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Great things

I’ve had some really good times in my career and accomplished some things that I do think qualify as “great” – they were certainly hard.

I seem to have rolled out a new Customer Relationship Management system every year since 2018. First 6,000 users on Salesforce, then 34,000 users on Sugar on Cloud at the beginning of 2020 (we did that in six months) and this year (2021), we’ve just rolled out Salesforce again to our Canadian sellers with plans to roll out the rest of the world in the next two. That last deployment involved going from a standing start with a team that hadn’t used Salesforce six months ago, training them up and getting it deployed using the best engineering on Lightning DX that Salesforce offers.

I’ve loved being part of the Agile journey my team has been on. It’s been a real privilege to work on the culture of our group and change the ways of working. We have a very special programme that we call “Brilliant at the Basics” that takes our teams from beginner to expert in 15 agile and engineering practices. The best part of this programme was that most of the content was sourced from the teams themselves – everyone was teaching everyone else. And the scoring is a mixture of self-scoring and peer review. We’ve been using and refining this programme over the past two years now. We even started a meet-up club to share our experience.

One of the scariest things I did when I took over the Sales and Marketing Systems function n 2016 was to replace the entire leadership team in the first 90 days. I brought in people to lead that would take the teams in the right direction: towards agile delivery and engineering excellence. We were all very green and none of us had managed a function of 2,000 people before. We learned a lot in a very short space of time – it was cramped and uncomfortable that learning experience but such a great way to build commitment and drive change.

Speaking of doing things at double quick speed, there was the time we rewrote the entire financial consolidation system in three months. We’d inherited a system that couldn’t do the processing in the time necessary to report to HQ. We saw nothing for it but to rewrite the system in its entirety. The system used to take 20 hours to do the aggregation, when we’d finished with it, it took 20 minutes. That was satisfying.

I loved volunteering with Victim Support. It was my lifeline during the years when I was working from home. There was a lovely neighbourhood office that I used to go to three mornings a week. I loved being part of that small team and doing something to help people who’d been victims of crime. I eventually got involved in the charity’s running – I didn’t enjoy that as much as just hanging out in the community office.