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Delivery at Improbable

9 July 2019

Improbable’s delivery management team is responsible for ensuring our product has regular, timely releases. Martin Petherick talks us through what that involves.

Martin Petherick previously worked as a Senior Project Manager at the BBC. 

It’s my 32nd day at Improbable and I’ve been asked to write an honest blog about coming into the delivery function here. So, now that I’m over the chaos of starting a new job, here are my thoughts as the new Delivery Manager for the Marketing and BizDev divisions.

Honest recruitment

Improbable is still a start-up, and with that comes the workings and operations of an expanding business. The team here focuses on the values and experience they want in a delivery manager during the recruitment process rather than on the detail of your day-to-day role. 

After being here a month, this makes total sense. There is a lot to do and Improbable empowers you to focus on what you think the business needs to reach its goals. That basically means you can use your experience and knowledge to implement new workings in the business as you see fit - you’re not confined to someone telling you what to do. 

The delivery role

As expected the role is varied and thought-provoking. Improbable is creating technology that has never been seen before, and that means putting in new teams and processes in place to accommodate and allow for innovation here.

Day to day you are working with world-class teams to put in scaled, agile frameworks to help with planning, communication, process and delivery. I haven’t had a day which is the same yet, working on projects across multiple divisions ranging from a new product offering to management of documentation. 

As the business is still growing and learning how to operate, it means you can get things done quickly and start to see benefits immediately. This is something that I really wanted in my new role and is very refreshing to see.

Part of the delivery manager role is to improve current processes and make things more efficient and robust. I was particularly impressed with how set-up the Delivery team is in terms of measuring and reporting on their work. For example, our data dashboard tracks small tasks all the way through to large organisation initiative work, and from there to our strategy, without burdening teams with additional processes.

As well as these dashboards, the delivery teams work on scripts that automate some of our reporting functions and quality controls, something which I am adding to as well. Doing both of these things not only eases pressure with the more mundane tasks of delivery management but also means we can spend more time focussing on our quality product and the bigger alignment initiatives.

The delivery team meets daily.

In delivery, we try to avoid the danger of becoming a siloed business or siloing amongst delivery teams. So far it's working, in my opinion. Honestly, it’s one of the most joined-up delivery teams I’ve ever been involved with. You can bounce ideas off each other, get honest smart feedback and get recognition for good work. You also get a better understanding of each division of the business and, with this knowledge, you can really help drive the business forward. Not everything is perfect but you can make your voice heard to offer improvement.

Culture

No doubt, there is world-class talent here all across the company. I’ve learnt loads after being here for four weeks, and it’s exciting to be a part of it. People here are always trying to improve and will also go out of their way to help you if needed. I’ve been brought in to help the commercial division better align on priorities and since being here my colleagues have listened to my recommendations and have started to implement new ways of working. 

Who knows if it will work? I don’t, but one of Improbable’s core values is “Action over Fear” and we’ll keep refining it until we find something that’s right for us.

Overall

As I mentioned at the start, I’ve come through the chaos of starting a new job now and I can see myself at Improbable for many years to come. 

The great thing I can already see about working here, in the current stage of the business, is that you have the ability to make a real impact here. Delivery managers at Improbable are so much more than process or JIRA. We are here to offer support, empower people, fill the gaps when needed and constantly improve the machine. 

If this sounds like your thing then get in touch for a chat and I’ll tell you more. You won’t regret it.