myWeek (s4e18)

I’ll be around


I was on a video call this week with a client — we hadn’t met before and we were doing the intros. I said something like “I’m not sure how to describe my role but I’ll be around if you need anything..” which was partly a little bit of self depreciating humour but also was probably a little bit of my sub conscious leaking through.

It is strange being a ‘manager’ in an organisation of ‘makers’ and I’m aware of a need to prove (to myself really, nobody else seems to be concerned..) I am adding value elsewhere as I add none to the codebase. This is still leading me to flail around a bit too much I think — like I said last week I am struggling to give myself enough time to take a real run at focused tasks without getting distracted by another ‘priority’ (they can’t all be priorities can they- but they are to someone) and letting my day be driven by my inbox incoming too much.

Still given my instinct in these situations is to be as helpful and available as possible I don’t think it is the end of the world. Just a little tiring!

It is the Directors meeting next week for the Limited company arm of mySociety. Last time I wasn’t happy with my performance or preparation for the meeting and this time I have added a wrinkle by being at the other end of the country on the day of the meeting and needing to call in. That said I am much happier with the papers I prepared this time — I hope they are more helpful and useful for everyone and I am certainly better placed to speak to them coherently this time! I’m looking forward to the meeting — we are lucky to have such smart folk serving on the companies Board and I can learn a lot.

I went down a couple of related rabbit holes this week — bloody Google Analytics stole an afternoon from me (not for the first time) as I thought I saw a weird drop out fail in one of our user journeys and chased it down deep before eventually realising it was an illusion due to the way the data was captured and presented. As it it happened I luckily managed to pick up a bunch of accidental, incidental, but useful knowledge as I did this and also worked through a lot more of the site interactions myself from a user point of view so it wasn’t a wasted trip. Just a frustrating one.


More fun was a bunch of thinking, chatting and doodling around our approach to some new dashboard style pages we are adding to FMS.com. This put me on firmer ground that some discussions given my slight experience of this sort of thing at ONS 🙂 It is an interesting bit of work and Zarino is knocking it out of the park from a design point of view. It is a visual language and approach that is going to start to flow through the product in the weeks/months to come which is exciting to see.

Zarino and I have also been scheming a bit about the organisation wide show and tells and a few other things. We share a nerdy fascination with team dynamics and culture stuff so we are probably just enabling each other when it comes to our ideas but nobody has screamed stop yet (well not loudly anyway!). I’m really enjoying working out how all my team culture ideas transfer to somewhere small, remote and much more technical in nature. It is certainly a different set of challenges. I’m speaking about teams and culture at CampDigital next week in Manchester and my talk will have evolved quite a bit based on recent experiences.

The blogpost of my talk at OpenTech went down pretty well early in the week and that kept my Twitter lively for a day or two. I also had a bit of fun introducing the word ‘cyberbole*’ to Twitter and reintroducing my law:

Whenever an internet based activity is considered negative it is defined as CYBER (i.e. CYBERcrime, CYBERbullying, CYBERterrorism)

Whenever an internet based activity is considered positive it is defined as ONLINE (i.e. ONLINE shopping, ONLINE dating, ONLINE gaming)

Whenever an internet based activity is considered neutral it is defined as DIGITAL (i.e. DIGITAL government)


Oh — I had Monday off and went to see Alien: Covenant. I took the hit so you don’t have to! Save yourselves. Go see Guardians of the Galaxy Vol.2 (multiple times) or go see Colossal. You have been warned.

Next week I have the aforementioned conference in Manchester, I am also up in Liverpool for a meeting, facilitating our face to face team meeting and finishing on Friday in London so it is a hectic one.

Until next time!

*cyberbole = extreme hype related to internet based crime. Usually fuelled by poor journalism.