https://dfedigital.blog.gov.uk/2019/02/20/delivery-book/

The delivery book - a book to help teams deliver

The delivery book being held up

Most people in government have to deliver policy, products or services as part of their job. And whatever they're delivering, people face similar problems.

Over the last 6 months, my job was to understand what help people in the Department for Education (DfE) needed in order to deliver things.

Their answer was quite simple: they wanted practical help. Advice on how to do things.

They needed to make sure that they are tackling the right problem, that they better understand the scope at the start, and that they have the right research early on. They need to get answers fast. People were really clear that they wanted help to invest in the skills of their team. They said, “Advise and support me, but don’t do it for me.”

I spent weeks writing that guidance, and at the end found myself facing a new problem: how to share it with the thousands of people and dozens of teams working around DfE, in London and Manchester and elsewhere.

So I made it into a book, so I could literally hand copies of it to people.

Practical and dip-in-and-outable

It's not a publishing masterpiece. I used an online print-on-demand service to turn the documents I'd already written into a simple spiral-bound book. (The binding makes it easier to leave the book open to refer to, while you're doing something else.)

The Delivery Book is divided into 3 sections:

  • Define the problem
  • Establish your project
  • Understand users

Each section is split into short chapters on specific topics (for example: 'Identify your assumptions' or 'Set out the benefit').

Each chapter follows the same format: What the topic or work is, when to do it, and how to do it. The how-to section is usually the longest and most detailed. Every chapter includes a suggested practical activity, with instructions for participants.

At the end of each chapter there are some tips and next steps.

Writing to this format makes the whole thing more dip-in-and-outable, which is the whole point. I do not expect most people to read the whole thing cover-to-cover, but rather to keep it handy and refer to it when they get stuck on specific issues.

The Delivery book is open showing the start of a new chapter - Building on existing evidence

Cheap, easy, iterative

As books go, it's basic.

But it does the job, and the reaction so far from teams I've given it to has been very positive. One person who’d tried some of the practical activities said their whole team benefited: “It's informed our conversations and helped us make a list of things to do next.”

Throughout the book, at the end of every chapter, there's a call for feedback to help make the next iteration better. So far we've been through 2 versions. As more feedback comes in, I'll make more changes. Just because it's printed on paper, that does not stop us iterating.

That's one of the good things about using an online print-on-demand service. We can do small print runs of each version at very low cost. They're printed and delivered in days.

I'm still at the sharing and feedback-gathering stage at the moment, but I expect to print a new iteration of the book in the summer. After that, if there's any interest, we shall look at making it available for everyone. And we may publish the book online in the future too.

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29 comments

  1. Comment by Lloyd Dickens posted on

    I would be interested in a copy of the delivery book but the email link does not work:

    UserCenteredDesignLab@educationgovuk.onmicrosoft.com

    Reply
  2. Comment by julie posted on

    The 'send us an email' link doesn't seem to work - I got a bounce back. Would love a copy of an actual book!

    Reply
  3. Comment by Bhavini Desai posted on

    Hi, I'd be interested in getting a copy of the Delivery Book. Thanks!

    Reply
  4. Comment by Sean posted on

    Looks great - would be very interested in etting hold of a copy! Thank you

    Reply
    • Replies to Sean>

      Comment by Nettie Williams posted on

      Hello Sean - thanks for your interest. We'll be publishing more at some point once we've iterated the current version. We'll update people here on our blog and via Twitter @DfEDigital

      Reply
  5. Comment by Victoria posted on

    Hi - is there a way I could get a copy of the book? Thanks

    Reply
    • Replies to Victoria>

      Comment by Nettie Williams posted on

      Hello Victoria - thanks for your interest. We'll be publishing more at some point once we've iterated the current version. We'll update people here on our blog and via Twitter @DfEDigital

      Reply
  6. Comment by Nick posted on

    Would also love to see a copy of this please!

    Reply
    • Replies to Nick>

      Comment by Nettie Williams posted on

      Hey Nick - we'll be publishing more books at some point once we've iterated the current version. We'll update people here on our blog and via Twitter @DfEDigital

      Reply
  7. Comment by Chris Burne posted on

    Is the content available electronically? If not could I have a copy of the book please. I am regularly in London and Coventry. Thanks

    Reply
    • Replies to Chris Burne>

      Comment by Nettie Williams posted on

      Hello Chris - we're iterating the book and will publish more at some point soon, and there's likely to be an online version. We'll update people here on our blog and via Twitter @DfEDigital

      Reply
  8. Comment by Jim Haywood posted on

    Hi Andrew

    Please let me know how I can go about obtaining a copy of the book.

    Reply
    • Replies to Jim Haywood>

      Comment by Nettie Williams posted on

      Hello Jim - we're iterating the book and will publish more at some point soon, we may do an online version too. We'll update people here on our blog and via Twitter @DfEDigital

      Reply
  9. Comment by bill campbell posted on

    I'm working in a similar space and would be interested in seeing the Delivery Book content. Is it available now?
    Thanks.

    Reply
    • Replies to bill campbell>

      Comment by Nettie Williams posted on

      Hello Bill - we're iterating the current version of the book and will publish more at some point. We may do an online version too. We'll update people here on our blog and via Twitter @DfEDigital

      Reply
  10. Comment by Jon posted on

    It sounds exactly what I'm looking for, from another Government Department. I'd appreciate access too.

    Thanks

    Reply
    • Replies to Jon>

      Comment by Nettie Williams posted on

      Hello Jon - we're iterating the current version of the book and will publish more at some point. We may do an online version too. We'll update people here on our blog and via Twitter @DfEDigital

      Reply
  11. Comment by Debbie Dempsey posted on

    Hi, I would be interested in getting a copy of this book if possible? Thanks

    Reply
    • Replies to Debbie Dempsey>

      Comment by Nettie Williams posted on

      Hello Debbie - thanks for your interest. We're iterating the current version of the book and will publish more at some point. We may do an online version too. We'll update people here on our blog and via Twitter @DfEDigital

      Reply
  12. Comment by Sheraz Yaqub posted on

    Interested in receiving this book, can you provide me with information on how?

    Reply
    • Replies to Sheraz Yaqub>

      Comment by Nettie Williams posted on

      Hello Sheraz - we're iterating the current version of the book and will publish more at some point. We may do an online version too. We'll update people here on our blog and via Twitter @DfEDigital

      Reply
  13. Comment by Dawn posted on

    Hello, I 100% would like a copy of the Delivery Book.

    Can someone in the team email me please?

    Thanks

    Reply
    • Replies to Dawn>

      Comment by Nettie Williams posted on

      Hello there Dawn - we're iterating the current version of the book and will publish more at some point. We may do an online version too. We'll update people here on our blog and via Twitter @DfEDigital

      Reply
  14. Comment by Katie Driver posted on

    Hi, this sounds great - well done for taking the initiative and producing something that sounds really useful. Any chance of getting a copy please?

    Reply
    • Replies to Katie Driver>

      Comment by Nettie Williams posted on

      Hello Katie - thanks for your comment. We're iterating the current version of the book and will publish more at some point. We may do an online version too. We'll update people here on our blog and via Twitter @DfEDigital

      Reply
  15. Comment by Mark posted on

    Hi, I’d like to get hold of a copy too pls! Thanks

    Reply
    • Replies to Mark>

      Comment by Nettie Williams posted on

      Hello Mark - thanks for your comment. We've had a lot of interest. We're iterating the current version of the book and will publish more at some point. We may do an online version too. We'll update people here on our blog and via Twitter @DfEDigital

      Reply

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