52:Week Three


My 3rd week showed no sign of letting up with the learning curve – though there was less travel this week as I skipped my trip to Titchfield and am working from home today (even if that proved to be a challenge – the problem is always the last thing you check and I was pretty sweaty and throwy before I discovered the ethernet cable was a dud!).

This week I really started to get me head around the task ahead and started to at least get a rough roadmap of what steps are needed to get us there.

I had some great chats with people in my team and am quickly coming to the conclusion that the solutions are close at hand and it is more of a case of harnessing the existing knowledge and talent than starting anything from scratch.

Some of the prototypes being worked up before I came into the role are brilliant. The team is looking in to a Datawrapper-esque tool I am referring to as ‘graphic-o-matic’ (much to the amusement of others) which I believe has huge potential internally and some of the more bespoke work they have been doing is of the highest quality.

There was a bit of an ‘open data’ theme running throughout the week – the release of the ‘Shakespeare Review‘ and some meetings about internal open data initiatives meant the topic was never far from my mind. It is funny really how despite my best efforts these open data projects keep following me around and just how much I have learned out things by accident.

I gave an intro presentation to as many of my team as possible on Wednesday – as is my way it was pretty informal and lighthearted but I hope I got across the idea that I know what I am doing and I am passionate about this stuff (and more interesting in the work than in the bureaucracy and hierarchies.)

Despite the fact I have spent so many years in and around the public sector I am still finding aspects of life a challenging transition. Internet access is locked down to a terrifying extent – even for someone in my role and it is slow going just getting access to the sites and software I need to work. The admin overhead for line management is pretty significant – certainly more than anywhere else I have worked. Recruitment is also a hard slog. The team has a great deal of unfilled spots at the moment – some in really key areas which makes things extra tough.

At the moment I am researching a paper about fixed vs responsive web design – I thought it would be a no brainer to be honest as I have been pretty all-in with responsive over the last 18 months or so but a couple of things I have read have made it less straightforward. The ‘Go Cardless‘ blog post in particular made for interesting reading.

Looking forward to OpenTech tomorrow and sleeping all day Sunday probably.

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