Weeknotes — Week Ending 28/01/22

Shake it off

Happy Friday! How’s your week been?

It’s been a bit of a tough old week for me. Nothing particularly nightmarish has happened, but I would characterise it as wading through treacle. If it was a colour, it would be beige. I made some progress, but it wasn’t nearly as much as I would’ve liked and I’ve finished the week feeling somewhat unsatisfied. To summarise, harrumph.

But, in the sage words of Taylor Swift, shake it off. (My daughters are cringing somewhere). Whilst it’s been a tough slog this week, I think I’ve learned a few things to take into next week.

It’s almost time to switch the computer off and take the pleasingly short walk to the living room where pizza and beer awaits. But first, this…

Good things

  • I re-established some life admin routines last weekend which meant this week was much calmer and less ‘Oh god.. we need X for the kids tomorrow’. Which in turn helps me arrive at work feeling less frazzled. It’s not perfect, but it’s good enough.
  • I discovered a new tactic to get my eldest out of bed and ready for school which has resulted in 90% less nagging. Huge win! (Spoiler: It’s directing her zombie-like form toward a running hot shower)

Difficult things

  • Slight groundhog day vibes for the team retrospective this week in terms of things we lacked or longed for. These are issues that are outside of our direct control, and therefore not as easy to resolve. I think it’s okay to feel some frustration by their reccurring nature as long as we’re either experimenting with solutions or mitigations.
  • I’ve been optimising for work this week (perhaps because life admin became more manageable?) but I’ve got to be careful not to regularly do that at the expense of sufficient breaks. Diminishing returns etc.
  • Loooooong feedback loops have been causing quite a bit of inertia and made the work slow going.

Learned things

  • Where long feedback loops appear, I need put more structure on them to promote regular communication and better relationships. It might be possible to anticipate these up front rather than be reactive.
  • I need to do a better job of incorporating learning actions from one sprint into the next. We talked it through as a team today and we think we’ve got a way to ensure they’re included as part of sprint planning.
  • Recognising what you can’t directly control, but can influence can lessen the frustration when things aren’t as swiftly rectifiable as you might like. Changing people’s minds takes time.
  • It’s useful to call out reversable decisions so that you can adopt an experimental approach to avoid overthinking and risk aversion.
  • The accuracy of estimates relies on the familiarity and knowledge of the people working on the thing. When estimates are required, highlighting what you currently do and don’t know can help avoid creating false certainty. Bets not plans.
  • I need to take better care of my energy levels next week lest I start trying to pour from a cup that’s empty. Perhaps aim for consitency rather than peaks and troughs?
  • Reminder to self — find a way to keep moving. Figure out the next step. Even if it’s a small one.

Interesting things

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