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This blog post was published under the 2015-2024 Conservative Administration

Tripods: Building a Connected Delivery Profession

Posted by: , Posted on: - Categories: delivery profession, Our services

Introducing Tripods

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?

Defining Tripods

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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