Week beginning 4 January

I’ve returned to a weeknote format that had the best reception from my teams – a response to my reflections from the end of 2020. 

Focus for the week

I’ve only a dim recollection of my focus for the week. I *think* it was something about onboarding the new interim programme director for social care and health recovery. Probably just as well. Midweek we learnt of the publication of data breached during our cyberattack (the proper place for information on that is: https://news.hackney.gov.uk/cyberattack-update/). I’m not leading that workstream but it still dominated my thoughts.. 

I did, though, set a focus for each day – part of my Agile new year’s resolutions (it’s ok to laugh or groan). That helped – and I met them all. They were:

  • Monday: to firm up my goals for the year, in consultation with members of my teams
  • Tuesday: Deliver a galvanising HackIT All Hands
  • Wednesday: Set-up the first week for the programme director 
  • Thursday: Build out the recovery roadmap with key influencers
  • Friday: Ensure we met the goals we’d set for the week

Ones to watch

I need to refresh the Trello board I was using for projects to watch. In the meantime, the following list is heartfelt but fundamentally a random selection. 

Repairs Hub – I was really pleased to catch up with the Repairs Hub show & tell from this week. The team’s talking openly about how we’re working with the HACT data standard and the directional roadmap and it’s helping me get a clearer picture of 

Cleaning insourcing – the team that cleans our offices joined the Council this week. Paul, who leads our facilities contracts has worked on this with the waste team. Despite disruption to a number of aspects of the plan along the way, as well as some external challenges, this has been achieved on time with lots of care, but no drama. 

Planning customer journey – we’ve been working away to try and improve customer satisfaction by increasing the number of enquiries we can answer first time under Soraya’s direction. This has involved improving website content (collaborating with Croydon) getting better management information and introducing a better phone system for planning duty officers so we get better at managing availability. This week, the planning team were onboarded to the phone system thanks in no small part, to William’s gentle persistence and Natalie’s amazing patience. 

Noise reporting – this has been one of those projects that’s been much harder than it could have been. But next week, we will be able to launch a new way to report noise online, which is important to lots of residents. It won’t solve the whole problem but it will leave us better equipped to do so. There are a whole group of people who’ve helped us through various stages of the project under the persistent leadership of Councillor Selman, supported recently by Councillor Fajana-Thomas. 

What I’m learning

Realism – Breaks are good. But for as long as I can remember, I return from breaks with an unrealistic sense of what I can do differently. This New Year my bubble didn’t last the first working day. I wasn’t able to tick off any of the tasks that I’d set myself to complete before the day began. Indeed, I have only just been able to archive the list.

Ending the day – I’m trying to do a short reflection at the end of each day, as a way of actually finishing work. I don’t know how effective it is: the earliest I’ve done one was 18.11 on Friday. But at the very least, keeping it private might make my weeknotes less self indulgent. 

Operating in two modes – Lots of us are operating in two modes at the moment: crisis and BAU. Crisis is short-term, reactive and decisive whilst BAU looks longer, needs to be proactive and is often deliberative. Both have their own rewards. But switching between the two modes can be hard, and being in the wrong mode in the wrong moment is bad.  

Next week

Tuesday’s HackIT All Hands declared this to be a year to shape the decade. I’ve got 51 weeks left to make that true. I think the fundamental tension this month is in making sure we’ve got the right teams in place, focused on the right things whilst knowing that we haven’t yet found the optimal formula for how we deliver. So we need to be set-up to work at greater scale and at pace whilst making sure we haven’t made things too fixed, too complicated or too rigid to change.