Hello, I’m Ali. I head up our Digital First team and I’m a woman.
There’s been a lot in the media recently about women in tech, mostly about how few women work in the sector and if they do, what a poor experience they have.
We’re having quite a different experience in Digital First. Out of a team of 25 people, 12 are women, and we’re across the whole team.
That’s definitely something to celebrate today on Ada Lovelace Day – an international celebration day of the achievements of women in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM).
We have a healthy diversity. We have women in our development team, product team and our digital communications team. They work at all levels, senior, junior, mid level and in all roles across our digital transformation team.
It’s interesting that this has happened organically as we’ve put the team together. I think it’s just been a case of finding the right people for the roles and often those people just happen to be women. But is it an unconscious bias as I lead the team, and my boss is also a woman, or is that the reverse might happen in a tech team led by a man? That’s impossible to say. Brighton & Hove City Council has a well established equal opportunities policy which must help us as well.
What is clear though, is that we have a team of people all working well together, making great strides into transforming some of the council’s work. We collaborate and we disagree, everyone has a voice and everyone can be their true self. This makes for a healthy and mature team which makes us more productive and able to deliver better results.
So hurrah for women but a bigger hurrah for good people overall.
The Digital First team is always reading and learning about the best way to make digital transformation happen.
Many local and central government organisations are doing great work. It’s reassuring when we see someone doing something similar to us and it’s working. It shows we’re on the right track.
This blog post from the DEFRA Digital team falls into that camp. Like us they’re changing the culture of their organisation for the better. Both our teams are agile, we do our work in the open, we show the things we build as much as possible.
We’re also starting to think about communities of practice. Already there’s a Product Manager community in our team, and we’re finding other communities across the council and the city to be part of.
This quote from the DEFRA blog post stands out:
One important lesson I’ve learnt is that the people matter most. Talking solves a lot. Pick up phones, walk to see people, say hi, say thanks. People are the solution to all our problems. People over process.
We wholeheartedly agree. While a lot of the work we do is technical, it’s actually about people and how they work together.
When Ali shared the DEFRA blog post in our team Whatsapp group, Product Manager Annie asked Developer Khalid to make something to sum up our thoughts. This is what he posted.
If you’re doing digital transformation work in the city or further afield, we’d love to hear what works for you. Please post below or drop us a line.