Weeknotes 18: to-do lists, the return of the lamuts, Janet’s list

My to do list is getting shorter. Well, my Acas one is. It’s a weird feeling. The more general life admin to do list obviously remains about the same, a constant, just slightly more than feels doable, and ever replenishing. My Hackney ‘things to think about when I start’ list is getting longer, and that’s exciting. 3 weeks to go . . .


I spent most of the day sifting initial bids from suppliers for our most recent digital marketplace opportunity — we had a really good range of bids in. This is great — and it included companies we haven’t had bids from before, which is also good.


The team had sprint planning — powered by Crosstown donuts. I forgot to take a photo before all the donuts went . . .


The focus of this sprint is — what remains for us to do before we make the first content public? It’s oh so tempting to try and make everything perfect beforehand, but we’re trying to focus on good enough.

In the afternoon I moderated my scores on the bids with Curtis and Noel, and our ace procurement manager Cedric. I’m always conscious that behind the words on the bids are teams of people who’ve worked hard to provide us with the information we’ve asked for — and that some of them will be disappointed to be sifted out. We have a shortlist of 5 — and I’m looking forward to seeing them all in a couple of weeks.


We had a show and tell — and co opted the lovely Sam Villis to test the beta content. People came, the room was full, but they were quiet, and not many questions. I can’t work out if it’s because people aren’t sure what to ask, if it’s the way we’re running the sessions, or it’s the room set up. So we’re going to try the next one in our new team space to see if it works differently that way.

The snack vision was sticks — carrot, kit kats, chocolate fingers, breadsticks, you get the gist.

Later on I interviewed over at BEIS — helping a different team find a new Product Manager. Afterwards instead of heading back to the office I took myself off to a cafe to work quietly on some admin I’d been putting off.


In the morning I had a coffee with Philippa who’d been off for a few days. I’d been working on lots of things that it was good to catch up on, check my thinking, and plan out how we’ll move things forwards together.

The afternoon was spent writing up end of year reviews — I have done them ALL now which is brilliant* and is one of the reasons why my to do list is getting shorter.



I don’t normally write about weekends — but this weekend I finally caught up with the fabulous Janet Oganah. And heard all about Janet’s List— I’m so pleased to see how it’s going so well, and in awe of Janet and her drive and determination. We miss her at Acas . . .

What did I read this week?

I finally finished A seat at the table by Mark Schwarz, it’s taken ages not because I wasn’t enjoying it – I was – but because I was trying to read it on my commute, instead of looking at twitter and emails and medium and etc. I didn’t do very well.

Anyway – it was very good. It’s given me lots of food for thought, ideas and pointers for further reading.

The best thing a manager can do is to help the team do what it knows how to do by removing impediments. Tell the team what you need, let them do their work, and ask them how you can help.

I’ve got a copy of his other book The Art of Business Value — think that’s my next read.

I read this via Sam Villis

and this from Jocelyn Goldfein on culture which was interesting.

You have a powerful incentive at your fingertips: praise, criticism, and story-telling. Wield them thoughtfully and you can be a culture carrier who transmits and strengthens company values.


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