https://dfedigital.blog.gov.uk/2018/12/18/where-to-start-if-you-want-to-start-blogging/

Where to start if you want to start blogging

Sticky note reading "To Do - Learn To Blog"

I’m responsible for making sure all our major projects are set up for successful delivery. This includes a whole range of things, like:

  • building and refurbishing schools
  • running big procurement exercises and managing contracts
  • introducing new qualifications
  • reforming children’s social care
  • setting up new regulators and arm’s length bodies
  • building and running new digital services

As part of this work, I’d really like to help and encourage people working on major projects to work more openly, blogging about what they’re working on and what they’re learning.

This is important because it helps us connect with other people who are working on similar challenges, builds trust and confidence in the work we’re doing and generally makes things better.

This isn’t something that our organisation is used to doing, yet, outside of the world of digital service design and delivery. For people new to this way of working who are getting ready to take the plunge, it’s helpful to see how others do it.

So last week I asked the community on Twitter for tips on where to look for guidance and inspiration if you’re a civil servant who is new to blogging. This is what they said (along with a cheeky few of my own favourites).

Big thanks to everyone who gave their tips. Please add comments to this post if you have more to share.

Guidance

Giles Turnbull wrote a great guide to blogging over on the Defra Digital blog. It’s badged as advice for agile teams but pretty much everything here can be applied more widely.

18F, the US Government digital team, have produced a handbook on blogging - again it’s aimed at digital teams but it’s guidance anyone could follow. The team's blog is active and interesting so well worth a look, too.

Blogs and bloggers to read and follow

National government, Parliament and arm's length bodies:

Individual public sector bloggers:

Local government:

Canada, Australia and New Zealand:

  • John Kenney, a Canadian public servant who blogs on his own personal blog about innovation and public service transformation in Canada
  • Also in Canada, the Canadian Digital Service blog
  • Pia Waugh’s blog about her user-centred design work in New Zealand and more recently in New South Wales, Australia

Weeknotes

Screenshot of weeknotes site reading "Web of Weeknotes, that was the week that was" with links to weeknotes

There’s a community of people who write weekly blogposts about what they’ve been up to and what they’ve learned, helpfully collated at https://weeknot.es/ I particularly like Cate McLaurin’s regular, thoughtful and lovely posts, like this recent post.

They’re also a lovely bunch, so if you wanted to get in touch with any of them to ask for tips I wouldn’t hesitate. I’ve seen pretty much every single one of them be open and generous in response to questions and pleas for help at one time or another.

It’s pretty inspiring looking at all these blogs and bloggers together. I can’t wait for more of my lovely DfE colleagues to get stuck in.

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