in Weeknotes

Weeknotes #90–91 — Double Diamond

Another couple of weeks that went by in the blink of an eye. The overwhelming feeling from the team is that everyone is worn out. December in South Africa is like August in the UK in that it is typically a time at work where things completely wind down; people are hanging on in there for their break.

Since we hit the last of our firm committed deadlines for 2020 a few weeks ago, things have felt a little bit adrift for me. There’s a lot happening, but I feel like I am in the ‘discover’ phase of the Double Diamond model, except that there are at least three or four Double Diamonds in play at the same time. More new things and pieces of information are landing on my desk than I am able to keep up with.

The wider organisation has kicked off some major initiatives and we are still working out what the impact is on us, and what we should do in response. I really suffer from being interested in everything, and wanting to learn as much as I can about the topics that come up. I need to try and keep myself operating at a higher level as there is no way that I can do it all.

Over the past two weeks I:

  • Have once again rediscovered my love of reading. When I felt ill a couple of weeks ago I wasn’t able to do much other than sit around and read, and I loved it. I felt the same when I found myself in hospital on holiday a few years ago — it was rubbish, but at least I could spend hours on end reading my book. I’ve taken to reading again whenever I get the chance, avoiding other distractions like social media and reading the news. It’s amazing how much material you can devour when you prioritise it.
  • Lost out on a key hire that we were making into our team when the candidate was offered a dream job in another company. We’re back to square one, and need to think of a different approach. Not having someone in this role continues to hamper us.
  • Heard some bad health news from two of my friends. It’s really been a year for it. Hoping they and their loved ones are on the mend soon.
  • Had a brilliant introductory meeting with a promising vendor in Beijing. They asked all the right questions and made us feel like they are there to help solve our problems, not to just throw things our way to make a quick buck. I’m hoping that they live up to their initial promise and our discussions bear fruit.
  • Spent a lot of time contributing our formal annual risk assessment for IT, and stepped in to represent IT in reviewing the summarised report across all of the departments.
  • Made some steps forward with establishing a regional IT Architecture board.
  • Reviewed our project backlog and made a quick and dirty summary of where any of the initiatives would require funding, if they were to be prioritised.
  • Chaired the Finance, Premises and Personnel Committee meeting at our school. I continue to be so impressed and proud of all the work that the staff are doing. They are incredible people.
  • Met with the Chair of Governors, the Headteacher and our Improvement Partner for the Headteacher’s annual appraisal.
  • Interviewed a prospective new governor. After a few years of drought it feels as though there are quite a few people putting themselves forward for the role, which bodes very well for the future.
  • Attended the latest LeanKit product update. Planview have just been acquired and I was concerned about what this meant for the company, so I continued my recent run of asking lots of questions in all of the webinars that I’ve been going to.
  • Got brought up-to-date with the state of Microsoft Project at the Microsoft 365 UK User Group meeting. Project for the web seems like a very basic ‘minimum viable product’ at the moment, and is definitely something that I won’t be using any time soon.
  • Thought a lot about the words of one of my colleagues when he said that “You spend time with the people you love”, or something to that effect. My boys have a couple of days off school soon, so I’m planning to take one of the days off to do whatever they want to do, even if that means playing some Xbox and going out for a takeaway lunch. Hopefully we can get dinner sorted for mum as well.
  • Had a random coffee with another of my colleagues in Sao Paulo, and had a lovely chat about how they had been getting on given that they had joined a new company in the middle of a global pandemic. The next week, my coffee was with a colleague in London that I knew only vaguely, so it was great to be able to get to know them a little better.
  • Spent time with a friend who is going through some difficult job-changing decisions to help him work through the various scenarios. I have my fingers crossed for him that all of the variables and timings land in his favour.
  • Popped into a live recording of the Postlight Podcast. It didn’t seem to work as well as the show normally does, but it was fun to see the two hosts live. I don’t know what I was expecting, but Rich Ziade looks nothing like his voice!
  • Enjoyed another Album Club, with a great off-piste choice by the host.
  • Joined Marika Hackman for the her new album launch gig, recorded live in an empty swimming pool.

Next week: Reviewing the project backlog with the CIO and fleshing out how we will prioritise and plan what we will do, and not do, in Q1 next year.

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