Beta breather..

Earlier this week we (very) quietly made an early version of the ONS Beta site public. It is a true Beta – in the sense that it remains experimental and subject to changes at no notice. To be honest it is a little ‘under proofed’ still even for a Beta but I was determined to get something out and work in the open again. I’ve mentioned Linus’s Law over on the work blog but more than that I just believe our users deserve to see what we are up to – whether that is to validate things or reject them. We aren’t building this thing for ourselves after all.

I’m proud of what has been done so far while acknowledging there is much, much more to do. The team has been amazing – really going above and beyond the call of duty – and it has been hard at times.

I’m not going to lie the whole thing to date has left me…and this is a technical term…knackered.

While the Alpha was high pressure but actually enormous fun due to the experimental, prototype nature of the whole thing the Beta has at times been a hard fought slog with more pressure, expectations and onlookers than ever before. The fact our project/team has retroactively become some kind of internal exemplar on implementing a more agile/dev-ops/user centric approach has also ramped things up with internal systems and processes being rewritten around us it feels like.

I am mentally exhausted. I do wonder whether the importance the GDS approach puts on the Service/Product Manager role (they tend to talk about Service Managers now – I still see that role as Product at least in the dev stage) creates a bit of a ‘fault line’ – where, for instance, after a four and a half hour Service Assessment (with follow up questions) said Service Manager might want to curl up in a ball and not think about the web for a decade or so. I don’t know. Some of it (most of it?) is down to me and my all or nothing approach I guess. When it works it works well but every now and again it shatters me.

Anyway I have not been at my best the last couple of weeks – the pressure got the better of me and I was snappy in meetings, or disengaged or overly demanding. Basically I’ve been a bit of a dick.

So I’m off work for a couple of weeks – no (work) email, no Slack, no sneaking a look at Bugherd, no blogging on the work blog – but I do have some stuff for here I’ve just not had the head space to write.

So please have a look at the Beta and let us know what you think – I’ll get back to you in two weeks 🙂


One response to “Beta breather..”

  1. Have a nice rest, Matt, and don’t read this for a fortnight. Nice work with the Beta – I’ve only had a quick look so far, but really like what I’ve seen so far.

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