Weeknotes S3e03

Starting to get a bit of a handle on things this week. Contributed to a couple of meetings, closed a couple of Trello cards, initiated a couple of conversations on email and just generally started to feel more of a part of things rather than a visitor (as you’d expect I guess on week three).

What went well?

Really interesting meeting about the Livestock Information programme (and follow up conversations) — was helpful coming in as a total noob to it and I came away with a much better idea of the scope, challenges and opportunities. It is a really exciting piece of work but there are a lot of moving parts so I need to find a way to engage with it and get involved where I can really help the team rather than gum things up.

In relation to this I spent an afternoon scheming with Sarah about what ways to achieve these sort of goals. Sarah is joining to help out as a ‘capability partner’ and as well as all her experience as a prime-time product person she has been working as a consultant for the last year or two so her experience on just how to frame things is going to be invaluable.

Great chat with Ross about plans for product management as a profession across government — meet ups, secondments, training and just getting a feeling of commonality and community. This is something I am pretty passionate about — I came to product management as a career by accident really and have basically been educated by WordPress Polytechnic and Medium University over the years so creating a more consistent approach seems brilliant.

Wrote up some thoughts and experiences about using the Digital Outcomes and Specialists framework — basically just a distillation of a bunch of the Digital Marketplace blogposts and guidance with some of my own experience and the odd anecdote from elsewhere thrown in. Shared this with the team now. Also started working on a ‘careers’ page for the Defra Digital blog — something like this or this basically. Both Emily and I are speaking at Agile in the City: Bristol and we are having a stand so it will be helpful to have somewhere to point people at as we’ll be recruiting I think.

We started using appear.in this week for stand-ups etc which I really like.

What could have gone better?

I still don’t have a work laptop or smartphone so I still cannot access email or calendar when I am out of the Bristol office. Which is slightly problematic as I am spending 2 or 3 days a week in London at the moment. That said my profile is still pretty low so I’m not getting that many emails — it is just disconcerting.

Not being able to see the calendars of other team members (or book rooms etc) due to different organisation systems is also a little frustrating — nothing major yet but it is in the background.

What’s next?

Three days in London next week (and the first #pubcamp in Bristol) so it looks like a busy one. My ambition is to really start getting up to speed on the Livestock Information work so that is likely to mean a lot of reading and dumb questions. Right up my street!

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