Back on the weeknotes after a couple of weeks silence due to bank holidays and annual leave!
I spent some time catching up on emails and Slack after my week off (with some motivational music blasting out in the background — playlist here for anyone interested).
We also decided on ‘Stand & Deliver’ as the name for our new format for the fortnightly Community of Practice stands-ups — the gang is now encouraged to use this as protected time to:
- Bring a challenge (if timings align — shame that all our big challenges don’t occur every two weeks on a Monday morning eh!)
- Share a success
- Peer support — buddy up to agree shadowing or work through a problem together
- Add templates to the Delivery Toolkit we are building (guides and templates)
- Make an ask for another Delivery Manager to facilitate each other’s ceremonies
- Drop in with myself or Matt White (Head of Delivery)
Highlight of the day for me was my intro meeting with Manish Lad, our Tech Lead on Case Management — we chatted about a whole host of stuff, including leadership, the limits of starting remotely for those all-important connections you need to make in a new job, communities of practice, and the fact we’d both had previous roles in a university context. Our time together included me wittering on with my usual spiel about starting my career in editorial when monthly newsletter were hardcopies sent in the post, social media didn’t exist, ‘when it was all green fields round here’, ‘using jumpers for goalposts’ and generally showing my age! Thanks for humouring me Manish ;-)
I did my end of year performance and development check-in with Matt, looking at my objectives, development and feedback from the last year, which was ace. It was a strange year for all of us with Covid-19 and I had some real challenges to overcome at various points. It felt good to officially close that chapter and focus on what I’ll be doing in 2021/22.
I also did some planning for Monday’s Community of Practice, where we’ll be revisiting our vision and alliance (which we created back in 2019!) to check they still resonate, and looking at our goals for the coming year, making sure we factor in the great ideas we came up with in our futurespective last month.
Our new format for our Extended Leadership Team (ELT) meetings was launched with aplomb by Anneli (Product Design Lead), including a sheep-based check-in and a deep dive discussion on two key topics for us as a group — ‘Outcomes and strategy — including business planning and budgets’ and ‘Risks, blockers, interdependencies between teams’. We’ve split our weekly time together into a more formal meeting twice a month and informal working together time twice a month and I’m really excited to see how this plays out over the coming weeks.
In the afternoon I went into the London office to clear my locker — and I couldn’t even remember which floor we were on! But I binned all my random stuff, thanked God I didn’t leave any food in my locker and stocked up on Sharpies.
I only had 6 months in the office from my start date before we all started working remotely, which on reflection seems such a short time! It simultaneously felt like I’d been in last week and hadn’t been there for decades.
I also went into a little philosophical bubble on my journey in, thinking about how our commutes are times when we really live in our own inner worlds which no-one else knows about (the people you always see, the books you read, the music or podcasts you listen to, the buildings you always notice on the way in, all the random thoughts you have, catching up on WhatsApp you do, etc. etc. etc.) and how much I miss having that dedicated ‘me time’ in such a regular, structured way.
Today I’m working on finalising the planning and agenda for our first ever Design, Data and Technology (DDaT) Get Together next Thursday, including an update on the recent Tech Committee meeting, our next steps following on from the Big Room Planning sessions we ran a few weeks back (which was with all 22 teams across the directorate to align our work to 7 key outcomes, see each other’s plans and create roadmaps for the next quarter and beyond), lightning talks from our teams, and getting feedback on the format to build into future events.
Launderettes, penknives, creative writing and other stuff…
My girlfriend and I (we’ve settled on ‘Fondant Fancy’ instead of fiancée, just as an FYI for any regular readers) celebrated our two year anniversary with a trip to the pub this week! In an unforgivable blunder, I booked the last slot available for 9pm, thinking it was a dinner booking but the kitchen had closed! We were ravenous and angry and ready to kill for food, any food, but we still had a couple of drinks and a lovely time in the tiny garden sheds they’ve stuck out the back…