It was a week of reunions. On Monday night I met up with the wonderful people from the WB-40 podcast Signal group, most of whom I hadn’t seen in over a year. We had such a good time; I hadn’t laughed so much in a while. I love these people. Dinner was at Granger & Co in Clerkenwell, a beautiful art-deco style restaurant where we could actually hear each other — at our (average) age, an important feature for a venue to have.
The next evening I went to the pub to meet friends that I made in my first job after I left university. We’ve got that all-important member of the group who lives abroad, so when he’s in town he’s the one that suggests getting together. (It’s interesting to me how physical distance can often bring people closer.) I’m so lucky to have worked with such a wonderful group of people so early on.
Thursday was Open Mic Night at The Goat in Berkhamsted. Fellow Album Club member Ed and his band Pulling Mussels had a slot booked as the ‘feature act’ halfway through the evening, so a couple of us went down to support him. They were excellent. However, I’m not sure someone shouting out “They’re better than the house band!” was that useful when the landlord of the pub plays in the house band. Fingers crossed that they will get asked back.
As Friday evening approached, I started feeling a bit groggy. It’s sometimes difficult to separate the feeling of having had a busy week with lots of late nights from actually getting sick. I had been seeing the reports that COVID-19 cases were on the rise so it was somewhat inevitable that I tested positive on Saturday morning. We had to hastily rearrange our plans so that none of us carried the virus to our older, more vulnerable relatives and instead opted for Christmas at home.
This was a week in which I:
- Created an outline for a slide deck to be used to kick off 2024 with the whole team. We have a very busy year ahead, with some immovable dates that we need to hit, so I want to try to get everyone aligned right at the start. The first part of the deck looks back at 2023; I’ve used WordCloud for Python to pull together a representation of all of our ‘wins’ from the year, with very pleasing results.
- Started to pull together a plan for a management team offsite in January. Requested quotes from a few different venues that are not too far from our office. Arranged a slot for an analyst to come and talk to us about ‘sustainable IT’.
- Reviewed the latest architectural drawings for a new office ahead of signing the lease next month.
- Met with colleagues to review a slide deck that we are submitting to a an executive leadership offsite event taking place in January.
- Created a ‘Map of Content’ page in OneNote and pinned it as a tab in our main Teams channel. It’s a simple concept that I stumbled across when getting into using Obsidian this year. The reason for pulling this together is to help relieve the problem of people in our team wondering “where the heck is everything?”
- Got everything out of my head relating to our unstructured document management project and wrote up a proposal onto a short set of slides. Quickly reviewed these with a colleague.
- Created a new AgilePlace board to be used as a risk log for our change initiatives. This plugs an obvious gap for the team, and will sit alongside the one we already use for managing ongoing operational risks.
- Renewed our password manager subscription for the next 12 months.
- Uploaded our Group’s latest social media video to our office digital signage platform.
- Spent time fixing a presentation, aligning objects and ensuring that images kept to a fixed aspect ratio. PowerPoint is great but there is so much more that it could do by default — there should be a warning to people who try to stretch a photograph.
- Hosted our monthly Lean Coffee session. These sessions have been a big hit in our team and the discussions have resulted in us making some tweaks to how we work together.
- Enjoyed a Random Coffee with our head of Business Services, a close colleague who is retiring in a few months’ time.
- Attended a Product Culture-hosted meetup on Handling the Demand for Fixed Dates when putting together a roadmap.
- Enjoyed a pre-Christmas meal with my family at a local restaurant before I got properly ill.
- Loved listening to these two podcast interviews with the Smoke Fairies. They sound so relaxed and confident. Their new album is wonderful and there is such an incredible body of work to explore in their back catalogue.
Next week: An unplanned Christmas at home, trying to get well again.