in Weeknotes

Weeknotes #179 — CPR towel

I wish it would rain. It’s been so hot and dry in the UK, with some parts of the country already taking measures against the drought. I took the photo above as I walked through the village of Potten End on Thursday. Usually this village pond is full of water; it was a shock to see it so dried up.

Work felt a bit of a struggle this week as I couldn’t seem to shake an overwhelming tiredness. I found myself needing to eat something in meetings where I was taking more of a back seat role just to keep my eyes open. I have a few weeks coming up where I’m in workshops and taking a few days off, so I tried to focus to get things into a good state before the turbulence kicks in.

A week in which I:

  • Attended an Architecture Deep Dive into our cloud computing setup. Moving the IT assets of a large organisation from an on-premises setup to the cloud is a fascinatingly difficult problem, with multiple approaches and tradeoffs to be navigated throughout the work.
  • Along with our CTO, completed and delivered a virtual presentation to the Architecture Community of Practice on the work that we have done over the past five years. It felt as though the presentation went down well, but it was difficult to gauge as not many people had their cameras on. Hopefully it is the start of more collaboration with the teams across the Group.
  • Created the Kanban cards for our work to shut down one of our regional offices, and reviewed the consolidated milestones for the work across all of the other departments. Discussed the approach to planning with the project manager. Recruited a peer to get involved with representing us at the project management forums as I won’t be able to make the meetings for the next few weeks.
  • Reviewed the plan for the second phase of a physical infrastructure change in one of our offices. Getting this work completed will be a massive win, vastly simplifying our physical architecture in line with our new design.
  • Had a very insightful conversation with one of our executives as part of our work to understand more about the challenges faced by our business. We are using the information as input into how we can extend our digital capabilities to best effect. The discussion went for double the time it was booked for and gave us lots to think about.
  • Attended a de-brief of our annual Investors’ Conference that took place at the end of June.
  • Met with our divisional CIO who was visiting our London office. Demonstrated a Meeting Owl Pro camera as part of a hybrid meeting with him. We’ve sent one of our cameras to Johannesburg for the purpose of lending it to our colleagues there, enhancing our experience when colleagues get together in a room over there.
  • Met with a vendor that we use for our mobile phone contract to discuss their broader offerings.
  • Had our monthly catch-up with our head of Operational Risk.
  • Met with a colleague in our Wealth Management team for a random coffee. It’s great meeting people for a second time as you get straight into a meaty conversation.
  • Re-qualified in First Aid at Work again. I’ve been a first aider on and off for the past twenty years or so and only let my training lapse when I was working for my own company as a contractor. Embedding the knowledge over a long time frame is very useful, despite that knowledge changing over time to follow current best practice. The changes due to COVID-19 might have been appropriate in March 2020 but are a little silly and outdated now, advising you to put a towel or piece of cloth over someone’s face so that they don’t breathe on you when you administer CPR chest compressions.
  • Decided to take a two hour walk home from the training session instead of getting a taxi. Regretted wearing jeans after ten minutes of the journey.

  • Took my son to the Watford Open track meet. He managed to get a new personal best in the 1,500m which he was very pleased with.
  • Enjoyed the much delayed instalment of our International Album Club with some friends and colleagues from work. I’d never heard of Joe before, let alone listened to one of his albums. The modern version of R&B is not the sort of thing I’ve explored much. It took me back to similar music of the past and it was great to hear something different. Very enjoyable.
  • Spent Saturday prepping for a business trip, my first since I came back from New York in February 2020. Shirts ironed, bags packed, travel checklist checked. I flew to Johannesburg overnight on Saturday, not sleeping very much. I wondered how much thought goes into the acoustics of an aircraft cabin layout — I seemed to be able to hear every conversation that was taking place from the front to the rear galleys. I may need to give the ear plugs a go on my way home.
  • Enjoyed a lovely Sunday afternoon with the family of a friend from work. We had lunch out and then tea and cakes back at their house, playing air hockey and table football with their young boys and making friends with the lovely family dog. They were very gracious when I thought we might put the final of the UEFA Women’s Euro 2022 on. I’m so glad they were! A fabulous day.

Next week: An in-person workshop on agile software development practices, meeting some of our team for the first time, rounding out the week back at home and packing once again.

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