Week beginning 20 September 

A week where by the end it was hard to remember the start. I remember now that I was intimidated by quite how many meetings I had which didn’t align with the things that were most important. But it didn’t end up like that. I was able to find just enough time to actually work through most of the goals I set. 

More and more of my work is focused on the start of things and the end of things. I spend quite a bit of time setting things up – defining what needs to be done, business cases, procurement and the like. There were three this week – around document migration, cloud engineering and income management. I’d like to be more involved in setting up the ways of working and the culture of the team but I reckon that’s often better done by others. I spend time setting things up because it’s otherwise hard to resource and I reckon it tends to take me less time than it would take someone else. 

Finishing things off is vital to ensure we deliver on our commitments and so that we can move onto the next thing. Even our most Agile projects still work towards releases that carry particular significance. We’ve resolved most of the systemic blockers to launch that we faced previously (deploying software into production, capacity for security testing, creating subdomains). So I suspect that much of what I do doesn’t add a significant amount of value. But the importance of our work on the housing register, arrears management and building control software meant that I felt a need to be close enough to the detail to understand what had to be done and our likelihood of meeting expectations. 

I’ve slipped back in my commitment to be a more active participant in show & tells. I still follow about five a week (more by video this week). But when I don’t actively think about it I slip back into listening ‘for information’ rather than actively wondering how I can best help the team. I’m partly blaming video. It’s easier to zone out than it would be when physically present not least because there are fewer clues to how other people are responding and engaging. That’s my excuse, anyway.

Next week feels significant. We’re recruiting for a secondment to run the registrars service for a brief period whilst the current, excellent manager, takes a short break. We’re agreeing the objectives for our customer success managers for the next 3-6 months. We’ve got an important session to explain what’s happening in the customer service for housing repairs and there are two meetings where we need to unblock service delivery issues. If I do those five things well, the week will have been successful. But I also need not to drop the ball on the issues that I’ve been tracking this week. It’ll take real discipline to do all that well.