in Weeknotes

Weeknotes #173 — Table top

I go past this bus stop every day when I walk to my office. It looks like it is not long for this world, but somebody wants to keep it open.

I go past this bus stop every day when I walk to my office. It looks like it is not long for this world, but somebody wants to keep it open.

As wonderful as it was to go away for the weekend, I felt a little devastated on Monday. The weekend of cycling didn’t look that dramatic on paper but it took its toll, and I found it to be an effort to string coherent sentences together. I’d felt ill on Sunday’s ride so I wasn’t sure if it was related to that, or just general fatigue and loss of salts from all of the sweaty work.

I always start each week with a determination to jot things down as I go for these weeknotes. Getting very busy means that the habit falls away, leaving more work to do at the weekend to recall everything that happened. This week felt hectic; try as I might I still ended each day with some ‘must dos’ on my list that I hadn’t got to.

A week in which I:

  • Spent half a day with our Group Head of Enterprise Architecture who was in town to attend a conference. It was interesting to bring him up to speed with the work that we have done in our part of the organisation over the last few years. We also spoke about the state of of our organisation’s strategy and initiatives that are in progress in the wider group.
  • Noted that we’re reaching the business end of the preparation for our upcoming Investors’ Conference. Our technology vendor came on site to test connectivity to cellular data networks ahead of the setup next week. I ran the penultimate internal project meeting, and participated in getting some of the technical aspects of the event website set up. We also went through the physical build plan for the days leading up to the event. So much has to happen. Most of the work is non-technical; one of the joys of working where I do is the ability to be involved with projects across the organisation and to get a great breadth of experience.
  • Took part in a series of fascinating interviews with senior leaders in our business. We spoke to heads of product as well as Chief Executives of some of our international offices. The goal wasn’t to talk to them about technology, but to get insight into what business challenges they face and what their goals are. We gathered so much interesting information from the sessions. One of the best things about our company is that people make time for you and are willing to talk. I’m excited to continue these discussions next week. Once we’ve finished we will need to step back and look at what we’ve been told, with a goal of assessing how we can spend our limited technology resources for the greatest impact to the organisation.
  • Made a little progress with recruiting for the Agile Coach / Product Manager role in my team. I was put in touch with a recommended contact as well as received a few more CVs. It’s going to be difficult to make good progress with this over the next couple of weeks but I need to try and get things properly in motion.
  • Took part in a ‘table top’ exercise with the rest of the team, simulating what we would do if a major IT problem hit one of our offices. The session was really well run and there were lots of good things that the team learned from the session. We are fortunate in that we don’t experience significant issues very often, but this means that we may not be match fit for when one does strike. Exercises like this one are there to get us into shape.
  • Completed work on the revised proposal for the audio/visual setup of our largest meeting rooms and our collaboration space. We now need to review the proposal with our CIO.
  • Was introduced to a new colleague who will be joining us soon in one of our regional offices. It will be the first time that we will have had a full-time IT presence there. It’s going to be good to have a new face in the team.
  • Met with a consultancy that has been hired by our technology leadership to look at the culture of the organisation. I’m never shy about giving my opinions. It’ll be interesting to see what comes of their one-to-one interviews and focus group sessions.
  • Enjoyed a Learning Hour presentation given by one of my colleagues on the topic of client ecosystems.
  • Continued to work on a school governance project, supported by the wonderful people at Herts for Learning.
  • Attended the latest Herts for Learning Chairs’ Strategic Information Briefing. As ever, the content was excellent. I’m very impressed by the Livestorm platform — it’s the best one I’ve seen for online events like this.
  • Tried to keep cool as we were hit by 32°C weather on Friday. We found that two of our portable fans that we bring out for these occasions weren’t working, so I took them to the recycling centre and bought some new ones. There are less visible moving parts on the replacements so I’m hoping they will last a bit longer.
  • Said bon voyage to my wife who headed off to Portugal for a well-deserved and long-delayed weekend with her friends.
  • Enjoyed a weekend at home, catching up with lots of chores. Had a lovely Saturday evening out with my boys, grabbing dinner and watching Top Gun: Maverick (2022). The storyline was completely predictable, but that didn’t stop it being a lot of fun.

Next week: One week until the conference. Train strikes and an Album Club.

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