in Weeknotes

Weeknotes #170 — The wrong staircases

A regular week with a couple of days in the office. I managed to allocate some time to looking at some of the more strategic aspects of my job and not just the immediate to-do list. Next week should be quiet as a lot of people are taking days off work to coincide with school half-term as well as the two public holidays for the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee; I’m hoping it will be equally productive.

A week in which I:

  • Got approval for the next set of infrastructure work in one of our smaller offices, to implement a modern UPS stack and environmental monitoring, and to simplify the cabling.
  • Celebrated when the team successfully worked through the telephone call quality issues in Microsoft Teams as part of our new setup in the same office.
  • Had our first weekly meeting with the main technical vendor for our annual conference. We have a month to go, so we’re getting to crunch time.
  • Closed out on the decision of a digital signage vendor and obtained a quote for two of our offices. Moving to the new platform will give us a better solution at about a fifth of the cost charged by our current supplier and allow us to extend the signage across all five of our sites.
  • Continued reviewing CVs for my Agile Coach / Product Manager vacancy. Met with someone who had been recommended to me by a friend for an introductory chat.
  • Had a couple of meetings about the dashboard work for our big group programme.
  • Spent time working on how to represent the work that we are doing at a portfolio level, both top-down and bottom-up.
  • Attended a Digital Showcase session for a presentation on our company’s sales enablement framework. Asked some questions which felt obvious to me and was glad I did.
  • Found myself in a conversation about ‘row-level security’ again, 17 years after tackling the issue on a project I ran to build an HR data warehouse.
  • Spoke to Matt about what good and bad vendor relationships look like ahead of him starting his new job. I’ve spent the past few years being the client, and have some idea as to what works and what doesn’t.
  • Reflected on how stuff is so difficult in technology when you are building products with a tiny team. There are so many disciplines to cover: security, typography, user experience, performance, architecture. What’s the right way to optimise?
  • Spoke about Conway’s Law in a meeting again. Wondered whether communication paths and the efficient transfer of information at the point of need is the ‘general problem’ for most things.
  • Enjoyed a presentation from a colleague on genealogy as part of our weekly Learning Hour series.
  • Enjoyed the first monthly Connect Day in our London office, with drinks and nibbles to round out the day.
  • Had a fun Random Coffee with one of my colleagues in the Wealth Management team.
  • Interviewed a prospective new school governor. It’s always such a pleasure and privilege to talk to someone who has decided to put their hand up and volunteer for the job.
  • Got annoyed when talking to a friend who works as a cleaner. She told me that her company has changed their holiday policy so that she can only take two of her four weeks of leave at one time. This means that she can’t spend as much time as she would like with her family back in her home country. We seem to have moved on very quickly from clapping for the people that kept things going during the pandemic.
  • Bought tickets to the Singles Night Smoke Fairies gig in November. I’m so excited to see them play live again.
  • Finished reading Re-educated by Lucy Kellaway. Picked up the next book in my Steinbeck journey, The Short Reign of Pippin IV. I’m about a third of the way through and it isn’t blowing me away.
  • Had an excellent first couple of weeks in the latest Learned League. I’ve been here before; it’s too early to know whether I can keep my run of form going.
  • Visited the doctor for the first time in years, getting my mind put to rest on a few niggles. Getting older is fun!
  • Had a great time out on the bike for a Saturday morning club ride, and a lovely run with my wife on Sunday.
  • Watched a lot of sport at the weekend, with the F1 Monaco Grand Prix qualifying and race, as well as the Champions League final. I was dog tired on Saturday night and found myself falling asleep in front of the football, despite the match being fantastic to watch. Had a friend come over for the race on Sunday afternoon which was wonderful.
  • Sat down to watch The Staircase with my wife, which a friend had recommended to us. After two-and-a-bit episodes we found out that we were watching the wrong thing completely — a documentary about the events that was made in 2004 instead of the mini-series from 2022. The documentary was bizarre in that I couldn’t understand why anyone would have allowed it to be made, and for what purpose. It was very macabre. After having watched the real-life events, the dramatisation seemed a bit pointless and badly acted. So we gave up on both.

Next week: A three-day week, crowned with birthday celebrations and a street party.

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