Last week, I wrote about how we worked out our tech strategy for FT.com. In this post I talk about the strategy itself: No next Next. And also about the Sugababes.
When you are launching a new product to replace an existing one, it’s easy to rally behind the mission and make the right technical decisions that will get you over the line. But after the launch, it’s very common for things to lose focus: the vision is no longer so clear, corners you cut to get the product live come back to bite, and the tech can start to feel like it’s drifting off track.
After you launch a new product and no longer have the launch to work towards, it’s very easy for things to drift off track. This is the difficult teenage years.
Last year, I met the excellent Russell Davies to ask his advice on how to create a strategy. Russell was the Director of Strategy at the Government Digital Service while I was there. He and the internal comms team did an amazing job of making sure we were all aware of what we were doing and why.
I’m the Technical Director of Customer Products at the Financial Times. In Customer Products, we run FT.com and the FT apps (as well as some other products, like Alphaville), and we have about 55 engineers.
A while ago, the excellent Russell Davies gave me a copy of Good Strategy, Bad Strategy. He said it was the best book he’d read on the topic, and I found it extremely useful. Here are some of my notes, but I recommend reading it.
This is the first role I’ve had managing a large budget and I recently had some excellent training from my finance director colleague Isabelle Campbell. Here are my notes.
Building relationships with vendors is an important part of my role as Tech Director and when I joined the Financial Times, the excellent Rob Shilston gave me his five top top tips on how to make the most of those meetings. He has kindly agreed to share them here.
Last April, I joined the Financial Times as Technical Director for FT.com. This has been a brilliant move. The job search was different from any of my previous job searches, as it involved an explicit step into technical leadership, and here I share how I did it and some things I learned.
When I joined the Government Digital Service in April 2012, GOV.UK was just going into public beta. GDS was a completely new organisation, part of the Cabinet Office, with a mission to stop wasting government money on over-complicated and underperforming big IT projects and instead deliver simple, useful services for the public.