Back to five days at work after luxuriating with Monday and Friday off the week before. It took its toll. I had so little time that I could call my own between all of the various scheduled meetings that it was difficult to make significant progress with anything. Frustratingly, my to-do list looked broadly unchanged at both ends of the week. In the evenings I found myself struggling to stay awake in front of the TV before the clock struck 9pm. My bike training programme on TrainerRoad has ramped up in both intensity and duration so I was up a little earlier than usual on most of the weekday mornings, and this will continue for the next few months.
This was a week in which I:
- Worked through a monitoring system issue with our Compliance Officer in New York and agreed to follow up with the vendor.
- Reviewed a draft ‘lean business case’ for a proposed piece of work in our team. Templates only prove themselves when you come to use them in anger. It has been interesting to try and get our heads around the hypothesis for the entire initiative, which could be months or years of effort, versus getting to the ‘minimum viable product’ which is unlikely to have much of a short-term payoff. I haven’t seen many examples of lean business cases, let alone good ones.
- Met with our Head of Operational Risk to ensure we were aligned ahead of the next regional governance meeting.
- Promoted the concept of Kanban work-in-progress limits to our sub-teams. There seems to be a good understanding of why this is a good idea and it will be interesting to see it implemented in the coming weeks.
- Made contact with a couple of our vendors to discuss a Microsoft consultant vacancy in our team.
- Created the first ‘random coffees’ pairings for one of our global business teams. They have decided to try it out for their own group, beyond the region-wide setup I’ve been running for the past year.
- Had my own random coffees — one with a member of my team and another with our Head of Risk. My pairing spreadsheet told me that it had been 50 weeks since the Head of Risk and I last got together for a chat. It’s gone so fast.
- Joined an online live event to get an update from our division’s Chief Executive.
- Attended an architecture overview session on our firm’s plans for data management. I ran a project to build a data warehouse from scratch back in 2004–5 and it was interesting to hear some of the terms from that era again, alongside many new ones.
- Had lots of interesting discussions peppered throughout the week about the thought process of returning to the office and what form it takes.
- Caught up with an old colleague on a new project we are both involved in. It was fascinating to hear what he had done since we parted ways six or seven years ago, and contrast it to how I’ve approach things. I’ve never had a long-term career goal whereas he planned a number of different moves and executed them. It was inspiring to hear how he went about it.
- Installed some D-Line Micro Trunking to hide the wires for our two new doorbells. They are excellent and the process couldn’t have been simpler; even I with my extremely limited DIY skills have managed to make them look quite good. I’m short by a couple of lengths so I’ll have to finish the job off next week.
- Put my new pictures up in my home office. They are fabulous, but I wish the glass was non-reflective as they are a bit difficult to see.
- Went for a solo bike ride on Saturday morning, following a route I found on Ride With GPS. I’m not sure I’ve ever sweated so much on an outdoor ride; at one point I could barely see with all of the salt going into my eyes. I’ve ordered a couple of headbands to try and combat it for next time. The route was a bit hairy in places with some very dodgy pot-holed and grit-covered single track roads, but it was great to try something new. There are so many blackflies and greenflies around this year; my legs came back looking like a car number plate from the 1980s.
- Bought some new cycling shoes from my local bike shop. I’m hoping to break them in over the next four weeks before my big ride.
- Tuned into as many of the UEFA Euro 2020 football matches as I could. I was as stunned as everyone to see the footage of Christian Eriksen’s collapse and resuscitation on the field during the Denmark v Finland game, and even more stunned when the teams resumed playing later in the afternoon. I hope he makes a full and speedy recovery.
- Ran the line for my youngest boy’s friendly football match. I really enjoy doing it. I was very grateful for an early kick-off as it was a sweltering day.
- Booked a holiday for next year with some close friends. It’s over a year away but it’s something to look forward to.
- Attended an Album Club in person for the first time since February last year. We had a cautious approach, with a well-ventilated room and a couple of people sitting out in the garden. I’m grateful for the videoconferencing services for seeing us through the past 18 months, but getting together in person to socialise is so much better than online.
Next week: Looks much the same as this week, perhaps with even more meetings, and the same puzzle of how and when I will be able to get anything else done. I have some deadlines to meet so something’s got to give.