[2024] Week 17

To paraphrase Ice Cube…”that was a good day week”.

It was the nearest to the kind of shape of week I thought I was signing up for when I took the role and gives me hope that the tide is turning towards something with a bit more balance.

I’m going to continue with last weeks positivity and spotlight five things that I am thankful for;


Tuesday I travelled to Brum to attend the LocalGovDrupalCamp unconference. My days of worrying about CMSs, wrangling requirements from publishers, advocating for open source and worrying about the accessibility of everything are long behind me but it is very much the foundation I built my career on and it was really lovely to be amongst so many passionate, smart people who are still fighting the good fight. Though some of it was probably too familiar given how long it has been since I was any kind of expert – I literally laughed at the Post-It complaining about table editing still being a problem!

The platform is ~ to me ~ the least interesting thing about LocalGovDrupal though. What excites me is the community they have built that not only co-designs the platform but also coordinates and convenes partnerships and contributions from that community when the central team lacks the resources or time but the demand has been identified. This kind of Network facilitation is brilliant and means everyone using LGD is able to punch above their weight.

Anyway ~ I’m a fan.

Pragmatic prioritisation fun 

I am cursed/blessed to never really escape the call to help someone/somewhere think through an approach to prioritisation. This is (a) because it is always painful (b) Product people are supposed to do this shit and (c) I’m known to have opinions.

Anyway this week I was working through some ideas for a model that will allow a team that is supporting multiple, very different products to prioritise demands from a range of stakeholders. The pragmatic element is that the products are much more inward facing and the demands can come with both political (and Political) weight behind them. More than I am used to if I am honest.

Using James’ work for the NHS as a starting point (though I greatly diverged by the end) I came up with a starter that I was pretty pleased with – something that acknowledged the environment but doesn’t just give into HiPPO hierarchy. Still needs more work but going to talk it through next week with the team and the client.

Designing a workshop (and hating Miro)

Next week I am facilitating a workshop with some folks from a client and another organisation to help them come up with a clearer vision and ask for the next phase of their work. There is a lot of existing smart thinking, but it is extremely broad, very ambitious, lacks a clear focus and is difficult to articulate the benefits to a non-technical audience. All week I’ve been nibbling at the problem of how to frame the workshop so it doesn’t feel like it is about limiting ambition but rather helping everyone get to their goals – just maybe not all at once.

Thursday I had a bit of a breakthrough and decided to try and build it out in Miro. 90 minutes later I was doing it in Google Slides with a little EasyRetro

I HATE Miro ~ and all it’s cousins ~ I find them awkward and inaccessible and the fact they have become ubiquitous is one of the worst things that happened to the digital profession…IMHO.

Anyway it looks like it might work. I’m going to walk it through with a couple of folks on Monday before the workshop Tuesday so fingers crossed.

Internal interviewing 

I was on the panel for an internal interview Wednesday. As usual I was a bit nervous before the fact ~ I’ve written before about the pressure I feel giving interviews as the decision effects so many people (whereas being interviewed never really worries me) ~ but I really enjoyed the process and getting to ask questions in a more ad-hoc manner than was possible when I was interviewing folks in the Civil Service. It helps when you get sharp, thoughtful answers than naturally lead to follow-up questions but it did remind me that I miss this aspect of my work.

IRL Peeps 

As well as chatting to folks in Birmingham at the aforementioned LocalGovDrupCamp I was in the Bristol office Wednesday where I popped out to catch-up with Gavin and today I went to our (lovely) Cardiff office where I got to see Ann, Mark and Ben as well as some colleagues from our team there. This is the most people-ing I think I’ve done in months (and tomorrow I am also going to ProductCampSW). I’m knackered as I write this but it is well earned and especially good to have a couple of hours with Ben to properly pass some things over.

Other things happened as well.

I started to get much closer to our Housing Data team work – attending some sessions and meeting more of the team. I’m properly excited by this work.

Had a really interesting conversation about the future of Outpost/Scout.

Oh and for the first time in months my blood sugar has been at acceptable levels for several days in a row ~ sure it is taking a great deal of medication to achieve that but a wins a win.

My cholesterol remains a bit terrifying though.

Anyway that’ll do – take care folks!

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