Hi. I'm Mat.

home / about / archive / inspirations / contact

On pronouns

[I wrote this in March 2014 and posted it to Diversity, LGBTQI. It takes about 2 minutes to read.]

There are some cool things going on at ThoughtWorks right now in the LGBTQI space, both here in Europe and in the US. We’re amazingly fortunate to have had separate groups of people start to push for the same things at the same time, and on Friday last week we got our heads together to talk for the first time.

In that meeting something fabulous happened, and selfishly, this post is all about me. Something fabulous happened to me, and it’s this. At the start of the meeting, during the introductions, someone asked me, “Which pronouns do you use?

I’ll be honest, I’ve never been asked that question before. To my various language teachers’ disgust, my first thought was, QUICK! Remember what a pronoun is! What are the options?, swiftly followed by the response that I use he and him (and variations thereon) day to day.

The meeting was great, and that question stuck with me in my mind for literally days afterwards. It made me think about a lot of things. I thought about how little I’ve been involved with the trans community before, how little thought I’ve given generally to considering gender, and how that one little question actually exhibits how considerate and respectful the person who asked it was.

read more »

Chocolate Experiment 6: Caramel

[I wrote this in March 2014 and posted it to Food, Project Management, Testing. It takes about 1 minute to read.]

Leena is ill/skiving this week, so it is my duty to blog the project chocolate experiment for this week. The theme was caramel, and the competition was fierce.

A few notes before I share the winners and photos, folks

read more »

My Wall vs Your Wall

[I wrote this in February 2014 and posted it to Agile, Methodology, Observations, Project Management. It takes about 2 minutes to read.]

All hail the story wall!

On agile project teams the use of a story wall is ubiquitous. It’s an asset that shows all of the stories (requirements, pieces of work) in play, and their status. It’s a physical wall (often with a virtual counterpart) designed to be an information radiator.

Nobody owns the wall, everybody can contribute to it. That’s the theory, at least.

On many projects the PM and BA are the main consumers of the wall. Their day to day life revolves around it. This leads to the impression that they, in fact, own the wall and an odd culture of taking permission to make changes emerges. I don’t really like it.

read more »

Robots with soul

[I wrote this in February 2014 and posted it to TED. It takes about 0 minutes Less than a minute to read.]

read more »

Assisted Digital: Learning from the Financial Services sector

[I wrote this in February 2014 and posted it to Observations, Strategy. It takes about 3 minutes to read.]

This post is a bit of a brain-dump. Bear with me.

Assisted Digital is an interesting ‘phenomenon’ for me, coming to government work from years working in the financial services industry, and specifically retail banking.

What’s Assisted Digital?

‘Assisted Digital’ is, at a high level, enabling people to use digital services where they would otherwise be unable to do so. A good example is my grandad, who would struggle to complete digital forms alone. With assistance from me, the government department, or a third party (eg. Citizens Advice Bureau), he would be successful. This idea forms the basis of the AD strategy, and if you’d like to know more you should click the link at the start of this post.

The Problem

In retail banking, I can encourage users to use a digital channel very easily and can get a large take-up by doing that. I am also safe in the knowledge that, for the most part, I have a branch network of customer service and sales professionals to fall back on. If my customer doesn’t have a PC/tablet/mobile they can visit the branch and service their accounts or buy products that way. This is an ‘assisted digital’ model where the company has a network that can facilitate that kind of interaction.

read more »