Adventures in the Ministry of Justice
Since around March 2014, we have been consulting for the Ministry of Justice – a department of the UK Government.
It was a relatively easy leap across from the Cabinet Office and Government Digital Service (GDS), especially as our new team MOJ Digital Services (MOJDS) is created in its image. We made the jump across London from Aviation House in Holborn to Petty France in Westminster, initially on loan, but recently agreed to make the relationship official :).
Culturally and operationally, MOJ DS has the same mission as our GDS cousins: to build “digital services so good that people prefer to use them” and to always put the needs of the citizen first. MOJ DS turned 2 years old recently, and is garnering props for being one of the most exciting start-ups in London. Scaling comes with it’s own challenges, and we feel a particular fondness for protecting the creative energy that small teams often lose at scale.
In our role as Agile Coaches, Jess and I spend a couple of days a week with the team onsite, helping work through delivery pain points, plus encouraging and supporting the MOJ Digital culture of adaptation, innovation and service transformation.
What does that *actually* mean?
Well, I’m glad you asked that. Because we are always careful to keep the slide decks to the minimum and the sleeves rolled up. DOing is important.
- We have been teaching & presenting master classes for senior level civil servants who are keen to understand agile and what the web geeks are making on Level 10 & 11.
- We pitch in with research and delivery management during the early stages of new MOJ DS products, such as the ‘make a plea online’ service which is still in alpha.
- We facilitate workshops with all the Ruby on Rails or Python product teams across MOJ DS, probing self-assessment and discussion and raising pain points and unblocking where possible as we go. We called these sessions our ‘Agile Temperature Checks’ and we’ll write some more on that format soon.
- We’re involved in MOJ’s Digital Capability Programme. This programme of activities is designed for non-digital and non-IT professionals, helping to build digital skills and transform the civil service into an innovative force of the future. We’re testing different methods such as one-on-one coaching and a seminar series to check what the most effective methods are, always with a view to learn and iterate on our own approaches.
- And so much more. How long have you got?
We’ve also written a couple of blog posts, check ‘em out:
- Agile at MOJ Digital
- Agile for non-digital projects
- Putting users at the heart of policy-making (written by Coca Rivas, but we’re name checked!)
Transforming government services into open, agile, digital products with user needs at the centre is no easy, overnight task. There’s still a lot of work ahead for the MOJ Digital team. It certainly feels great to join the mission and work with some amazing, inspirational people. If you’re interested in joining the MOJ Digital team, take a peek at the great gigs. Onwards!