in Weeknotes

Weeknotes #178 — What it means

Three years ago, on a business trip to Dubai, I took this photo of the weather forecast on my hotel TV screen. I remember sending it to friends to show them just how crazily — unbelievably — high the temperatures were. It never crossed my mind that this short time later we would see those same temperatures in the UK. Monday and Tuesday were hot. Alice Bell’s tweet captured my mood perfectly.

I stayed at home for the first few days of the week. The train companies had advised us to stay at home. Services had been reduced to two trains an hour, running slowly over potentially dangerous track. We managed to keep our house at a relatively cool 27°C but my home office is like a greenhouse; I had to keep the door open, and only had a fan blasting warm air at me for any kind of relief. The cats weren’t impressed, stretching themselves as long and low as they could in order to cool down.

I felt as though I got lots done this week, managing to get focused quickly when I was at my desk. It’s been a week of ideas, many of which I’ve had to jot down with the intention of working them out as blog posts sometime soon. This weekend I’ve had to spend some time at my desk to close off a few things as I’m about to enter a few weeks where I’m going to be short of time.

A week in which I:

  • Worked on a presentation for our Group ‘Architecture Community of Practice’ forum that myself and our CTO have been invited to speak at next week. We are going to tell the story of the work we have done over the past few years. I’m excited about sharing it with the teams across the organisation. We’ve had a first run through and will have a final check-in on Monday.
  • Met with the team developing a series of interactive dashboards to be used by our front office staff. Thought about the need for ‘rules of the road’ that everyone sticks to, i.e. ensuring that all staff regularly and consistently capture data in the source systems so that the dashboards are as useful and insightful as they can be. If you work for the police, you know that there is a minimum standard of documentation that you have to complete such as writing up incident reports; my assumption is that not doing this would be negligence or misconduct. The challenge is in moving the organisation towards a similar minimum standard, changing the culture so that this data capture is something that we just do.
  • Spent time talking through a compliance issue with an in-house application that we are developing. Hoping that my contribution was useful and may help unblock things so that we can get the tool in front of people as soon as possible.
  • Met with colleagues in the People and Culture team to discuss the work I have been preparing for our Digital Literacy programme.
  • Took part in the first internal project team meeting for the work of closing one of our offices. This first meeting was to agree the processes that we will follow, as well as the artefacts that we intend to use.
  • Reviewed and discussed the outcome of our interviews of senior leaders in our part of the organisation that we undertook as part of our digital journey mapping. Agreed how we would feed the results back to the Executive Committee.
  • Went live with our new digital signage system in London, getting the Raspberry Pi devices installed on each of the monitors in our office. I wrote up a Teams post to explain what we’ve done and how it works, as well as asking for feedback on the information that colleagues want to see on the displays. The devices also arrived in our office in Asia this week; it has been interesting to understand and deal with a number of challenges that come about specifically due to the location. Hopefully we will have them up and running in the next few days.
  • Updated the security design and end-user notes for our mandatory regulatory audio recording system following an agreement to make a small change to the setup.
  • Went through the draft proposal document for how we will manage ‘Internet of Things’ devices on our office networks.
  • Reviewed the latest formal quote for upgrading the door access system in one of our smaller offices, comparing it to a quote we received months ago. This project has taken an extraordinary amount of time for the work that is required, with lots of back-and-forth with vendors. Agreed next steps to try and get the quote reduced.
  • Gave another IT team an introduction to LeanKit and explained how we came to adopt it a couple of years ago.
  • Attended an online internal town hall-style meeting on the topic of being Human First. Gave some feedback to colleagues in London who were promoting the event.
  • Met with our audio/visual equipment and services vendor to review our latest requirements for our London office and agreed next steps.
  • Booked flights and a hotel for my first business trip since February 2020.
  • Enjoyed an insightful presentation on the automation of our travel processes.
  • Completed online First Aid at Work training ahead of my in-person requalification course next week. It’s been a while since I’ve held a certificate and I’m looking forward to being qualified again.
  • Had a lovely random coffee with a colleague in the Investment Banking team.
  • Completed an analysis of technology spend in the primary school that I support as a governor, and put forward a plan for work next year. The school have already taken this forward with our current and planned technology support vendors.
  • Agreed to look at becoming a Strategic Leader of Governance for Herts for Learning. It is a volunteer role where I will get to mentor and give advice to Chairs of school governing boards across Hertfordshire. I hope it is not quite as tough as the SLOG acronym suggests.
  • Enjoyed ‘shoegaze night’ at the latest Album Club.
  • Have had the song Perfect Man by Rufus Wainwright whirling around my head. I don’t think this song gets anywhere near the recognition it deserves — it’s a genius piece of work which happens to be both melancholy and funky at the same time. I can’t believe it’s been a decade since it came out.

Next week: Presenting at the Architecture Community of Practice, a summer social at work, attempting to requalify as a First Aider, a debrief from our recent conference and preparing for a trip.

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