in Weeknotes

Weeknotes #118 — Sunshine, cycling and barbecues

Summer finally arrived! The weather took a turn for the better towards the end of the week and we have just spent the bank holiday weekend basked in sunshine. It may not last long, so we’ll make the most of it. The lawns have finally been mowed and it feels like we’re back in control of things.

Our eldest son was stuck at home once again, having to self-isolate after close contact with someone at school who had a positive COVID-19 test. Being only one of a few people at home was very different to the whole class, or whole year, being off. No shared lessons or check-ins. When we look back in the years to come, perhaps some of the benefit will have been that he’s had to self-start and manage his own time productively, way ahead of when it’s expected of him as a student.

Having him at home meant that I slowed down a bit at lunchtime in order to spend a little time together, instead of rushing around doing the household chores. We watched the news and I dadsplained a bit about how the House of Commons worked.

This was a week in which I:

  • Quickly prepped a summary slide for our London Governance Committee on the different communication channels available to employees and how they are governed and monitored. Later in the week I took a guest slot at the meeting to present for ten minutes on the topic, which seemed to go well.
  • Got the feedback that our presentation for the Beijing Governance Committee was well-received, paving the way for us to complete the IT infrastructure work that we started last year.
  • Watched the team peel back the layers on one of the important systems that we took over from our previous infrastructure vendor to understand how it all hangs together. We’re nearly there in putting the full picture together.
  • Spent more time in meetings on the big group programme. I’ve been struggling to get very excited about it, but I do need to get on the bus. This week I was introduced to the concept of take, shape or create — i.e. whether we just have to do something that is being forced on us, whether we can influence it or whether we make it up ourselves. For the past few years I’ve had the good fortune to be almost totally in create mode, and I am struggling a little to find how to effectively shape this work with so many people involved across the company. I will keep plugging away and hope that the enthusiasm will come.
  • Created a draft outline of material to present to our Internal Audit team, and agreed it with everyone involved in the process. Now to pull the content together.
  • Spent time with another of my peers, reviewing their Kanban board and getting it to a good starting point.
  • Attended a monthly check-in for two of our teams who don’t run regular stand-up meetings, and gave some thoughts on how to tweak the format to make it more effective. It’s a fine balance between people saying they never hear about something and them saying that they get too much information.
  • Added regular 1:1 meetings to the diary with two permanent members of the team.
  • Attended an IT ‘town hall’-style meeting for our division of the company. Not much news, but it the first one under new leadership.
  • Discussed our firm’s approach to cloud computing with our senior IT Architects for this area.
  • Attended a meeting where we learned about how our company has established an ‘incubator’ presence in Mozambique.
  • Met with our Artificial Intelligence team to review their proposal for using their tools in our part of the business. There is a lot of excitement about the possibilities that may open up.
  • Attended a presentation by a member of my team on the tools used by our Compliance department.
  • Had a random coffee meeting with our General Counsel. Really interesting to hear how he ended up in his role.
  • Joined the HeForShe Summit as a viewer. The movement for gender equality is so important, but the event didn’t live up to my expectations — it seemed to be a stream of pre-recorded videos and interviews with various state and business heads, with a text chat room alongside.
  • Had my bike serviced by the local bike shop, ahead of my planned first Audax ride in July. It’s running like a dream now. Did one of the fastest 100km rides I have ever done on Saturday and went for a fun ride from Berkhamsted to Ascot with my son on Sunday. I am in love with being out on my bike at the moment.
  • Spent most of Bank Holiday Monday setting up two Ubiquiti video doorbells on the house. DIY isn’t my forte but it went well. I discovered that decent drill bits make a massive difference, particularly when you’re trying to get through steel. The units look great and the functionality is superb. I need to tidy the wires up, but that’s a job for next weekend.
  • Went to my brother’s house for a barbecue. It’s been such a long time since we got together and it was wonderful to see him and his family. It made me realise how grown-up our boys are becoming now. Like an idiot I spent too much time in the sun and now have a pair of very red arms.
  • Decided to take Friday off to spend with my family, giving me only three days in the office next week.

Next week: A three-day week with plenty to do, our first night out for an adult dinner in over a year and the Azerbaijan Grand Prix.

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