Ministry of Justice
Tripods: Building a Connected Delivery Profession
This blog explores the transformative impact of 'Tripods', a novel approach that connects Delivery Managers from other government departments. They meet regularly to share experiences and support each other. It’s a small idea that’s had a big impact on the culture of some of the largest departments in government.
The Birth of Tripods
I was invited to speak at a DWP delivery management away day. During the day, I had an idea and approached their Head of Role, Barry Traish.
How might we…
- Connect across government for the benefit of individuals and our departments?
- Help people grow their networks?
- Share ideas, good practice & lessons learnt across government?
- Create a safe space for people to challenge, grow & learn?
- Increase a sense of belonging & job satisfaction?
Barry & I met up to discuss how we could join our communities together. The initial idea was to create micro-networks of 3 people. We came up with the following definition of what Tripods are;
- A peer group of 3 people – Helping to avoid power dynamics or deferring to the most senior person. It also means if someone cancels last minute, 2 people can still meet
- Meet regularly to discuss challenges, share experiences, ask questions & support each other
- Share a common profession (delivery)
- From X-Gov
- At different stages of their career journey
- Mutually supportive – All members give & receive support – It’s not a 1-sided conversation
- It’s not formal mentoring / coaching
We started small & launched our pilot with 3 departments; MoJ, DWP & OFSTED. We matched 111 people into 37 Tripods.
Lessons Learnt & Tips for Success
The value that people gain from being in a Tripod is directly related to the amount of effort that the whole Tripod puts into it. Once people are able to experience the value of being part of a small, supportive network for themselves, the benefits start to be realised. We created a few tips for success;
- Just do it! – Contact people immediately do not put it off
- Rinse & repeat – Find a repeatable slot that works and set up an invite - Easy!
- Keep an open mind – You may be matched with people who work in very different or very similar roles. Everyone has something to contribute & to gain from being matched together, it's up to you to find out what that is
- The train keeps rolling – We created Tripods so even if only 2 people can attend, conversations still happen. Don't let a last-minute cancellation throw you off course, the third person can pick up again with you next time
- Give structure & purpose – A simple shared document can capture ideas for future topics. Use techniques like Lean Coffee or ‘Manual of Me’ to give structure to your time
- Balance your triangle – Create space for equal voice, for everyone to give & receive.
Expanding & Sustaining the Initiative
Following a successful pilot we were able to extend the scheme out to Government Digital Service (GDS), Home Office, Health & Safety Executive (HSE), Department for Education (DfE), Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) & Department for Levelling Up, Housing & Communities (DLUHC).
We aim to inspire others by sharing our approach and successes. We encourage readers to consider implementing a similar initiative into your organisations and invite you to reach out to let us know how you get on.
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