An ordinary week

The Boots Technology Awards

As an IT function colleagues from Boots Technology have not all been together in one place since March 2020. This week saw us host the inaugural Boots Technology Awards where the entire function came together in the same physical location to celebrate our success over the last year.

IT Leadership Team Away Day

Another first since the start of the pandemic; our ITLT team held an away day which focussed on our collective need to show up together and all pull in the same consistent direction.

PI Planning

This week also saw our quarterly Programme Increment planning event. Boots has had a difficult journey as the organisations learns to adapt and to become the agile product centric organisation that we need to be. Some people argue that aligning to the Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe) is itself a very anti agile construct and in some contexts I’m inclined to agree. At Boots however the framework is giving us a structure that allows us to adapt our processes and to embrace the essence of what agility means — to release value early, to focus on our customer and to continually improve.

We have created a renewed focus on the development of our teams with every team member having access to SAFe training; also the introduction of coding Dojo’s for our Engineers.

We have restructured the agile release train enabling us to simplify solution delivery, reducing the number of dependencies between teams and increasing predictability.

We have focussed on the development of KPIs and metrics to measure success and identify opportunities to inspect and adapt.

Our Engineering team have visited a Boots store to connect closer to our customers and colleagues and get a better understanding of the problems and issues that we have the power to rectify.

We have laid a foundation which will enable us to transform our test and platform engineering approach which will enable us to truly embrace and enact the DevOps culture that we want to embed within the organisation.

Looking back at the event in June and comparing it to the event in September is like comparing chalk and cheese — our teams have improved so much and it’s amazing to see their hard work and dedication really pay off with great confidence being reported at the end of the day.

17 New Roles Signed off for Recruitment within Boots Technology

As a technology function we are not unique in that we are recruiting. What is special though is the backdrop to which these roles have been created.

A New Recruit

This week also saw a new person join our Engineering team. As a leader I find it fascinating to understand what inspires people to choose to work for an organisation and to want to work for my (or any) team.

Thank you to all the Teams that I work with at Boots and for giving me the opportunity to call myself a leader.

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Steve Westgarth

Steve Westgarth

Steve 🏳️‍🌈 is the Global Head of Engineering at GSK Consumer Healthcare where he heads up the Software Engineering function.