Working within Digital Transformation
We took the opportunity to talk to Matthew Jukes, Product Manager at mySociety ahead of his session at this year’s drupalcamp Bristol. Matthew has been working within Product Management and Digital Transformation since 2008. We asked him about his impressive career to date and learnt more about what his drupalcamp Bristol session will be about…
ADLIB: In a nutshell, what has been your career journey so far leading you to where you are right now?
Matthew Jukes: Oh god. I’ve been working in some kind of web related job since 1998 so almost 20 years. I was actually planning to be a Librarian after uni but while working at UWE in their library I found myself looking after some of their really early web pages and training students in things like using search engines and decided that was more fun than cataloguing books :).
Pretty much my entire career has been in public service of one kind or another – I’ve had all sorts of titles – intranet manager, web editor, programme manager, Head of e-Communications, Head of Digital Content, social media manager, Head of Product and these days Product Manager – though I seem to do less actual product management than any point of my career.
ADLIB: You’ve worked as part of “Digital Transformation” teams – can you share some tips for approaches on how to build a compelling case to get internal buy in to putting ‘digital first’?
Matthew Jukes: My only real advice is this: never waste a good crisis. Internal politics are always a minefield and digital is always a tough case to make – there is often this misconception that ‘digital’ is a magic wand that will fix everything for no spend! Unfortunately this is not the case and getting the right kind of people is not cheap.
The biggest successes I’ve been associated with were off the back of major failures of other projects. Crisis create opportunities and open doors – you just have to move fast to wedge those doors open for long enough to make things happen.
ADLIB: In an attempt to gather some of the wisdom you’ve gained as a professional so far, what are some key things you could share with those currently working within Digital Transformation/ Product Management and the next gen of talent?
Matthew Jukes: When I’m recruiting for product people I’m usually looking for more intangibles than I am particular qualifications or experiences. I particularly want to see evidence of a broad curiosity and interest in the whole digital workplace – things like knowing about user research, service design and agile are obvious to some extent but being able to follow the conversation when it turns to deployments or site performance is a real bonus. Product people should know just enough to be dangerous on a whole range of topics – they are the definition of T-shaped people.
Oh and if you can’t code? Learn. I never learned enough and it is the thing I regret most. Just being able to think in code and just build rough prototypes is endlessly useful.
ADLIB: Can you share what your session at drupalcamp will be about?
Matthew Jukes: My talk is mainly about the failure of ‘civic tech’ and ‘tech for good’ initiatives to actually help the people that need them most and how it is too easy to build products and services for ourselves.
Thank you Matthew for sharing.
drupalcamp Bristol 2017, the largest gathering of Drupal experts in the Southwest is on from 30th June to 2nd July 2017. Tickets and more info are available via the event website.