Weeknote 17-21 February 2020

Weeknote 17-21 February 2020

3 minute read

On financial approvals, learning together and package-free shopping

About agile in Cornwall Council

We are starting to adopt more agile and open ways of working. We have been experimenting internally with weeknotes and, with a little time lag, we would like to see what publishing these might achieve.

I certainly noticed the half-term effect on the morning commute and the number of out-of-office replies but, otherwise, things didn’t let up.

In the fast change team we started Sprint 8. We are still low on effort due to our “storms”1 but, by coincidence, we are blocked on a few items so have not suffered as much as we might. One of our backlog items needs financial and procurement approval. It would be good to look at how to make this easier in future by being clearer about the roles of the people involved, asking the relevant questions once and recording the relevant answers once.

We did manage to catch up with another council to swap notes on call centre recording. No major surprises but it does give us confidence that we are going in the right direction. I am using the Local Government Digital community2 more and more to find people who have done or are doing the same things that we want to do. Nice to talk to knowledgeable people who aren’t, usually, trying to sell something3.

I ran a Learning Lunch with a small group on Planning Poker4. I should probably write a Team Bumblebee5 update on this and see if the people at the Lunch would be happy to teach others.

I facilitated the kick-off for one of our development teams. We are going to redevelop the service that schools use to plan trips and events. This could be a good opportunity to try out a range of new things, e.g. cloud infrastructure, but we are not sure if, collectively, we are ready for it.

I’ve started to re-post some of our agile ideas on my personal blog6. I am hoping this is just a stepping stone and eventually we will be publishing more about our work through Council channels. It also got me thinking about the technology I am using for my blog7. It is incredibly cheap to run but is not that user friendly.

Final thing this week was a telephone call to swap notes with one of the agile coaches at the Department for Education. This was a random introduction organised through the Agile in the Ether8 community and the idea is to keep having short 1 to 1 calls with others every two weeks or so. New “in the Ether” groups are starting up on UK Public Sector product management and cyber security and there may be more depending how well these work.

A word about a good cause

All of the big retailers claim they are cutting down on waste and packaging. Some smaller organisations are going further and let you collect groceries and other basic goods in your own jars, bottles, bags and containers. My wife has tracked down a few locally and you might be able to find alternatives near you9.


  1. A reference to last week’s note

  2. LocalGov Digital. Not to be confused with Local Digital

  3. The are some private sector members but there is a screening process so that they are people who are there to help the community and not just to make their sales quota. I used to be one of the private sector volunteers. 

  4. Agile alliance introduction to planning poker 

  5. Team Bumblee is a part-time Scrum team overseeing the agile transformation in the Cornwall Council IS department 

  6. So what exactly is a sprint blog post 

  7. Amazon S3 Websites and Jekyll blog framework 

  8. Agile in the Ether 

  9. UPDATE: These are generally small businesses which will need support during the crisis and some are better stocked than the big brand supermarkets right now. 

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