Weeknotes S2 E10 (2019 Edition)

Happy Friday! 👍 Congrats in navigating another week. Please help yourself to imaginary complimentary nibbles and a beverage of your choice.

Ending this season with some ‘better #latenotes than never’. This is a couple of weeks smooshed together and will probably be quite high level.

I’ll be back, possibly mid-week with a bit of a retro on season 2 of weeknotes.

Let’s go!

Guiding Principles

I’ve been helping out with drafting some initial principles to guide future endeavours. Principles are useful because they show the intent of how we’re going to behave and do/design things. They’re the guide posts to ensure we do stuff in a consistent way.

There are lots of great examples of design principles out there and I continue to be hugely inspired by the likes of The Government Digital Service, NHS Digital, Hackney Council, Parkinsons UK and Barnardo’s UK to name but a few.

As someone who can easily get lost in the joy of digging around the abstract, I find it’s ocassionally helpful to stick a marker down and do something which will result in some external feedback. I tethers me to the here and now.

Here’s what we’ve got so far. Some of them will no doubt sound familiar…

  • Value people, put customers at the heart.
  • Build trust.
  • Include everyone.
  • Understand context.
  • Make, learn, iterate.
  • Decide with data.
  • Do the hard work to make things simple.
  • Make things open, it makes things better.

This first iteration of our principles probably isn’t 100% perfect, if only because enough people haven’t come into contact with them yet. So I draw comfort that this is just the first iteration and they can and absolutely should evolve in line with the things we learn along the way.

Idealism and pragmatism

One of the innate challenges of working in any organisation that’s been around for a while is trying to do the new whilst maintaining the existing and gracefully retiring the old. I’ve got a fairly clear view of what needs to happen right now, and a somewhat clear idea about what the future looks like, but the connective path between them can be hard to define and constantly shifting

I spotted this tweet last week which had some brilliant observations about roadmaps and how they should show alternative routes to a goal.

I particularly liked this bit on ‘the network of things we can do to achieve our goals’.

We had an initial stab at this today. And although we’ve not quite linked all the dependencies up or discovered all the nodes, it’s already yielded some useful insights about some of the way forward. (Making a mental note here to eventually write this up!)

Team Kanban

I’ve been busy getting a team kanban board up and running. At the moment there’s quite a lot of streams of work coming through the team, so it’s been a useful way (as a relative newbie to the team and the organisation) to make work more visible to all of us so we can first observe the ebb and flow before figuring out how to improve it.

We’re currently not all situated in the same physical location, so Trello has served as a useful way to say connected in-between meetups. We are soon(ish) to be located in one place, so it’ll be tempting to go back to a physical board. Although I would miss the ability to automate certain bits and bobs. Something to ponder on!

Fired up! Ready to go!

I was reminded of this video in a training session this week.

Some thoughts in no particular order.

  1. Remember when the leader of the free world was a sane, rational person? Wasn’t that brilliant! We should try that again.
  2. This hits all the same pleasure centres as watching The West Wing. “What’s next?”
  3. It’s a reminder of how well Obama could synthesise experiences and stories to illustrate a grander vision or idea. Story telling is a hugely underrated skill for the delivery of change.
  4. Many of us are lucky to have some degree of agency to improve our bit of the world. Obama’s very last tweet as POTUS is a solid reminder.

I’ve been reading…

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