Week beginning 23 November

I suspect there are lots of valid interpretations of this week. Through one lens, we’ve made good progress in understanding better and enabling the path to data recovery of key systems. Through another, we keep hitting unique obstacles that mean that almost everything is taking longer than expected. On one hand, colleagues across the Council continue to show incredible patience and understanding at the end of a tough year. On the other, the complexity of an organisation with as many different service lines as a local Council means that if you were to arrive afresh and look at our portfolio activities the easiest observation would be ‘no wonder things hit blockers – you’re spread too thinly!’

For my part, I tried to ‘do no harm’ for most of this week. I tried to help team members focus on successfully completing our goals for the fortnight and left alone things that I couldn’t make any better. By that low bar, I think I succeeded. We met four of our goals and partially met four more. The two that weren’t met were for reasons that we now understand but couldn’t have identified beforehand. I promptly dealt with most things that came my way.

But at times I also felt lost. The freneticism of the early days wasn’t required. Some of our most important projects have either settled into rhythms or don’t yet require them. I’d promised myself not to focus on new things. And so I had a bit of space in my diary – but wasn’t sure how best to use it. It’s one of the side-effects, I think, of setting team goals rather than personal goals. 

I also realised how extraordinarily fortunate I’ve been during lockdown. For two days this week the dining table, where I’ve been working, was out of action. And it coincided with a flaky internet connection. So my wife and I were switching between the couch and the bedroom, and I was constantly trying to find a stable signal. For most colleagues, that will have been the norm every day for eight months now. It’s tough.

There lots of positive things that caught my eye, including:

  • I’d asked a team to look at some business continuity options around council tax processes and the initial analysis was really impressive
  • The data and insight weeknote is turning into a ‘must read’ and Beth has really captured Daro’s voice in this week’s
  • Soraya has done a nice job pulling together the next phase of the project plan for recovering land charges data
  • I was lucky to catch the ‘Here to Help’ service show & tell and particularly enjoyed hearing from so many different people in that multidisciplinary team
  • Cyber Silver reviewed detailed but really clear explanations of some of the networking and infrastructure options for how we support connectivity for our print room and ID card systems
  • The GIS team has worked hard and with typically little fanfare to recover a version of Earthlight which colleagues use to view our physical assets around the Borough

Next week

I’m really keen to start the week well. The last couple have felt like I’ve eased into them rather than confronting them. The challenge, I think, is how to take the goals for the fortnight and then convert those into a set of specific things I need to do, ensuring that those things are in support of the team, adds value and fits into their way of working.