A peek into… Technology Development

Post 2 Neil Taylor, Agile Development Lead

 

Tell us about your role
The Agile Development Lead (ADL) job title is a little ambiguous as to its function but essentially, I look after several software development teams, both in terms of line management of the developers and also the strategic direction of the technology and projects being worked on.

I’ve been at TfL for almost four years; I started out as a software developer in a development team and then became the technical lead for that team. As a technical lead, I was responsible for the technical direction of the team but without line management responsibility. As an ADL that responsibility has expanded across multiple teams and gives me the opportunity to work across multiple projects.

My role sits within the Technology Development department at TfL where we work on some great projects such as contactless ticketing, the TfL website, open data APIs and many more. I work very closely with the Digital department helping them to deliver their product visions, we very much work in collaboration with one another.

Why is your role important to TfL?
As my role sits across several teams, I’m able to make sure that the teams are all roughly aligned on their technical strategy. This stops any one team going off and working on a technology that couldn’t easily be adopted by another team. This is important to TfL to ensure we don’t create silos of specialisms and means that we’re constantly making sure we’re going in the right direction.

Within my role, I also attend several high-level scoping and viability meetings where I can use my technical background to discuss whether or not a product vision could become a reality. By attending these meetings, this protects the development teams so that they can focus their time on projects currently in progress.

Icon Transport for London roundel

[…] the customer is at the heart of everything we do at TfL.

What’s your favourite thing about what you do?
I enjoy the variety that each day brings. Part of my role includes line management and I really enjoy working with people and helping them to develop their careers. I’m really passionate about working in a diverse environment and now that I’m involved in recruitment, I’m empowered to help make a difference.

I also have a background in design, having studied it at university, I love working on the digital products that TfL produces and being able to work on such an iconic brand. The heritage of the brand is important to everyone here and I love seeing the care that the identity is treated with, whilst also considering how it can be brought forward into the modern day.

What’s one thing that you would like our customers to know ?
Without wanting to sound clichéd, the customer is at the heart of everything we do at TfL. As an example, TfL will try to automatically refund a customer if they failed to touch in or out. This is based on regular travel patterns and will reduce the maximum fare charged down to the standard fare for the assumed missing touch in or out.

We also automatically refund a customer if they’ve been charged a maximum fare through no fault of their own. An example of this is Notting Hill carnival. During the carnival our services get very busy and often for safety we ask customers to exit stations without touching out. We analyse the journey data to look for their next tap and if it looks like they were in that area, they will be issued a refund for the maximum fare incurred.

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How Digital works with Technology Development
Our relationship with Technology Development is a very collaborative one. Our work very much depends on and is influenced by our development capabilities, and development relies on our UX and design to deliver the final product. To make sure we’re creating the best experiences we start our projects with a series of workshops that explore potential solutions from a design and development standpoint as well clarifying our business, user, and technology needs. We also make sure to continuously look at how we can improve our experience and tech platforms. We continue this collaborative process until the final product is delivered and launched for the public to use.