Mood: 🤔. Lots to reflect on in light of all the continued unrest back home, around the world, and just across the street.
🌹 What am I grateful for this week?
More great progress for our Mission Beyond initiative. The mission thinking article that Mara and I worked on for the past couple weeks finally got published, and my video voiceover is now live on the homepage. Starting something new within Red Badger has been really exciting, and we’re only a couple of weeks out from our first event. Big milestone incoming! 🚀
And when it comes to weeknotes, I’m excited that it’s slowly starting to spread within our team. Personally, I’m finding it a great practice to be back into, and as Meg taught me — see one, do one, teach one — I’m going to see if we can continue to get more folks on the bandwagon. Shout out to Cate McLaurin who first introduced me through her weeknotes for Hackney Council.
🌵 Where did I get stuck this week?
Honestly, math of all things (and I still find it very strange to say maths* despite living in the UK for about four years now). I usually pride myself on being pretty good at this stuff, but accounting always gets a bit tricky. Spent more time on it than I care to mention this week.
Though I try to keep these weeknotes work-focused, scenes from back home of BLM protests and looting were on my mind throughout the week (and just outside my door here in London). I’m listening. I’m proud of people like Honesty who have courageously shared at work. I’m also mindful that our collective mental health remains in a fragile state as we work through the ongoing crisis. For this, I’m also here to listen, as are many of us.
In the in-between, I spent some time rewatching my recent talks, including the Service Lab meetup. It’s been a bit difficult because I thought I had my “ums” under control, but I clearly don’t. I know the best thing I can do in such instances is to slow down — so really this is more of a note to myself to pace myself next time, and remember the “one thought, one breath” mantra.
💡 What stuck with me this week?
Another small win from the week was getting a new version of our line management playbook out for company review. One area we revised was the “order of preference” we’d outlined for deciding where a manager ought to sit relative to the person they’re managing — as previously written, there was an implication to align one’s discipline at the expense of being across the same project/account, which runs counter to our principle that context is key for good line management relationships.
In fact, not being discipline-aligned with your manager can help prevent micromanagement from creeping in. Being in the same discipline is a form of context that’s probably most useful when you need to show-by-doing; that need lessens at higher levels of seniority.
Discipline alignment with a manager has its tradeoffs. While supporting progression through more junior levels of craft, it can also be an impediment for growing generalists.
Shared a really good observation with Meg at a retro this week. In the remote-first world, it’s easy to miss those run-in conversations that come from bumping into each other in the same space (something Pixar famously harnessed in their building designs). For the time being, video conferences are the virtual space we share. But if your conferencing service allows it, joining a little early or lingering after the meeting adjourns can serve a similar purpose. Combine this with a culture of “speedy meetings” and you’ve suddenly built in a bit of space for run-ins again.
Try occasionally lingering on a video call before or after the scheduled agenda, and encouraging others to do the same. See what happens.
📚 What did I discover this week?
Since when is Obama on Medium? And just when I thought everyone was on their way out and over to Substack 😆. He’s certainly made a splash with his first entry, and offers sage advice as always:
If we want our criminal justice system, and American society at large, to operate on a higher ethical code, then we have to model that code ourselves.
How to Make this Moment the Turning Point for Real Change
As millions of people across the country take to the streets and raise their voices in response to the killing of…
We could all do with learning how to disagree better, especially in these times. Start by doing away with contempt for the other side.
BBC Radio 4 - Seriously... - Eight tips for how to disagree better
Social media platforms have made instant insults much easier to dish out. And this violent language is crossing over…
Something I rediscovered from reviewing Developing Samurai was the notion of teaming as a verb, “largely determined by the mindset and practices of teamwork, not by the design and structures of effective teams. Teaming is teamwork on the fly…” and very much a strength of the adaptive organization.
The Importance of Teaming
Editor's note: Many managers are taught to think of teams as carefully designed, static groups of individuals who, like…
And here’s a random nugget from fiddling with Google Sheets this week — if you ever find yourself wanting to calculate the required burndown between A1 and A10 by formula, set A2 to
=A$1-(ROW(A2)-ROW(A$1))*(A$1-A$10)/(ROW(A$10)-ROW(A$1)) and drag down from there.
🌱 What am I looking forward to next week?
It’s T-10 days before our first Mission Beyond event, so dry runs are on the docket next week and our speakers are going to be fantastic. I should be able to get a bit more writing time in as well. And, thanks to Andreas, hopefully be able to dip into CogX a bit during the in-betweens.
Sure, helicopters were blaring outside constantly this entire weekend, but it wasn’t all chaos the rest of the week. Here’s a lighter moment Lisa and I caught during an afternoon stroll — also from just across the street.
*There was a lovely developer I worked with ages ago on the SharePoint Designer team who loved ‘stuffs’ as his go-to engineering noun. Insane edge case bug? Last minute design change request? “No problem we’ll just do some stuffs.” Worked every time!