Series 2 Episode 1 (S2Ep1) — back after a short break

I’ve had a few days off over the past fortnight — an opportunity to recharge and spend time with family. I was back at work this week though, and am starting a new series of #weeknotes*.

So, what happened this week?

  1. We’re working hard on the procurement of new printer and scanners for Hackney. This week we started working on all the documentation we’ll need for the procurement itself — we’re using the user stories we’ve developed as a result of the work the team have been doing analysing usage, talking to users and thinking about our Printing as a service. Using google docs is making collaboration between us much easier but there’s still a lot of information to gather, and plenty to do.
  2. Soraya and the Manage Arrears project team did a great show and tell — they’ve linked up with gov.notify and received their first sample letter. Now they need to integrate the new API that’s being built so that they can connect to live data and the income collection team will be all set to start using the system instead of relying on spreadsheets and mail merges.
API show and tell

3. The API factory team held a show and tell this week — explaining what they’re going to tackle first and why. And they’ve started producing weeknotes — they’re experimenting with using short videos instead of writing them**

4. I spent some time this week thinking about goals for the next quarter — taking a step back to the bigger themes of our work and then working out where we can focus in order to deliver the most impact.

5. Matthew ran an interesting session looking back at this quarter — using a retro style to engage us in talking about how the last 3 months have gone, the impact of what’s been delivered, what we’ve been learning and how it’s felt. As an exercise it was really useful, and great to talk to colleagues in other teams who I don’t always see regularly.

6. I gave myself time to write content for my talk on Governance so good, people prefer to use it at the Agile in City conference next week. I’m really excited to be presenting, and nervous, but I am getting better at preparing ahead of time.

7. I also spent some time planning a workshop for our HackIT leadership network — we’re going to spend some time together looking at why we work in the open, how we can support each other and encourage and support our teams to do so. I’ve been browsing the Liberating Structures material and thinking about how we might use their design elements to make for an engaging and successful workshop.***

What I read this week:

This from Richard Pope on Government as a platform . . .Government as a Platform, the hard problems: part 1 - Introduction
Government as a Platform is the approach of reorganizing the work of government around a network of shared APIs,…

This lovely piece from Nadine, our data apprentice, on international women’s day, (thanks Nadine!)#WeMadeIt: International Womens Day – Everyday Women Doing Great Things
WeMadeIt: International Women’s Day – Everyday Women Doing Great Things International Women’s Day is a special day, a…

This from the awesome Rebecca Kemp about why how you represent your users is important:User needs: don’t go to Chino
The concept ‘don’t go to Chino’ may be my most significant intellectual contribution to GDS and digital transformation,…

This from the team at Southwark Council on their work (great to see them publishing in the open)Planning back office
Continuing Planning Officer user interviews across the wider council landscape, continuing with Haringey Council and…

This from Harvard Business Review on productive conflict, had some useful advice about harnessing healthy tensions in teams:An Exercise to Help Your Team Feel More Comfortable with Conflict
Executive Summary The ability to get issues on the table and work through them constructively is critical to having a…

and this from Suzanne Gibbs Howard on ambiguity:4 Tips for Navigating Ambiguity
“Teams can only handle ambiguity if there’s high trust.” -Suzanne Gibbs Howard, Dean of IDEO U Ambiguity makes people…

and finally I finished this by Hilary Cottam (thanks for the recommend Audree Fletcher). I really enjoyed this book — both inspiring and thought provoking

Picture of Radical Help, Hilary Cottam

*I’m also experimenting with my own blogging platform, in part this was sparked by my husband’s genius(?) use of our surname ending in ‘in’. It’s a work in progress (so far I’ve downloaded my medium content and played around with a theme) — I’m not sure what I might do with it, if anything. I’m learning loads as I go though, including just how much time I can spend looking for the right header image. . .or the right Pokemon gif for that matter . . .

**all of our project weeknotes and updates are on pipeline so that we’re working in the open.

***I’m thinking about running this team building session. It involves chocolate, what’s not to like?

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