Here in the UK, temperatures plummeted again and we found ourselves living through frozen mornings and snow showers. The week was very busy; I ended up having to spend some of Saturday catching up with some of the tasks that I hadn’t had time to complete by Friday. Next week looks just as hectic.
This was a week in which I:
- Had a bizarre pain in my right wrist, seemingly caused by nothing in particular. I’ve never had repetitive strain injury or anything similar, so it was a bit weird. On Monday and Tuesday it hurt so much that I reached for the paracetamol, but by the end of the week it had completely gone. Things got weird when a colleague told me he had exactly the same thing, along exactly the same timeline.
- Gave my Don’t Get Hacked presentation to two of our offices. Both sessions went really well, with lots of engagement and questions from the attendees. We rolled out our password manager to the teams immediately afterwards. I am hoping that by giving people context as to why we are doing it we will get many more people enrolling and using the tool.
- Spent a lot of time putting together a couple of slide decks to be used for an impromptu project that has been set up to address some specific issues. Met with the representatives of the working group that has been assembled to coordinate responses to the problems and made further changes based on the feedback they gave me.
- Had to join an all-day workshop with senior technology leaders across our organisational division. We are still two hours behind Johannesburg until the end of the month, so the session started at 6:30am. It was also scheduled for a day where I had to go into the office for other reasons, and was snowing heavily. I started off by being on video on my phone at home as I wrestled my coat on, wandered to the station with my hands freezing as I held my phone in front of me, then switched to an iPad on the train, back to the phone when I got to London and then on my laptop in the office. It was a very janky experience with patchy network connections and device handoffs in Teams, but if the me of 20 years ago was told that I would be able to be on a videoconference on my commute to the office, my mind would have been blown.
- Took part in an operating model review for our department, along with my colleagues in the management team. We aren’t done yet, but we made a good start.
- Met with an internal software architect based in Johannesburg to go through the idea that we have for how we can manage our unstructured data. I’m still looking for someone to tell me why the approach won’t work as it seems such a simple solution, but I haven’t found a showstopper yet.
- Ran through some revised internal dashboards for interrogating the Microsoft Teams and private channels that staff are members of. One of my colleagues was new to the conversation, and brought some excellent thinking about what good could look like.
- Started a discussion on a development/product roadmap for our Cybersecurity team.
- Baselined our department’s financial forecast for the year, effectively giving us a budget to work against.
- Contributed to the monthly Governance Committee pack for one of our legal entities.
- Had my weekly catch-up with our Marketing and Communications team and agreed the final details for the big Don’t Get Hacked presentation in a couple of weeks’ time.
- Started to prepare for a review of our Team Charter which is planned for next Wednesday.
- Joined an early morning feedback session for architecture decisions that have been made in the senior governance forums in the past month.
- Attended a town hall-style meeting in our London office to hear about our annual results, which were fantastic. We heard from one of the senior business leaders of our organisation who happened to be in town; I was blown away by his presentation, particularly as he spoke about APIs and microservices with some authority and could articulate the need to adapt our systems architecture for the future. It was the first meeting in our large collaboration space since we revamped the technology to make it a fully-fledged Teams meeting room for hybrid sessions, and it worked brilliantly.
- Enjoyed our weekly Learning Hour session with an external guest who spoke to us about renewable energy schemes in developing economies.
- Attended Digital Showcase Friday to learn about our Investor Insights platform.
- Had a short Random Coffee with one of my colleagues in the Engineering team.
- Joined everyone from our London office for drinks and food at a local bar, the first time we have all got together since Christmas.
- Watched with admiration as once again Sharon O’Dea took companies to task on LinkedIn as they posted their commitment to gender equality on International Women’s Day, whereas in reality they have substantial gender pay gaps.
- Started paying more for train tickets, with a return to London increasing from £25.50 to £27. Tube fares in Zone 1 also went up from £2.50 to £2.70. I’m just grateful that I no longer have an annual season ticket, which now costs an incredible £5,864.
- Had a meeting with a representative from Hertfordshire County Council to discuss strategies how we can improve on the number of children applying for nursery places. We have a few things that we can try.
- Attended the HFL Education Chairs Strategic Information Briefing. There is always so much good content.
- Met with our personal financial advisor for the first time in a while. It’s reassuring to know that we have someone who is keeping an eye on things for us as we plan for our future.
- Enjoyed two album club nights, hosting one online with a few friends from work and going to another in person on Friday night. I chose The Who’s Quadrophenia, which is the first album of theirs that I ever got into. It was wonderful to sit down and listen to it closely the whole way through.
- Continued to make my way through Chris Packham’s Fingers In The Sparkle Jar. I don’t think I’ve read an autobiography quite like it.
- After a week of gentle ‘recovery’ indoor riding, took part in the Berkhamsted Cycle Club Spring Classic reliability ride. The weather had warmed up a little, and stayed almost completely dry throughout. It’s a much tougher ride than it looks on paper, with big headwinds to deal with, but I felt better than when I did the same ride last year.
- Enjoyed a lovely dinner out with some close friends at Per Tutti in Berkhamsted. They serve lovely, simple, delicious Italian food. We had a table booked before 7pm and I think it’s the way forward — it’s was great to be back at home with a little bit of evening to spare.
Next week: A train strike, a school governor meeting, some school governor training, a presentation and a comedy night.