Oof, quite a week…
This has been one of those weeks that has felt so intense that I’m not really sure if I am able to write weeknotes today. I’ve been playing pokémon this morning to distract myself and relax a little.
I want to write but I’m also aware that I need to take things gently. I’ve been feeling really tired and slightly emotional about it all, it’s been busy!
Before I start here’s a link to my reading this week:
Huge thanks to James and Salma for letting me know last week that the board wasn’t public, and to Salma again for letting me know that she is actually reading some of the links I’m sharing. Thank you for being here with me!
National Leadership Forum
Most of the week was tied up with the National Leadership forum, my new team’s flagship event. Most of the work of the team over the past few months has been leading up to this, so it really was a big deal.
I took my little one to school on Tuesday and then headed straight to the venue to help out with things and to get a briefing about the day.
On Tuesday night volunteers and staff all had pizza together and it was good to hang out with some people I’ve never met before, although I spent a fair amount of the day firefighting and I was already absolutely exhausted. I was really grateful to get to the hotel as we had a really long day on Wednesday, starting at the venue at 7.30am. I wish I had slept better, but isn’t that always the way before a big event?
Wednesday was a long day, but, being new to the team it was really eye opening to see all of the people there, listen in to what some of the speakers had to say and generally take it all in.
More than that it was amazing to see several members of the team in their absolute element, Jenny, Jess and Peter were extraordinary at organisation. There were lots of really great interesting elements, in particular the library, which was stocked with loads of absolutely brilliant books (you can find out more on the link below).
I’m not sure it would be possible to love only one thing about Jenny because she is incredible, but her ability to go above and beyond to deliver while also looking after people is one of the most special qualities I’ve ever seen in a person.
She spent the night before writing tens of thank you cards, baked a cake to celebrate Morgan’s birthday (and decorated it on the day in between all of her other work) and bought a lot of fruit for another team members birthday (he doesn’t eat sugar).
I spent a lot of the day with the team from Convivio who were with us to do some user research, some tests and a short survey. It was a good opportunity to gather some really interesting information about the attendees which I’m hoping will help to inform our future work.
Sheldon and Jo from the Local Digital Collaboration Unit volunteered on the day, Nour and DavidBuck ran their absolutely brilliant Leadership workshop as One Team Gov, and previous Cabinet Office colleague Wendy showed up to sing with the FCO choir in the evening, so it was a day surrounded by people I look up to and community.
I got home at about 9pm on Wednesday evening, I was even more exhausted, had a big messy exhausted cry on the sofa, and it’s taken me all the way to today to feel part human again.
The strategy is delivery, but who for?
For one reason and another I’ve been having to fight a few small fires this week, as well as concentrating some time on writing a digital strategy. I’ve been thinking a lot about my previous roles in project management and about delivering what is asked for in an unquestioning way, rather than delivering with a relentless user focus and evidenced decision making.
Because there’s been so much to deliver ahead of NLF and there are certain things that have absolutely been needed, and because I’m still finding my feet (a little over 3 weeks now without Billy) been feeling much more pulled towards the former. Similarly, being only 1 digital person in my team means that there is an automatic numerical disparity.
I know I can deliver value, I know I am here because I can do great work, and I want to do excellent work that will deliver significant value for users, but I know this is going to be a constant pull back and forth. It has been hard work, and I’m wondering what I can do to tip the balance in my favour.
I’m going to have to work very hard to continue the work that Billy has done so far to make the case for digital / agile working with and alongside policy or delivery teams, not separately, and it’s something I need to keep persevering with so that I can be really proud of what I’m delivering.
The Tiger who travelled the world
Over the past week, I’ve been hearing from people who are taking the workshop I did at GovCamp, many telling me that they’ve tried something or are planning to, and it’s really become something all of its own.
Luke let me know that he’s run the session (using the Very Hungry Caterpillar rather than the Tiger for more universal appeal) with fellows and their government partners in Code for Canada, which is immense. Luke hit me up if you need me to come over to Toronto and help you deliver next time, eh?
Bucks CC messaged to tell me that they’d done something partly inspired by the workshop:
And lots of others say they have it up their sleeve to deliver something soon.
Someone else on Twitter let me know that they had used the principles in preparation for a job interview to help them tell stories about the work they’ve done and answer interview questions.
I’ve been asked to deliver it for another team, and I’ve created a sticker!
It takes Stefan’s tweet that says “Tell more stories, Invite the tiger in” and if you’ve used the approach anywhere then you are very welcome to have one (when they turn up).
All of this has spurred me on to start getting the skeleton for the SDinGov presentation i’ll be doing with Hattie, Rahma and Katy. There’s a lot to say, a lot of info to pull together, and a lot to get organised!
My old team (for now) the Local Digital Collaboration Unit have won an Apolitical.co award!
Global Public Service Team of the Year, in the New Ways of Working Category!
I always believed that the team had a great mission and approach to delivering it, I’m so proud to see the work we have done being recognised. I miss the team and the work.
You can read more about what’s been going on with the team’s Sprintnotes below, so good to see this happening:
And what else?
That feels like enough, but I’m also incredibly grateful for working with good friends this week when my inner impostor has been working overtime. I’ve been in my own head a lot, and I’m so grateful to those who have listened to me and helped me get outside of it. Thank you wonderful people, you know who you are xxx