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Weeknotes #102 — Sooner Safer Happier

An enjoyable week. I felt like I got lots done, and had some breakthroughs with the ‘ways of work’ changes that I am trying to define for our department. I am itching to complete this, socialise it, turn it into action and get back to focusing on delivery. Hopefully I will get this out in the coming week.

This was a week in which I:

  • Started Monday morning with my first migraine in a year or so. I’m lucky in that they don’t hit me very hard, but the aura for the hour beforehand is frustrating in that I can’t see to be able to read anything easily.
  • Handed over to my small team to give brief updates on where we are with our key initiatives in a weekly department meeting. It was much more effective and interactive than me giving the updates myself; we should have done this sooner.
  • Went through the third detailed review of our low-level design for our New York office. We are on track to baseline this by the end of next week.
  • Aligned with key members of our the team on the sequencing of our next few large infrastructure changes.
  • Completed the first published version of our Team Charter. The whole exercise felt very positive and the team seemed to feel safe enough to contribute and discuss what we collectively came up with.
  • Prepared my contribution for a two-morning strategy session with the management team on Monday and Tuesday next week.
  • Reviewed and agreed the scope of back-end infrastructure work in our Dubai office following the move out of another company’s equipment from our comms room.
  • Worked with the team on planning roles across the whole of our organisation who will get involved with one of the Group’s signature programmes over the next few weeks and months.
  • Continued interviews for our Head of Infrastructure and Operations role.
  • Arranged for our CIO to meet our planned new hire in Beijing.
  • Started the outline of an ‘introduction to IT’ curriculum for a colleague in China.
  • Agreed next steps for our planned Architecture Board which is still on track to get started this quarter.
  • Discussed another printing solution with a vendor. It’s always a great experience when you feel like you have an expert in the room who can answer all of your questions.
  • Met our new account/sales manager at one of our smaller vendors, and spent some time explaining who we are and our history with their firm.
  • Attended our first school Full Governing Board meeting of the year. I miss meeting the other governors but there is something about being online that makes us more effective — it’s great to have all of the information we need at everyone’s fingertips. Our Chair is really exceeding with the amount of things that she is doing at the moment. It’s great that we now have a number of new governors around the table.
  • Attended a Meetup with the team behind the new book Sooner Safer Happier. It’s interesting how many events of this type are now being brave enough to move away from the ‘webinar’ format, with anyone being able to unmute their video and audio for the session. Telling people that they are on mute is still a regular thing, but telling them to go on mute is rare. After the authors had given us a run through of the key takeaways from the book, I took the opportunity to get some input into my specific situation and the issues I have been struggling with. The feedback they gave me was very useful. I’ve bought the book, and although I know that this won’t be the silver bullet for anything I expect it to be an interesting read.
  • Attended the fourth webinar in the Diverse Governance series, on the governing body’s strategic role in delivering an inclusive education.

  • Enjoyed two ‘random coffee’ catch-ups this week, one having been delayed from last week due to my coffee partner’s workload. It was lovely to talk to someone that I used to chat to late at night in our office that I hadn’t spoken to in almost a year.
  • Struggled to fit in my planned indoor bike exercise with early morning meetings. I had one day where I got up just after 5am to get on the bike and felt horrible all day. The early morning meetings are likely to continue until the clocks go forward at the end of March.
  • Wandered over to drop off a birthday card to a close friend who has just moved to the other side of our town. They moved somewhere bigger and better after having been a few doors away from us for a decade or so. We haven’t really seen each other for a proper catch-up since the pandemic started, but I’m still missing them. Last year I took him to see the Smoke Fairies as his birthday present; I can’t wait to be able to do this again.

Next week: Two mornings in a management strategy session, getting our New York infrastructure design completed, finishing the ‘new ways of work’ initiative, more interviews, more agile training, and trying to stay warm.

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