share our successes (our failures too) and hear about real change in the public sector. 

We’d like to thank everyone involved in Deliver Con this year. From organisers to speakers and of course everyone that joined us in person and online. 

Until next year!

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About the Author

Lucy Gordon

Senior Creative Writer at Made Tech. Connect with Lucy on LinkedIn.

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