Photo credit: Higgott

Not for the first time, I find myself working on a project which feels like it could be ended at any moment if one of the various people involved were to get nervous and pull the plug. It’s given rise to what my colleague described today as my ‘egg-and-spoon race theory’ of digital engagement:

Creative use of digital is a fragile thing: untried technical innovations are easily broken, often cobbled together, and at constant risk of being crushed when put under pressure (like Twitter c.2008; doesn’t mean it can’t be sorted out in time if it proves to be worthwhile).

Quite a few of us in the race are ‘amateurs’ (though we’re practising secretly): the nice thing about amateurs is they are generally good-humoured, supportive, open and willing to learn. But it means that we often simply don’t know if idea X or Y is going to work. Time will tell.

You have to watch the egg AND the finish line: another colleague of mine challenges me to decide whether I’m a strategist or a delivery person. The fact is, I still think you need to be a bit of both, able to watch the egg like a hawk and keep it stuck on the spoon, and make sure you’re aiming in the right direction.

Getting there takes space, steadiness … and a fair bit of speed: it’s important to have a bit of elbow-room to experiment and freedom to find out how others are doing it; it’s vital to keep on trying and give pilots and experiments a chance; and being able to respond rapidly to opportunities and requests makes a big difference.

Get it wrong, and you’ll end up in the sack race. Only kidding.

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I agree there is a problem with the perception that you’re either strategist or delivery in the Civil Service. It’s certainly holding back my career at the moment as the next rung up would seem to involve sacrificing the delivery side, which I enjoy so much.

I hope that DirDigEng et al can start to change that.

Nice post. I wanted to find something funny to say about ‘strategist or delivery person’. Couldn’t find anything 😐 However you’re currently number 2 in Google SERPS for that term 😛

Agile Product Owner role faces the same issue, you’re required to own both product strategy and the intimate details. Because if you don’t…#fail.