s01e01 weeknotes — Oh hello

Start where you are, use what you have and do what you can

Following in the footsteps of quite a few others’ weeknotes I’ve found really interesting and useful (Simon, Matt and Sophie to name but a few) I’m going to try and jot down some thoughts from the daily grind each week. Sort of trendy these days it seems, but it feels good to recap before it all gets forgotten, mainly to help collect your thoughts, connect the dots to form new ideas, or help some old ones come unstuck.

Anyway, for a bit of context — I’ve written briefly before about my current gig so that should probably set the scene. More generally, I’m interested in things that are of the internet; products, services and everything in between — for good or better if possible, though I do sort of signup to profit as a purpose as an idea (shouts to Orbit).

This week has been a mixed bag really, some ups some downs. One of the highlights was officially kicking of the teams new work phase, inspired largely by the thoughts of the clever folk at Basecamp. We’re trying a new thing — working in cycles of phases to give us some focus via time-boxed constraints, as well as allowing for a bit of breathing room to fix things and have a general tidy up in between. People tend to call them firebreaks, but it’s all new here so far easier to just explain the thing.

Cycle 1 kicked off, and we’re going with the naming convention of random villages in Leicestershire. Seemed fitting, so will hopefully stick. A bit like mission patches that add a more tangible element in place of numbers, in my head at least!

We made some progress with a new reporting tool for highways defects, and then took two steps back when a couple of files were ’lost’ ahead of deployment to the production server. No fault of our own, though even as a small multidisciplinary team we’re not quite ’multi’ enough to have have much autonomy when it comes to legacy systems and It. Onwards.

A big focus for the last few months has been on getting to grips with our new intranet platform. In hindsight, I really wish we’d done a lot more of the thinking upfront on the product side of things. Easy in hindsight, and even more so when you inherit a project or system and miss the opportunity in the beginning where it feels a bit make or break as far as the pitfalls of procurement go. Refreshing to see orgs like Citizens Advice approach this type of thing how I would’ve liked to — starting with needs, how they can be met/enabled through tools — instead of starting from ‘intranet’ and working backwards.

Outside of those two biggies, there’s tons of content work (our bread and butter) with a few forms thrown in for good measure. Not sure we’ve got the balance right just yet, and there’s some work to do to make the best use of the skills and specialities we have in the team — making sure they’re dished out across our priorities in a way that works and makes sense.

S01E01 feels like a good start, and I’ve got a marker in the ground now to stick to so will hopefully keep it up with some sort of regularity.