Software Craftsmanship is at the Heart of UK Govcamp Unconference

Not many events can attest to having the heritage that Govcamp has. This community-organised unconference has been going on for a staggering 17 years and this was the biggest since covid. There were delegates representing the full spectrum of public services from justice, to local and central government, from large departments to smaller agencies. What was telling was that the private sector formed a key part of the community. Contractors were equally as dedicated as their counterparts within the civil service to the modernisation and rationalisation of the broader sector approach to digital. 

As a sponsor of the event, Codurance was there not only to gain a deeper understanding of what was important to this community of professionals driving service improvement, but also to speak about our broader support for sector-agnostic professional communities through software craftsmanship. 

As a global consultancy founded on the Software Craftsmanship Manifesto principles, Codurance promotes the values of productive partnerships, well-crafted software, steadily adding value and a community of professionals - all characteristics that were in abundance at the Govcamp event; thus we were keen to share our approach and successes enjoyed in the private sector for the benefit of the assembled UK public sector tech community.

There were a few sessions which we particularly enjoyed. The Horizon scandal and Mike Bracken’s article released the day before represented shared exasperation at the kafkaesque repetition of such failed IT projects. There were lots of corridor ruminations about this but one of the sessions which was a constructive push for client and provider alike was titled Quick Wins for Contractors to leave things better than when they joined 

This aligns well with Codurance’s learning & development services including Katalyst by Codurance where we support clients to not only deliver modernised software but also to transform their ways of working and embed a culture of innovation and continuous learning throughout the organisation. 

Another session which resonated with us was the provocative “Is discover- alpha - beta dead?”, this is a discussion which drew strong parallels to the product discovery and blended teams discussion panel we’d hosted before Christmas featuring industry experts from the public and private sector.

Another session which struck a chord with us was “Sustainability in Government Services. Beyond compute power, teasing out what ‘sustainability’ means for technology professionals is a cryptic discussion but one which is essential. We’ve long spoken about sustainable practices in engineering both from optimising software to deliver sustainable change to aligning to Sustainable best practices within the AWS well-architected cloud. 

The Govcamp unconference was an excellent opportunity for the private and public sector sector tech communities to share challenges and come up with new ideas to solve society’s most pressing issues to deliver modern, sustainable digital solutions   - we’re excited to be part of the solution.