Week beginning 13 December

After the excitement of the last few weeks this was largely a pedestrian experience. Which, as first sentences go, isn’t the best selling point. But there were helpful five conversations that marked my week. 

Rob, Cate and I met the Chief Executive to discuss transformation. One of the big questions that I let with was how we make sure we’re mindful of the opportunity cost. As we get into the long tail of cyberattack recovery we’ll need to make sure that we’re focusing on the things that will matter most to our residents and businesses. But it’s also about balance, to an extent we get permission to be bold from delivering the basics: good WiFi, reliable technology and delivering our commitments. 

We had an important conversation between two product teams (Manage My Home and the Document Evidence Store) about document management. There’s often a tension between doing the right thing and delivering value for users quickly. The relentless pursuit of one will typically lead to problems later. It’s where the one way and two way door concept is so helpful. We were able to agree an imperfect way for Manage My Home to manage documents now, which doesn’t prevent a more sophisticated solution being developed early next year – and may teach us more about what matters most about the better solution. 

On Thursday we met the finance systems team to talk about their hopes and fears for our future shape. One of the big themes was how we recognise specialist expertise (in this case, understanding of financial regulations) with more general expertise which enables people to have a clearer career path. And where we need to move from one to another, we need to do so in a way that’s respectful of people’s work to date. 

I had two interviews on Friday – both very different in character – but from which I learnt more about managing change. 

A proportion of the week was also spent responding to the Log4J security breach, in common with most of the world. There were a number of things where we needed to be careful and diligent. But, as far as I could tell, our risk profile was lower than many of our peers, as a result of the way that we’ve been able to recover from the cyberattack. And our security model means that weaknesses are much more contained. Despite that, there is no good reason to be complacent and the line-by-line analysis will rightly continue into next week.

I was pretty tired throughout the week (it took two sittings to finish off season three of Succession) and one of the things I noticed in particularly was that I found it harder to be careful in how I participated in conversations. I think that’s unusual but I also know that I find it harder to invest the effort in a video chat than in real life. Somehow there (wrongly) seems less consequence. 

So next week is my last working week of the year to define a decade. I’ve started to think about the retrospective of the year but with our Silver response group having an actual retro on Tuesday, will hold those ideas loosely until we’ve learnt together.