S2 Ep5: taking an overview

Although a short week (thankyou bank holiday 🙂 ), a lot was packed into the four days. I had some time to take a bit of a step back and think about the bigger picture as well, including some time with Rob Miller, thinking about how we’ll set ourselves up for success with our strategic budget management this year. This is really useful — it’s one of my learning goals from this role at Hackney to improve my understanding and skills in wider financial planning and investments.

5 (great) things that happened this week*

Our current portfolio wall
Our protoype portfolio wall . . .
  1. I did some more thinking about how we might have better conversations about all the work we’re doing, and what we therefore need from each other across the teams. I didn’t make as much progress on this as I wanted to, other things popped up that distracted my attention. But I have some good ideas to try out in the next few weeks, that I think will help smooth delivery – we’ll see if they work.

2. Soraya, one of our delivery managers, led an excellent show and tell this week on our Manage Arrears service. It’s an internal facing service that will enable the team in housing to spend more time helping residents, and less time on administrative tasks. It uses gov.notify, our APIs, and GDS design patterns to enable us to push the current legacy systems into the background and make better use of our existing data. It was an excellent show and tell because

  • Sarah – one of the users, talked about how it’s working for her
  • There was a demo of the thing
  • The team talked about the bugs and issues they’ve fixed over the last two weeks, and what they still need to do.

3. I ran an unstuck meeting (thanks to spydergrrl for the idea). It started out as a ‘how do we make it easier for ourselves to attract great people inside IR35 when we need someone for a thing quickly’ conversation but quickly became a good conversation about recruitment generally. We’ve come up with several ideas that we will try out – and it was great to have the right people round the table to contribute and take action.

Hackney 100 leaflet
Hackney 100 leaflet

4. Keith, Mercy, Hidayat and I met to progress our contribution to the Hackney 100 programme. This is a paid work experience programme for young people in Hackney — and we’re hosting 4–5 placements over this year. Mercy and Hidayat are two of our current apprentices and they’re taking on responsibility for organising the placements in their teams. Keith and his team are also offering a supported placement to a young person with autism, part of Hackney 100’s inclusivity work.

Keith and Mal talking about their team approach to learning
Keith and Mal talking about their team approach to learning

5. Keith and Mal delivered our weekly strategy show and tell this week – talking about their teams’ approach to learning. They’ve taken a planned and open approach – emphasising the importance of collaboration and working in the open. I really liked the team’s focus on learning outside of current job roles — and thinking about what skills they’ll need for the future.

What I read this week:

This from Chris Harper about Barnado’s new intranet:Inside.Barnardos: The Intranet Without Walls
How and why Barnardo’s opened up its new intranet to the world.link.medium.com

And this from Rosalyn Hewitt at Addaction about their ambition for designing services for a digital age:How do we design recovery services for the digital age?
Only a small number of people who need drug and alcohol services access them. How can we change the way we provide…link.medium.com

Also this** (but worth noting — this content is behind Medium’s paywall so will count towards the number of free articles you can access in a month.) The link between well being and exercise is clear, and I know that it’s an important one for me. I hadn’t thought much about the link between practice and persistence in exercise and in work (and life) though.Working Out Is Powerful Brain Training
Life is hard, and you’ll be better off if you practice doing hard things – like making your body purposefully…link.medium.com

What I (started) to learn this week:

On Friday I listened to some Made Tech academy graduates talk about their final project at an event we’d organised to support the graduates and our apprentices to learn more about each other’s work, and start to build their professional networks. The team talked about using clean architecture in their project — and gave a good explanation as to what it meant. I think I understand, but I’m going to read up a bit more and ask some colleagues about it so that I’m confident I’ve understood it.

visual diagram of clean architecture
visual diagram of clean architecture

*sometimes I find it hard to stick to just 5, and it doesn’t mean that other things aren’t great too. But it does work as a way of getting me to focus on key things (and keeps my weeknotes shorter too).

**am pretty proud of my own ability to crow pose tbh.

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