Weeknotes S6 Ep07

Higgledy piggldy topsy turvy

A bat flying in a circle and then bashing into a tree.

The first of what will be three weird weeks I think. The little one was on half term so my other half took Monday-Wednesday off so we could split childcare.

It’s meant that my week has been a bit topsy turvey. A seriously bad migraine woke me up on Monday morning at 5.30am and made Monday feel like a Thursday. Staying for the full day only reinforced the confusion[1].

However, that meant that Tuesday and Wednesday felt strangely like extra bonus days and I managed to get my head down and crack on with some of the things I’ve been thinking about for a while.

Today is Thursday and I’m at home writing this as my little one watches Cars. My team are out being excellent running another roadshow, this time in Coventry.

I’ve done a little bit of work today because there were some emails that needed answering ahead of the training that we are running next week and I can’t hold that up (more on that later).

Inadvertently, I’ve given myself a really long weekend by being off today, tomorrow (per usual) and then shifting my week around next week so that I can attend said training. So I’ll be working Tuesday, Thursday and Friday…

Next week will be weird. The week after is also higgldy piggledy as I’ve had to rearrange everything to get to SDinGov.

piggledy in a bath.

What this also means is that the days when I am available look absolutely stacked, and I’m bracing myself for a crunch when I get back into my normal working pattern again. But there’s not much I can do about that at this stage.

So what happened last week?

Monday was mostly doing administration for the training that we are running with the GDS Academy next week. The training is called the Local Leaders Digital Accelerator and we are putting 7 cohorts of 15 non-technical leaders through the training in order to help build their skills and understanding of agile methods and leading transformation within Local Government.

Fellow #weeknoter Gavin worked on this before me, and the team have worked hard with GDS Academy to put together a great course. The session next week is a pilot before we roll the course out so it will be really interesting to be in the room for two days and see what local leaders are thinking about transformation in Local Government (and see how we can iterate the course for the next session).

If you want to know more about the training we are offering as part of the fund (including this one) you’ll find that here:


On Tuesday I joined on a project call with one of the funded projects that I’m working with to hear how their design sprint is going. It was really good to just listen and hear a team that are really hitting their stride discuss their user research outputs and decide on next steps.

I read through all of the slides for the training event and commented on them for the team at GDS; it took a lot longer than expected but was worth it,

Linda asked me to write a visit briefing for our Minister who will be dropping in at the training on the first day. I’ve never written one of those before, and didn’t know how to write “lines to take” so it was good to get some exposure to writing that kind of thing, very different from the submissions I’m used to.

Then I started working on my notes for my three funded projects, I carried this through to Wednesday as it took quite a while to bring everything together. I went through all of my notes and emails and transferred key details onto post-its to go onto my canvases.

I love you, post-its

I also set up a google doc for each project, photographing and summarising my paper notes so that I have a working record of what my teams have been doing, as well as a visual progression of their projects, which I’m finding really useful. This has the secondary purpose of acting as a braindump just in case I get hit by a bus.

Working on my canvasses has been particularly satisfying as I’ve been able to see evidence building up, uncertainties becoming certainties, and I am starting to pull a clearer picture together of what the outputs of work are likely to be.

Stockport funded project: Family Context in Children’s Services. This shows my canvas evolution, the first was 15th January, the second was taken yesterday.

I’m using coloured post it’s to signify the following:

  • Green = unknowns (the canvas says worries but that’s not quite right, it’s just things I’m thinking about)
  • Pink =known knowns
  • Blue = possible outputs (actual working and useful things that the project might produce)
  • Orange = things the team are doing really well!

Once I’d done this I was able to pull information off into our tracking speadsheet where we are logging information about what makes a successful collaborative project.

Anyway, Rich keeps telling me that there’s a blog in here somewhere but I can’t see the angle for it yet. All I know is that working this way is helping me to formulate a view of the project in a way I haven’t really been able to indulge before — and I’m finding it really useful.

What else?

I managed to get to the Marsham Street One Team Gov meetup on Tuesday, and spent an hour talking about innovation with colleagues from Home Office and Defra which was really interesting. The conversation also swayed into governance so it was another good opportunity to plug Richard’s awesome post again (the gift that keeps on giving).


I also attended One Team Gov Westminster breakfast briefly which was great, both Jenny and Kit were there so it was lovely to catch up. There’s also a growing contingent of attendees from the MoD which is awesome (and possibly a credit to Nour?)

Prateek brought up the subject of diversity, specifically in the context of upcoming events that OTG are running (the bureaucracy hack and wellbeing camp).

It reminded me of something I’d read from Thayer about recruiting for diversity being a long game — you need to make a conscious effort over time.

It’s that last bit that’s often missing, and it’s what I fear we are missing when we focus on who is in the room purely in terms of one-off events that we are running. Diversity and inclusion should pervade everything we do. The long and short is that you need to build up trust with people in order for them to feel included, that takes time and concerted effort.

A cat clock. Because diversity takes time, geddit?

For OTG diversity doesn’t just mean protected characteristics, but includes people working in non-digital or technical professions. Different tribes, people outside of the civil service; each of these groups have different places where they gather and different ways of communicating (not Twitter!) that we need to work harder to get into.

As such I’ve committed to pulling lots of our blogs over from Medium into LinkedIn, so that we have a better presence there with a different. I’ll be making that my microaction over the next couple of weeks.

And what else, this is usually the section where I put a load of links and things in of cool things I’ve read and whatnot, but the cat gif is quite a lot bigger than I thought so I have to keep writing until I can break out of this right hand column (if you’re reading on a mobile I’m sure none of this will make any sense at all).

While we are talking about One Team Gov there was a great write up in Civil Service News today:

Via Alex I read this interesting report about ePetitions:

I also thought Coco’s weeknotes were excellent last week:


Sarah’s weeknotes were also excellent (thank you to Louise for tweeting about them as they didn’t show up in my medium account)


And, in weeknotes news, another great first weeknote by Hidayat (who we need to add to weeknot.es please @jukesie)


I enjoyed this video:

This, about using microbiomes to track supply chain:

I also read this about Collaboration Blindness which was useful as our team are all about collaboration:

And I read this post about something that DfE are doing which seems low-fi and useful:


Finally, when I was making this week’s playlist a song came on from a band called Black Country, New Road which I haven’t included in the playlist because it is absolutely filthy (something like early Jarvis Cocker lyrics mixed with Fat White Family? Maybe?).

Anyway, it lead me down a music search tunnel, and I discovered this video of them playing the Windmill, and despite their intense art-school hipster earnestness I quite enjoyed it.

That lead me on to searching Speedy Wunderground t(he label that put out the single) and I discovered that it’s an interesting concept. One song, one day recording, one day mixing, and then 250 pressings of the single only.


Anyway, here’s my playlist this week. I know nobody listens to it but honestly, I cracked myself up making it, so there’s that.

[1] I say a full day but I actually left about 3.30 when I realised I could no longer spell or write and was being terribly ineffective.

I started writing this at approximately 1pm and stopped at 2.30pm. I came back to it later to add gifs and a section of interesting links at the bottom which took about 30 minutes.

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