in Weeknotes

Weeknotes #108 — Hello blossom!

Inputs exceeded outputs this week. I felt as though there was far more information coming at me than I could process in the time available. I finished the week with a whole load of unread emails and chat messages that I will need to go through on Monday.

Spring is breaking through, with the trees behind our house now covered in blossom. Although we’re still in a form of lockdown here in the UK, there’s an optimism in the air. Sunny days make everything better.

This was a week in which I:

  • Spent time with a colleague to unpack tasks on a number of long outstanding projects relating to our infrastructure rollouts of the past 18 months.
  • Attended another team’s standup and gave some coaching advice on how to improve it. It’s very early days; people still have their training wheels on for now but it’s already better than what we did before.
  • Went to a number of meetings related to the big group-wide programme that we are involved with, stepping in for our CIO on a couple of them.
  • Agreed to work on a brief update about the programme to our part of the organisation.
  • Spent time looking at potential strategic themes for the coming 12–18 months for our team. We’ve been in receipt of so many different strategies, perspectives and metrics over the past few months, but we need something that is simple to understand and easy to communicate. I’ve gently pushed the idea of OKRs but this may be one change too much right now.
  • Agreed on our short and medium term strategy for printing infrastructure.
  • Played a very small part in the team getting the in-office information display screens up and running again in Beijing. It is so difficult to do this kind of work from a distance, with a local contract team on the ground.
  • Attended a meeting on the new production change management processes using our internal tool.
  • Agreed preparation tasks for our first local Architecture Design Authority meeting.
  • Went to a number of school governor webinars:
  • (As an aside, HfL are using Livestorm for their online webinars and the platform seems to work very well. I’m not sure people will ever completely learn the difference between the ‘chat’ and ‘Q&A’ panels on any platform — it’s an interesting case study on how difficult user interface design can be.)
  • Spent Friday in an all-day training course on Liberating Structures. I’m looking forward to introducing the concepts at work and putting them to good use.
  • Spent a few hours reading material ahead of our school Full Governing Board meeting on Monday.
  • Attended some online talks as part of an event to mark International Women’s Day at work. It was very impactful to hear Josina Machel talk about her experience of being assaulted by her then partner and losing an eye, and her subsequent experience of seeking help and justice for what happened. It is shocking how normalised gender-based violence is. In the UK a woman is killed every three days by someone she knows; in South Africa it is every eight hours.
  • Spent an evening developing and editing a talk on Ride 999 which I plan to give to our IT team in the next few weeks.
  • Attended parents evening for my eleven year-old. Being in lockdown and online means that I managed to make the event, and it was great to hear how he had been getting on at school.
  • Started our 11th year of Album Club with a visit to Siamese Dream by the Smashing Pumpkins. My friend had played this to me when we were teenagers and it had been on my ‘to listen’ list for the past 25 years or so. It was great to take the time to hear it.
  • Cleaned the downstairs windows at home. We cancelled our window cleaning contract a few months ago as we weren’t happy with them. I’m going to add this to my ‘genuinely enjoyable and satisfying jobs to do around the house’ list.

Next week: Colleagues in SA off for Human Rights Day, a Full Governing Board meeting, bringing our house into the 21st century with a smart meter installation and the return of Formula 1.

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