A year ago the two disparate University web teams were brought together to form Web Services. Seven months ago I joined as the new Head and today we all work together in one office in the south of the University campus. Except we don't. Work together that is.
We have a broad remit. A wide range of skills and each of us has our own projects and priorities. Since I joined in January we haven't worked on one project collectively as we've each been pulled in different directions.
So last month I announced "Get Creative". A week long project to work on as a team. A project that we would decide, scope and deliver together.
The aim being to break away from the norm, to establish new ways in which we could work together and to create something cool.
Inspired by Carsonified's Matt Week I asked the team to pitch ideas that would meet some loose criteria:
Ideally I'd like us to come up with something which uses Government data that would be useful on our website - although I am open to ideas.
Last week six of us put forward ten pitches for consideration. These were a mix of mash-ups and completely new apps and we each voted for our top three.
The winning pitch was related to statistics. It involved providing our departments with bespoke views for their own website stats. The idea was to use single sign-on and to pull out bespoke reports and graphs from our data held in Google Analytics.
We all acknowledged it would be useful. We accepted it was do-able however on investigation it raised a number of issues relating to our choice of stats package and made us question whether what we had was good enough. The conclusion is maybe not.
So whilst we've agreed we should pursue this (and infact we've made some decisions relating to this already) we felt we needed to go back to the drawing board for "Get Creative".
After more discussion it became apparent that a democratic approach to deciding a project would not work. As the Manager I had my own views on what I wanted to achieve (in terms of teamwork) and I wanted to ensure we didn't end up doing something the way we always did.
So I made a decision based on the original pitches.
Tomorrow we meet to flesh this out. We have one hour to develop our scope and then we will be making an announcement.
Some lessons learnt already. Many more to uncover...
"Get Creative" begins on the 18th August.
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