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Collaboration Beyond the Tech Silo

James Stewart (
Culture & Organizational Change
Location: 118/119 Level: Non-technical
Average rating: ****.
(4.80, 5 ratings)
Slides:   external link

The UK government, like any large organisation, can be a deeply siloed organisation. As we’ve been working on transforming government services based on user needs we’ve had to work to break down those silos. That’s not just about bringing down the wall between development and operations, but bringing together procurement and operations, security and user research, and policy and product, all around a common vision.

At the heart of the “devops” movement is a call for collaboration, communication and most importantly empathy. In organisations used to working in tightly defined silos that can be challenging but enormously transformative. The real benefits come when those same principles are applied much more widely across an organisation – not just getting technical staff working together, but bringing teams together from radically different disciplines to respond to user needs.

In this talk I’ll walk through some stories of how that’s been happening, some of the challenges faced and how a big clear vision and a toolbox of tactics have come together to let us overcome them. I’ll look at a developer’s journey to understand the compliance challenges of working in a large organisation and the huge opportunities for better services that focussed collaboration brings.

Those attending this talk will come away with:

  • an increased understanding of the opportunities to take what we’ve learned from devops and apply them more widely
  • an appreciation for the challenges of expanding our approach to encompass non-technical disciplines
  • a set of tactics and case studies to help apply this in other large organisations
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James Stewart

Director of Technology at the UK Government Digital Service, building GOV.UK and making services Digital By Default.

East Londoner. Husband. Father.