The fallen talk of warriors of great size. That cut you down with words as sharp as blades.

The heroes talk of Oracles. With words of wisdom and direction. Of clarity, not riddles tangled in knots.

The reality is somewhere less mythical – if not a touch grand and historical.

You may be wondering what nonsense I am feeding you with this post? Simply put, yesterday I went through a GDS Assessment, and I think we survived.

Often the wording around a GDS Assessment is quite loaded. You have to go to them. They get to challenge what you have done. They and only they will let you move on to the next phase. A lot hinges on how things land in the room on that day. Or often, more importantly, how they don’t land.

Having been at the furness – a non-air conditioned room in The Treasury (1 Horseguards Road or Government Offices Great George Street) – I can speak objectively about the experience. Which really should always start weeks, or even months before. Start off on the right foot and you really have very little to worry about.

They are not warriors or foes. They are extremely knowledgable folk with an expertise in an area of design or technology. Who are there to ensure that publicly funded services are going to deliver exactly what the user needs.

Sure, when you are on slide 78 and trying to think of every edge case (worst case?) or question you might be asked, it can be a fraught experience. But if you approach it in the way that it is billed – a conversation – then you should be alright.

I even started to enjoy it. Perverse maybe, but I could see across the room, the passion and belief our wider team has in the work we are doing. So much so, that a sense of pride beat strongly inside me, as I saw my team step up and help the assessors understand a print out on the wall. Or calmly respond to a challenge which was then met with nods all round.

Maybe I am a weirdo, but I hope that’s not the last one I do. I can see the intention in the process and the room. I hope one day that it is they that come to us – where ever the thus is at that point – but I still want to be able to stand in front of someone and say “The reason we are doing this is for these users, their needs and to address the pain points they have.”

As long as you can articulate what those are – it will always be a conversation, never a battle!

Chris Written by:

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