Weeknotes S6 Ep10

End of season finale

Liz Lemon zips her mouth shut

First thing’s first. We’re in purdah. There are local government elections coming up and as I work for MHCLG I have to be very careful. So when I talk about work related stuff I’m going to only focus on the things that have happened and are already published in the open.

Aside from work stuff, people reading this should probably have worked out already that this blog is for my personal thoughts about how I work. so this post doesn’t really reflect anything wider than that.

This is Ep10, and in honesty, I’ve been struggling a bit with writing recently. I’m not sure why, I’m feeling a bit like the community has grown so much that I’m not sure who is here anymore and who is interested in what I have to say. It’s probably also as a result of people moving to their own platforms.

Anyway, it being Ep10 and purdah means it’s probably as good a time as any a good to stop and have a think about that for a bit.

This week in (not very) brief:

Monday.

I worked from home because I hadn’t fully gotten over the migraine (and cold) that I mentioned last week. I had been trying to get a blog post finished for our team, but the migraine meant I couldn’t write. I tried over the weekend but it wasn’t working. I had to finish it on Monday so that we could get it approved and posted before purdah.

You’ll find it here: https://mhclgdigital.blog.gov.uk/2019/03/25/following-our-funded-projects/

It explains what myself, Egle and Adam in my team have been doing over the past few weeks following the 16 projects that we’ve funded. It explains what we’re looking at as we follow those projects and why we think those things are useful.

I wish I’d had more time to write it properly. My brain wasn’t at capacity and I when I read it back I get a bit frustrated that it’s not as well crafted as I’d like. Some of the sentences are too long, some are a bit clumsy. This is the first post I’ve made in a professional capacity I think. I’ve only ever blogged unofficially!

If I write on here it doesn’t really matter because it’s just me, but I think it matters more when we’re talking about our work from an official place to the public, and I don’t think things should be perfect, but I wish it was a bit better. I guess that’s a lesson for next time.

On Monday afternoon I had a lovely call from Louise and I felt very lucky again for this network of public sector (and beyond) digital heroes.

Tuesday.

I thought I was feeling better from the migraine but looking back I’m not so sure. I had a catch up with Linda and Eni about the actions from the retrospective for the Local Leaders Accelerator, which was productive.

Then I met with Olly, the lead from Social Finance for my Manchester Funded project. They will be sending their outputs from their discovery project today, which is exciting. I genuinely can’t wait to see these and it’ll be really interesting to review the approaches and outcomes.

Wednesday.

Felt like a long day. I joined a call with Linda at 9am, wandered back for standup, did some sprint planning. In between all of that I needed to write presentations for our showcase and for a team show and tell Adam, Egle and I were doing about each of our projects.

In retrospect we massively underestimated how much time we would need for this, so Egle took 20 minutes and I only had enough time to go through one of my projects – so we agreed to do more on Thursday.

My slides from the internal funded projects presentation

Then we headed to our showcase with Paul’s Digital Land team. I do really enjoy these as it gives me a lot of pride to see my team up there explaining our mission – but I’m not as keen on the actual presenting bit.

We live stream these which is daunting, and the turnout was large which was more daunting. I presented about our blog, and afterward felt pretty meh about the whole thing.

But actually streaming is useful for me because it means that I can watch myself back and shut up some of those louder impostor voices. I’m always slightlybtaken aback that I wasn’t terrible, and its good to learn from.

Showcase on YouTube

It was also nice because @jukesie was in the building and stopped by to say hi. Though he neglected to mention that it was his birthday!

Anyway, you can watch the showcase if you want to. It is worth it for Downey’s drawings if nothing else.Digital Land and Local Digital Collaboration Unit Showcase YouTube

I don’t know if I’ve mentioned this before. But when I was in university I had to give a presentation for one of my modules. I was so nervous, no, more than that. It was pure terror. I panicked, I couldn’t get my words out. Afterwards I deliberately chose modules I didn’t want to do just because the ones I was most interested in had a presentation element.

I actively avoided speaking in public for such a long time because of that.

I’ve also been thinking a lot about hand waving. Watching this stream back it really strikes me how different men and women present. When I joined the Cabinet Office a couple of my male colleagues used to tease me because of how much I use my hands when I speak. It was only gentle teasing but I’ve thought about it a lot ever since.

I’m not uncomfortable with the amount I use my hands but I’ve wondered whether I started doing it more because I was worried about not being understood. I’ve always been really worried about being people misconstruing something I’ve said or thinking that I’m an idiot. It’s a big part of my anxiety. When I first joined the Cabinet Office my impostor syndrome was very real, I wondered if I’d started emoting more to make sure that these people (who I perceived to be exceptionally intelligent) could understand my language.

Scorsese hand waving

I’d also assumed that it was, in part, due to being a woman. But I wasn’t sure why. Do women use their hands more when they speak in public? Ok, I’ve just Googled that for you, and I still don’t know, but here’s an interesting article. The Fascinating Science Behind ‘Talking’ With Your Hands

I definitely think that I visualise things in 3D and I need to use my hands to signify how things fit together and the “shape” of the thoughts I’m trying to articulate. I use my hands to show timelines and to compartmentalise or emphasise things.

Anyway, I’m thinking more and more about how to best tell the story of not just how our team are working, but of the projects we’re tracking. I’m excited to see what I can do.

After the showcase I met with a new colleague Matt, and chatted through one of my projects for him. He made an interesting comment about what our role was. “Collaboration Lead” doesn’t really explain much and he asked if we were user researchers or service designers, I said more like product managers but also engagement leads and I think it speaks to the ambiguity of what we are working on at the moment that I didn’t really know how to answer.

Thursday.

I worked from home again and I felt like I needed to. I went from stand up, to sprint planning and then straight into the second part of our funded projects presentation via hangout, I enjoyed talking about the projects I’m tracking because I think they are each really interesting.

Unfortunately we underestimated time again, so Adam will be presenting on his projects next week. I think we might do a live version of this if people are interested, but I’m not sure if we will have to wait until purdah is lifted.

Friday.

I joined a call today with my funded project from Stockport where they presented their most recent user research (even though it’s my non working day) because I can’t make a workshop with them next week.

They also posted a blog earlier in the week which explains some of what they’ve been doing. Family context project: The “Design Sprint” & beyond!

And now, I’m still feeling really headachey and odd, so I’ve been slowly building up this weeknote while rewatching episodes of Fleabag. Moriarty, amirite?

What else?

Next week I’m going to go back and do a retro on this series of weeknotes, so there might be a post about that.

I had some really exciting news that someone I really rate has just landed a great new job. I can’t talk about it yet, but they are excellent and I am super excited for them.

I watched this documentary by Phillipa Perry and she tweeted me too!

I also watched this episode of storyville about the silk road. Storyville – Silk Road: Drugs, Death and the Dark Web

I’ve been listening to Caroline Criado Perez’s Invisible women on Audible because I bought the book and then it was a hardback tome that I couldn’t bring myself to carry. Still, it’s a very good listen, a lot of information, a lot to take in. It reminds me of The Beauty Myth, but it’s maybe, not quite so, depressing. Anyway, I’m sure you’ve read it already, but in case you haven’t…Invisible Women by Caroline Criado Perez – a world designed for men

I’ve been doing more tweeting and bits and pieces on LinkedIn for One Team Gov.

One Team Gov got nominated for an award by Apolitical which is lovely.

I didn’t make a playlist this week because I’ve been listening to the last one. Sorry.

Have a lovely weekend all!

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