myWeek (s4e11)

This is a .44 Magnum, the most powerful handgun in the world


It was my birthday Monday. At my advanced age this is no longer particularly an occasion for celebration — just the acknowledgement of another year survived. That said I traditionally do not work on my birthday — I’ve pretty much always booked the day off since I started working full-time.

This year not only did I decide to work but also I agreed to speak on a panel at the Building Centre in London for an organisation called the ‘Museum of Architecture’ (who are **not** a Museum). The topic was ’Big Data and Smart Cities: Is technology challenging or empowering citizenship?’ so pretty much up my alley on the face of it and the other speakers were an interesting and friendly bunch. It was a weird experience though. It clearly wasn’t what the audience expected — there were 100ish people there at the start — I’d say less than 20 were left by the panel session. I likened it to giving a best man speech at the wrong wedding. Everyone would probably nod along politely, the good jokes would probably still get a laugh and people might find some of it interesting in the abstract. They wouldn’t really know what the hell you were on about though! Anyway it was an experience and I did meet someone senior from Foster+Partners which as the only architecture firm I could name in a pinch impressed me moe than it should probably.

The other big thing this week was the GCloud 9 application. Bloody hell it is hard work. My sympathy levels for all those suppliers I have worked with over the years when in Government has jumped through the roof. I imagine I am massively overthinking it and I certainly made hard work of getting myself sorted to get started.

I’m not sure it makes it better or worse that I understand the **why** of so many of the questions — in the past I’ve been responsible for having to ask for clarification on lots of things the application is now asking up front but it is a black hole time wise. I suspect I still have a couple more days dominated by it.

Starting to read up on Kanban and more continuous flow style agile rather than time boxed sprints. I just can’t get my head around how to balance the teams capacity, the multiple backlogs for different platforms/products and making sure we are doing the right things at the right times any other way at the moment. It means more regularly tending to the backlog for me than with Scrum style sprint planning but probably actually not much longer time spent in the big picture. As a distributed team I need to get better at asking clarification questions on the Github Issues tickets we use and following upon those questions on our daily Hangouts. Getting somewhere though I think.

Gemma started to dish out our jobs at TICTeC (the mySociety civic tech conference in Florence!) and the schedule was released. It is an amazing line-up and I feel very privileged to be a part of it. I have a nice mix of ‘front-of-house’ and in session tasks and there are some talks I am really looking forward to. I have also never been to Italy so that is cool. I’m flying in and out of Rome to do a day of tourist stuff and also hopefully see a bit of the countryside from the train window 🙂

Also booked my ticket to the PDF conference in New York. Nope it isn’t a conference about inaccessible documents that upset open data advocates. It is the ‘Personal Democracy Forum’ and is probably the biggest civic tech style conference around — I’ve wanted to attend for years so really looking forward to it. I’m also wondering just what the whole visiting US experience will be like these days to be honest — but I’m not willing to give up on them just yet. I’m also setting myself a challenge of getting photos of as many of the 100 Gates as possible when I am there.

Did a bit of blogging this week — a long team update — which I wonder if I might start publishing openly somewhere as well as on our internal blog — there is nothing controversial in them so far at least. Plus a really short post to publicise the new ward check micro-site Matthew put up.

Next week my probation is up and I have my review so if there is no episode 12 you know it didn’t go well 🙂

Oh and I went to see ‘Ghost in the Shell’ yesterday — it is a lot of fun. It looks amazing — someone had a seriously good time with the design — the action scenes are exciting (or maybe my standard is so low now after Iron Fist?!) and the whole thing moves along at a brisk pace. It is pretty short for a modern movie and the plot is tissue paper thin but well worth a watch.

As I mentioned on Twitter this was almost an awful April 1st fiction so count yourselves lucky.