Weeknotes Season 2 Review (2019 Edition)

I’ve committed to doing a review of each season of weeknotes. 1 season equates to 1 quarter. This is a review of season 2.

If weeknotes are weekly reflections, the season reviews are quarterly pit stops through the year to think about where I’ve been, where I’m going and an opportunity to course correct if required.

TEN

I managed 10 weeknotes out of a possible 12 this season. That’s one better than season 1. But moreover, I’m quite pleased to have maintained the habit whilst being reasonably stretched in terms of bandwidth.

Incredibly expanding drafts

I’m still hitting a bit of a blocker in terms of writing outside of weeknotes. I did a count recently and found 35 drafts posts in Medium. I’m not sure this is a problem. Although I do find that writing remains one of the more useful tools for sorting out the clutter in my head. However, I suspect this is due to…

All change!

About half way through this season (mid-May) I left Cadwyn and started a new job as Delivery Manager at Valleys To Coast.

Wrapping up at Cadwyn after almost ten years was a strange experience. Like preparing to go on holiday.. forever. Seemingly the strategy of making things open and trying to push authority down to where the information is worked okay (I think!) as I’ve had a minimal amount of calls from my former team mates asking where X is or how Y works. High five for doing the hard work to make myself surplus to requirements. 🙂

My start at Valleys To Coast was really welcoming. Having been so innately acquainted with the inner workings of Cadwyn, making the switch to a different organisation was perhaps more jarring than I had anticipated. It’s difficult to quantify the amount of institutional knowledge you carry around whilst you’re still in said institution. Having an in-depth knowledge of the ‘terrain’ makes doing anything a lot easier because more of the variables are known quantities, although the flip side of this is that you may presume certainty where it isn’t!

The first week or two in my new post were a bit like that scene in the Matrix where Neo has martial arts downloaded directly into his brain. But instead of Kung Fu, I was downloading a short history of the organisation, what all the different systems were, what was connected to what, policies, procedures, org structure, job titles, meeting room locations and lunch options.

Getting underway

Having spent my first couple of weeks getting orientated, all the weeks following have been about figuring out where to get going and where I can specifically add value.

In many ways it’s been trying to map a whole new ‘terrain’ so that I could proceed with some degree of certainty. I’ve been feeling moderately frustrated at times because I want to get back to a place of knowing the fullness of everything that can be known, but I should probably stop giving myself such a hard time and just accept that this is going unfold gradually in months not weeks!

Starting somewhere new has been quite a good test of my resolve to work openly and not armour up due to feeling discomfort from operating in some unfamiliar contexts. As ever, I think I could be better at this, but I’m trying to maintain a grasp on a curious mindset and invite people into my thought process where possible.

When I was working in really familiar territory, I had to regularly remind myself not to take the quick and easy route and be the advice depensing maniac, drowning out other views or depriving colleagues of a learning experience.

And that’s the major bonus of being in a new place doing unfamiliar stuff. Often, I don’t know the answers, but I can help others find them. And that gels with my values that doing things WITH people gets better outcomes than doing it TO or FOR them. That’s something else I hope to maintain a grasp on.

Ambitions update!

At the beginning of the year I wrote down some ambitions. Let’s do a check-in on where I’m at.

  • Get Healthy — Had an excellent start to getting back on low carb. The burning platform was fitting into a suit for a wedding. I dropped around 3Kgs. Unfortunately I’ve fallen back out of the habit, largely due to not enough time allocated for life admin. Some course correction required for season 3 which is already underway. Sleep is going reasonably well. Was aiming for 8 hours per night, but kept waking up too early. 7 hours seems to be the sweet spot for me. I am still terrible a maintaining consistent wake up / sleep times over the weekend.
    Grade: C
  • Refocus my work on my strengths —Really enjoying new job and new challenges. Lots to think about and do, but it’s the perfect opportunity to excercise some militant optimism. Had a couple of instances where I’ve felt “Yup! — I’m in exactly the right place at precisely the right time”, which feels good!
    Grade: A
  • The year of weeknotes — Two seasons down. Despite being late some (err.. most) weeks, still plodding along. Keep going!
    Grade: B+
  • A basic grasp of Wardley Mapping —Really pleased to have done some more practice of Wardley Mapping (huge thanks to PollyRT for uttering the words.. ‘Hey! We should do some Wardley Mapping!’). If I can write up a blog post about this, I’ll consider myself as having a basic grasp of Wardley Mapping.
    Grade: B-
  • Do a podcast — I love the idea (still do), but I’ve struggled to carve out the space to make progress. I’m officially shelving this to make headspace for something else.

What’s next?

The next time I write one of these things, I’ll have…

  • Attended two unconferences (Gov Camp Cymru + UK Health Camp).
  • Seen an initial round of user research completed and started to use it to shape digital service delivery.
  • A more cohesive view of what the future looks like and be able to articulate it in an accessible way to others.

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