Boredom, Hold Music and Resilience
I’ve been doing…
Broadly speaking, this week has felt like a bit of a low energy week.
I suspect it’s because I started with a giant block of work to finish on Monday that was the un-magical combination of serious headwork + uninteresting, but very important to get done all the same!
I then spent a good hour of being passed around the same three departments at Dell trying to sort out an invoice and repair. It’s a good job that my patience reserves have been considerably boosted by being the parent of two small slightly rebellious children.
The week also started with yet more chasing of <supplier> for <project>. The dev team for this particular supplier have such a huge backlog that they are now working in 30 day sprints to cope with it. Problem is, as a customer I have no idea where I factor in those sprints. I feel sorry for the project manager who has had authority stripped from him to schedule resource (now controlled by dev team), but has to put up with my complaints all the same. Seem like a poor trade. The dev team on the other hand are operating without seeing/feeling any direct feedback regarding their decisions. Urrgh!
(I’m starting to see why this week was a low energy week…)
Mid-week(ish) there was an interesting bit of chatter on our Yammer about the potential importance of resilience in work. What do we collectively do or not do to boost resilience? For me, the thing that keeps me resilient is reflection. If you can frame most things as a learning experience it’s easier to cope with setbacks or falling on your face. It’s also interesting to read those experiences back after time has passed. What seemed Earth shatteringly bad at the time often seem less dramatic in retrospect.
I’ve been more widely circulating some video of Fuzzbot (AI repairs chatbot) in action. I’m keen to get it into the hands of tenants as early as possible to gauge their reaction so I’m currently scouting for others who might be interested in doing that. When we’ve asked tenants what they value about services, it’s often that they appreciate being able to speak to someone who grasps the nature of their problem and take the right course of action. Tenants also generally like speaking to our staff. If we’re looking automating services, we’ve got to be exceptionally careful we’re automating the right bits and not removing the humanity.
Thursday featured a quick jaunt through the current list of outstanding Helpdesk tickets. We’ve taken a pretty reasonable bite out of the backlog over the last two weeks thanks to our sterling new recruit getting up to speed. There are a few things which seem to stubbornly refuse to die. Normally where there’s not enough clarity or little/no ownership. Might be worth blocking some time out to tackle those per ticket. A sort of mini-hack session to figure out the best course of action to deal with them.
Friday often features more checking of the kanban board than usual to see what can be closed off & what is being held up. It’s looking rather respectable at the moment. There’s considerably less stuff in the ‘backlog’ and about 80% of our tasks managed to make it into ‘Done’. That’s either because we’re getting up to speed again after being short staffed for a while OR we’re experiencing a bit of a lull ahead of the summer holidays. Either way — it’s nice to see a slightly emptier board. Onwards!
I’ve been reading…
- On prototyping and putting something out there. Hat Tip @Davebriggs
- The importance of friction. By @ballentine70
- How we use Trello on the GOV.UK publishing platform team.
- The meaning of work. By @JuSummerhayes
- The power of vulnerability.
- Design principles from system changers. @CassieRobinson
- Why we haven’t been working out loud.
- Outdated public service must empower people to achieve change.
- Getting your head around open data. By @GovCampCymru
- What frontline workers think they should change & what they need to change it. By @CassieRobinson
- Avoiding the Iceberg of organisational change. By Paul Taylor
- How coaching can support better frontline decision making.
- What we are working on this week. By @BromfordLab
- What I’ve learned from Working Out Loud. By @DanDHewitt
- Taking off the mask.
- Releasing Open Data. By @DyfrigWilliams
- “Users don’t care who does what, so we need to work together.”
- How to wrap up a productive work day. Hat tip @helenbevan
- Trivallis : Changing culture within the frontline.
I’ve been watching\listening to…
- Wired podcast : Gig Economy Showdown, Dinosaur Art
- Designing Health Services for Homeless
- A simple guide to land value tax.