Weeknotes 32: making work visible – using snakes, data, whiteboards and weeknotes

A really interesting week – where lots of different strands of work came together, and we had some brilliant team discussions and focus.

6 (great) things that happened this week

  1. Our first two apprentices started and seem to have settled in quickly. The rest are joining us over the next few weeks – we’re partnering with Ada College for some of our apprenticeships and they came in this week to explain how the course works, and what’s expected of us as employers.
  2. The ICT survey I’ve been working on closed this week – with over 650 responses it’s going to give us useful insight into how we’re doing against our key objectives. Equally usefully it’ll tell where we need to focus next. Now I need to work with Joe in our data team to generate useful, visual insight that we can share and work with. Joe’s got some exciting ideas for analysing the free text responses and comparing them to other factors which will build up a really good picture for us. I’m really lucky to get to work with colleagues like him, experts in their field.
  3. The delivery team had a couple of ‘how might we’ sessions this week – looking at how we’re going to run service assessments (we’ve committed to running 5 in the next 3 months), and how we might improve how we start a project. Both of these were really interesting – lots of ideas and energy from a relatively new team. We’re all* going to DeliverCon in October where we’ll be pitching some sessions to our colleagues from across government.

4. Our platform teams had a backlog busting week (as well as dealing with a unplanned relocation issue). They worked really hard to do this – and I think felt supported by the rest of us. Susan and I rolled up our sleeves, got all Blue Peter ish and made their work visible as our contribution:

It got people talking about the work they were doing, and why (which was the intention). It reminded me how important it is to make the work of the team visible – this can be difficult if there’s a lack of wall space.**

5. My colleague henry lewis wrote his first blog post on medium. This is ace – and it’s great. He writes about the sort of work that often goes unnoticed, but that is completely and utterly vital in meeting the needs of users in a modern workplace.

6. Nic worked incredibly hard all week to make sure that the new pipeline tool went live on Friday. This has been a really interesting project – working collaboratively to take an existing product from @localgovdigital and build on it. We’ll be using it now to openly show our flow of work from ideas to live so that we can generate collaboration and share learning. It’s a key part of our approach to governance which I’ve blogged about here this week as well


What I struggled with this week

It’s autumn. Yes I know it’s all beautiful leaves and crisp mornings, etc etc. But – its still not summer, it’s cold in the mornings and it’s getting darker earlier. Winter is definitely coming and I’m not a fan.***


I also gave my first strategy stand up talk – on governance. Like a lot of people I find speaking in public nerve wracking – but what I’ve learnt is that if I prepare well, remember to breathe and just actually do it, it’s ok. Actually that’s probably good advice for most things come to think of it.

*including our two new apprentices Hidyat and Emma, and our new senior delivery manager Philippa Newis who starts officially with us at the end of October. 💪

**but it turns out a concrete pillar is perfect for post its.

***I swam though. And that helped. It wasn’t as cold as I imagined it might be


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