in Weeknotes

Weeknotes #107 — Back to school

A happy week. It was lovely to see the boys get into their uniforms again and head back to school. Being at home has been fine — the school has been brilliant, particularly with the latest lockdown — but I really feel as though they need to get face-to-face interaction with their peers, and distraction-free work time again. I really hadn’t done much in the way of helping them with their tasks, but it still felt like a weight off to have the house to myself during the day.

I started the week with a presentation that I’d been working at on-and-off for 18 months which felt like a big positive step forward. We’ve gone from working on a monolithic backlog across the whole team into a set of smaller backlogs. My spare time during the working week was spent reviewing and refining my team’s backlog as well as getting on with closing some very long-outstanding items of my own.

This was a week in which I:

  • Presented the longer version of our ‘new ways of working’ deck. The team seemed really engaged with the material and are enthusiastic to get going.
  • Started daily ‘standups’ with my small team of three. It felt fantastic to be gathered around the Kanban board each day, focused on the work. I’ve now also reviewed our entire backlog and applied some rudimentary prioritisation to it. We took some bigger discussions offline and moved forward on a whole bunch of things that have been sitting unresolved for some time.
  • Attended a series of meetings with different participants on and stakeholders of the big group programme. Now that the ‘new ways of work’ launch is behind me, this is where I need to be spending more of my time and attention. I now have a daily one-on-one with the lead business analyst on our team who has been involved in the programme, and she spent time bringing me up to speed with some of the key concepts and status.
  • Participated in the first of a new monthly series of formal risk review meetings with the rest of the management team.
  • Finished interviews for our Network Services Manager role, and shortlisted the candidates to take forward.
  • Caught up with a close colleague who has been off work for some time battling an illness. It was great to see him, and reinforced how much I’m missing him. I hope he’s back with us soon.
  • Took part in an interesting team talk on our DNS setup, what we’re doing in the short term and where we are heading.
  • Attended the latest quarterly update from the LeanKit product manager. I am still in love with their product, and am using it now more than ever.
  • Went to a series of short lightning talks on how Nationwide Building Society has accelerated its agility. It took me a few minutes to understand what the speakers meant when kept using the word ‘society’. It must make internal corporate social responsibility discussions a little tricky.
  • Attended a school governor complaints training session. I hadn’t done this course in a few years and there are some key changes that made it worthwhile.
  • Chaired our Finance, Premises and Personnel Committee meeting at school. It was great to hear how seamless the transition back to more children being in school had been.
  • Read the electricity and gas meters for the first time in months, and found that our under-stairs cupboard floor was soaking wet. We had to call out a plumber, who discovered that a small valve had been leaking, probably for some months. The electrical connections for our entire house start there, so I’m very grateful that nothing more serious came of it. We’re now running the dehumidifier to dry things out.

Next week: More ‘walking the board’ and getting on with tasks old and new. An internal conference on the theme of International Womens’ Day. Hertfordshire Headteacher updates. The first secondary school parents’ evening for our youngest boy. A full-day immersion in Liberating Structures. And an Album Club.

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