A little thing happened today …. I say it is a little thing but to me and my colleagues at Boots it is actually quite a big thing.

Today we launched the new www.boots.com homepage and our new CMS Adobe Experience Manager (AEM).

In the grand scheme of things this might not seem like much — websites go live everyday with varying degrees of fanfare but this particular release is a big thing for us and has been the all encompassing focus of my team for the last 12 months.

When I joined Boots there was a big ambition. The…

Countless books have talked about why organisations need to adopt an agile way of working; the promise of delivering value faster and ensuring that the customer ultimately gets what they want because they can change their mind and reprioritise requirements is an alluring prospect.

Unfortunately introducing an Agile way of working within an agency often results in unmet expectations and a feeling that Agile didn’t deliver everything that was promised.

Let us explore a typical “Agile Project” within an Agency.

Meet Chris (the sales person). Chris is really pleased that he has a lead from a new company and feels…

Over Christmas I’ve been reading a fascinating book called The Chimp Paradox by Professor Steve Peters. The book introduces the concept that we all have two brains:

You (The Human) — this brain is responsible for intelligent, rationale and logical thought.

The Chimp — this brain is completely independent of you and not under your control. This brain thinks emotionally and is led by feelings and impressions.

The book argues that throughout life our two brains battle continuously in response to situations. The stronger Chimp brain often wins, particularly in the moment as You, the human brain takes time to…

Someone asked me today why I put my pronouns in my e-mail signature and what it means.

As a cisgender man (a person whose gender is in alignment with the sex they were assigned at birth) there is little to no risk in sharing my pronouns. When you’ve never questioned what pronouns people use for you, or even thought about the idea of pronouns, sharing your pronouns is easy and costs you nothing. For a person who is transgender or nonbinary, sharing pronouns can be incredibly daunting and create huge barriers for the individual particularly in the workplace.

By sharing…

On a daily basis our organisation makes choices about what features can be released and what features are not yet ready to be put into the wild — sometimes this means that we allow functionality to go into production with known bugs and occasionally defects enter production without being noticed.

I strongly believe that we have a duty of care to our customers to make sure that our software is fit for purpose and to ensure that our software does not have any negative impact on our customers lives. …

Take a moment and think of a famous inventor or scientist? First name that pops into your head is absolutely fine.

When you have thought of someone click here — be honest was this the person you thought of? If it wasn’t what gender was the person you thought of? I would be willing to gamble that the majority of people reading this article thought of a man.

To prove my theory if you have got this far take a moment and vote here to tell everyone who you thought of — please be honest so as not to invalidate the vote.

Assuming i’m right — your reaction to this question is not unexpected — take a look at this article…

Have you ever heard the phrase “Too Many Cooks Spoil The Broth”?

Achieving the deadline is a challenge that every delivery director grapples with on a daily basis. Meeting stakeholder expectations is absolutely critical if a delivery organisation wants to maintain credibility.

When the business objective necessitates that the delivery deadline is brought forward or that business value must be achieved more quickly; conventional wisdom would suggest that the best way to do this is to get more people working on the problem. If it takes one person seven days to complete a task that seven people must be able to do the same task in one day.

A recent case study

In my organisation we…

Agile is a term which has become synonymous with Software Development. For those of us who work in Engineering organisations the term conjures up ideas of Sprints, Burn-down, Iterative Delivery Cycles and Retrospectives.

The term itself has a very different meaning:

agile — an adjective: able to move quickly and easily.

Recently within my organisation we have been embarking on an agile transformation journey. The Executive team continually refer to the need “to be agile”.

This direct instruction has, at least within IT, been interpreted as a direct instruction to adopt an Agile Software Development methodology and change our ways…

I was recently given the pleasure of having a tour of the FaceBook Campus in Menlo Park, California.

There are many stories of how amazing Facebook is and it didn’t disappoint. The campus is very much focussed around people. Some examples:

  • There is as much food as you will ever be able to eat and all food is free. There is also a candy and ice cream shop that serves up free desert.
  • They have a retro gaming room
  • There is a bike stop that will repair your bike if you have cycled to work
  • One of the buildings has…

Organisations are embracing agile delivery models at an unbelievable rate; a huge range of methodologies are being adopted in order to allow large corporations to make sense of doing things in a new and unfamiliar way.

All to often we see agile being interpreted as an “IT Thing”; as a result other parts of the organisation feel that they don’t need to adapt or change which introduces huge practical challenges in changing the culture.

Within my own organisation one of the biggest challenges we have faced is that stakeholders struggle with the concept of not being given a specific date…

Steve Westgarth

Steve 🏳️‍🌈 is the Engineering Manager at Boots UK focussing primarily on digital platforms including Boots.com #TechAtBoots.

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