52: Week Six


Bit of a roller coaster of a week it has to be said. It finished on a positive note though so I’m clinging on to that.

Monday started pretty well. I had the first meeting of all my team leads – well the ones who were in (so design, programme comms, editorial and content management – social media were off and I’m not quite managing analytics yet) and I tried to get across the kind of format I am looking for in these meetings. It is going to take a while I think for people to get used to something that more resembles a Scrum stand-up than a standard meeting but I am hopeful we’ll get there.

I also had a first view of the major ONS open data / API project that is heading towards completion. Once it is delivered aspects of its ongoing development and management are going to fall under my remit so it was good to finally see it. There is an awful lot of good work involved in it and I can see a lot of opportunities for the future. I’m going to meet the full dev team and get some deeper insight the week after next which I’m looking forward to.

I had a great day in Titchfield on Wednesday – a couple of really constructive meetings – including movement on getting the blog sorted (yay!) and getting a much better handle on how the IT/Development aspects of the organisation work and fit in with my area (not straightforward but I’m starting to decode it). Also I actually had some time to both think and write which meant actually achieving a couple of things (nothing major but important to me) which after Tuesday felt like a real achievement.

You see Tuesday was a day where I found myself in back to back meetings from 9am until 5pm with one 30 minute break (all of which consisted of preparing for the meeting immediately following those 30 mins). My head was entirely fried by the end of the day and I couldn’t really put my finger on what I’d actually done that day. I certainly felt like I contributed to each meeting but they really do start to blur in to one at that sort of scale. Unfortunately it reminded me of Becta and that is never a good thing.

Thursday is where I had my little meltdown. The day started with public transport problems and a magical mystery tour of Newport on the wrong bus and ended with me ranting in the sunshine for a while as Laura (my boss) patiently talked me down.

In between there were extremely frustrating IT issues that threatened to derail some really important and useful user testing work we are undertaking and a ‘only in the Civil Service’ phone call that left me seriously wondering what the hell I was doing. Sometimes the work being done by GDS and others in London seems a *very* long way away!

The big thing this week though is that I have worked out a way forward to actually start delivering some of these ‘products’ that they hired me for! It is in the hands of the procurement gods for now but if successful I am going to be a happy chappy – we really need a few wins to both improve internal morale and to get away from being a media punchbag (listen to the latest example with Laura being grilled on More or Less from 16.30 today).

Considering where I was yesterday mood wise I have snapped out of it surprisingly quickly so that bodes well I think. Next week I am in Titchfield for 3 days and London for one so it promises to be eventful!

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