I review a lot of books by people I don’t know. So it’s gratifying to read books by people I do know – and who also happen to be clients. Paul Sams and Louise Uphill at Dutton Gregory solicitors on the impact of Covid-19 on residential property, equity release and enfranchisement. And Robert Morley FCMI who is Chief Operating Officer at Lubbock Fine accountants. Interestingly, both look at the art of leading business change – and both reflect on the increasing impact of technology on how we work. Reviewing books by legal and accounting clients – “Covid-19, residential property, equity release and enfranchisement” by Paul Sams and Louise Uphill and “Agile in Business – A guide for Company Leadership” by Robert Morley.
Agile in business – A guide for Company Leadership
This is a truly bite-sized book at just 45 pages. Having started my career in the technology sector, been the sponsor of complex software development projects and even lectured on project management I found it a genuinely helpful synthesis of the practice and benefits of agile working.
The book summarises the agile approach to managing technology and digital transformation projects. It’s especially valuable to reflect on bearing in mind the many speedy and seismic changes we all had to undergo during the Covid crisis.
As agile working requires multi-skilled people working in multidisciplinary teams that ticks my T-shaped people box. And “good enough is good enough” is a personal mantra.
It’s reassuring to find others who appreciate the impact of mixing people from monochronic and polychronic cultures. And interesting to see the Delphi method applied to project estimating as opposed to other types of forecasting.
The importance of regular, brief face-to-face communication with the team (and stakeholders) is something we have seen adopted wholeheartedly throughout the business world during lockdown – albeit through digital media at our screens. And the “test and learn” approach has been embraced during lockdown.
The cultural assessment tool will be useful to many organisations – especially those leading Legal Project Management (LPM) – and for those with change management projects beyond the IT realm. The pigs and chickens metaphor resonates with many business change projects I’ve worked on.
We’ve all had to become more agile over the past 18 months. And this is the book to read if you want a fast insight into the difference between waterfall and agile project management or ever wondered why people talk of stand-ups, sprints and scrums at the office.
Covid-19, residential property, equity release and enfranchisement
From one kind of stand-up to another. Paul Sams is no doubt a brilliant and pragmatic property lawyer but he may have missed his vocation as a stand-up comic. To find myself chuckling at a legal text was a delight and to find a lawyer who apologises for quoting the law was refreshing.
It’s another relatively quick read at just 70 pages. Paul starts with a glimpse behind the scenes at the hell experienced by conveyancers as they grappled with the impact of the Covid crisis. Change management on a grand scale in action. Although Paul’s firm appears to have made the transition smoothly compared to many other law firms.
I admit that having had one pair of abortive conveyancing transactions during Covid and being half-way through another set it raised my anxiety levels a few notches. And I sincerely hope that I am not one of those clients who “are transformed from meek and mild easy going folk into foaming at the mouth rabid animals because they had to leave a message because you dared to cheat on them by speaking to another client when they called”.
The honesty, concern, humour and vulnerability Paul expressed as he recounted the early days of the Covid crisis felt raw and authentic and will resonate with many business leaders.
Digital natives will marvel at how the legal profession finally navigated challenges such as the move from wet signatures, the acceptance of video advice and the remote witnessing of documents.
So if you want a no-nonsense explanation of the impact of Covid on residential conveyancing, (spoiler: he’s not a fan of Covid-19 clauses), equity release (a £4 billion pa market) and leasehold enfranchisement (from Louise who has feet in both landlord and leaseholder camps and can succinctly summarise the ALEP protocol and Tribunal processes and casually notes a 25% uplift in leaseholder web traffic during lockdown) this is the book for you.
HM Land Registry, The Law Society and The Equity Release Council all appear in supporting roles