Week notes for 2022 week 39.

Monday 26 to Friday 30 September 2022. 


Jen & I were in Sheffield for the end of firebreak. I was knackered and ill afterwards. Friday was the last day of our job share. Thursday is now my community education day.

Working week 

Monday was the penultimate day of the team’s firebreak. We’d spent a week working on stuff that met the following 3 rules: 

We use Trello to manage our work. Other teams use Jira and I was keen to see what it was like. So 1 of my firebreak tasks was to build a Jira prototype. Someone once told me that snowboarding is easy to pick up but difficult to master, whereas skiing is difficult to pick up but easy to master. Well Jira comes across as difficult to pick up and difficult to master. Trello’s user experience is simple whereas Jira’s is not. Yes, it’ll get easier the more I use it, but I didn’t get very far with a prototype, despite help. But I haven’t given up, yet. 

Monday afternoon I met up with my job share partner Jen and travelled to Sheffield together. We spent the journey discussing the people in our team and the platforms we use. It was very productive and I came away with a couple of huge mind maps. Did this because it’s the last week of our job share. Jen’s got a promotion to lead delivery manager in a different part of Justice Digital and I was nervous about becoming the Content Hub’s sole delivery manager. The mind mapping helped. Got to Sheffield, checked into the hotel and went to Cutlery Works for dinner with a fellow colleague. Then back for an early night. But I didn't sleep well. 

Tuesday morning Jen and I had an early breakfast then went out for a walk. We chatted about how the job share had gone, what we’d learnt and so on. I enjoyed this. Headed over to the office and met up with colleagues. Did the first part of our firebreak show and tell and went out for a team lunch. Came back, did a retrospective on the firebreak, finished off the show and tell, then went for team dinner. Tried getting another early night, but didn’t sleep well again.

Slide titled "Design inspiration" which has a collage of different stickers from across the civil service digital, data and technology community.

Inspirations for the team's new stickers which were designed in firebreak.

Woke up Wednesday feeling groggy. Checked out, went to the office and did standup plus a couple of backlog refinement sessions. Then ran a coaching workshop for the developer community of practice with Amy and Jess. It was surprising just how many devs dropped out of the session just before we started the breakout sessions. But 5 people stayed, tried coaching and had a good retro afterwards. We learnt some stuff to try next time. Headed off for my 1437 train to London, by which time I was feeling rough. Sat with Jen and Kate on the way home, but ended up with my head in my hands and trying to get some kip. Got home, went to bed. 

Spent most of Thursday was spent in bed. Managed to run a team session with Kevin, our service owner. Was praised by Craig, our user researcher, for playing back what we’d discussed at the end of the session. Couple of other meetings then finished early, dosed up with drugs and went back to bed. On reflection, 2 sleepless nights in Sheffield weren’t a good idea. The hotel room had a bath, so I’ll take my bath additives and skin emollients next time, which really help me relax.

Friday was feeling better. Ran standup and said goodbye to Jen and Zakir. There was lots of emotion, obs. Zakir’s a fast streamer who’s been with us for a few months and has done a good job. He’s now off to the College of Policing for his next posting. Had a couple more meetings, then started clearing down Jen & my’s job share accounts + removing Jen and Zakir from our team tools. Final thing was to turn on the out of office on our joint inbox. Had some emotions. 

Now that our job share has sadly finished, I'm making some changes to my working hours. Rather than working a total of 3 days a week, I'm going up to 4 days a week. I'm also swapping from working 1230 to 1700 everyday, to working a full 9 to 5 on Monday to Wednesday + Friday. This means Thursday becomes the day I spend on my private work. 

Talking of which, I'm working on something really interesting at the moment. Will tell you more soon, but suffice to say that Thursday in now my community education day ;-)

What I've learnt this week: