52: Week Twenty One


Key of the door.

I’m taking a much needed flexi-day today as my last break ended up before the opposite of restful due to the dental problems.

It has been a somewhat strange week. The boss is away which also leads to some slightly odd emails finding their way to Sam and I. Sam has taken the brunt of the weirdness this week though so I imagine Karma will bite me on my ample backside next week.

A lot of this week has been taken up with my capitulation as far as project management & reporting goes in this organisation 🙂 I have been pretty open I feel about just how difficult I find working in a traditional waterfall environment with such long lead times between deployments and the constant requirements for more documentation and reporting. While I was once upon a time a Prince2 certified project manager for whom this stuff was second nature that little part of me has long since shrivelled up and blown away. The harsh reality however is that I need to get on board or get out of the way as it is the only way I am going to get anything done here. It helps that I like all the people I am working with on this side of things and that they have taken pity on me and my struggles. I feel like I started to get a handle on how, with some help, I might be able to work and contribute better within this framework but it remains a somewhat uncomfortable fit.

There was a lot of open data activity for me this week as I substituted for my boss at a couple of key meetings. I find myself increasingly interested in this space – strange given my history of dislike for it – and I think it is a much bigger thing than the organisation is really acknowledging yet. There are pockets of individuals with great understanding of the issues and the technologies in play (far greater than myself) but nobody seems to really have been given the time to really focus on it which I think is a pity as we probably have an opportunity here to take on lead on elements of this and also learn from some of the mistakes we have made with other technology projects.

I had another new starter this week – coming on board to assist us with some thinking around search engine optimisation. It isn’t something I have ever really focused on much in the past – I have been in such specialised fields the SEO just kind of took care of itself (with some gentle encouragement) but I believe we are missing a trick as far as non-expert users and how they are looking for statistics and I want to explore this area some more.

Did some more interviewing – this time for a short term internal promotion. This will cause another reshuffle of the teams – something that has been pretty much constant these last couple of months. Also had another vacancy close (well one that has already been out twice before with limited success) so I’ll take a look at the applications for that one on Monday. If it is unsuccessful again I think I will have to take a step back and rethink a few things about the way the team is made up.

Next week I am giving a talk to new members of the Government Statistical Service about ‘digital data dissemination’ (try saying that after a beer or two!) and also attending the ‘Mind the Product’ conference – despite the fact the two speakers I signed up to hear speak have pulled out 😦

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