Seven: Endless

The Endless

This week has mainly been defined by my endless whining about my commute. Bristol Parkway and Filton Abbey Wood stations are currently closed which means my already 90 minute each way to Taunton trip is now a little over two hours each way — assuming nothing goes wrong (it did). This has left me a bit fragile by the end of the week but it isn’t a long term situation, it gives me plenty of reading time and I’m enjoying the work at the other end so I need to suck it up (I’ll probably still whine though.)

I’m really enjoying the project in Taunton — I am starting to get a clear picture of how I can help based around my four Ps (people, product, performance and propaganda) and am starting to shift out of observation mode and into ‘sticking my oar in’ mode.

The kind of work going on here really is fascinating and they really do have some ambitious plans for becoming a truly data focused organisation. They have a lot of good people who seem to have the right instincts but they are carrying a lot of organisational legacy as well (tech and culture) so meeting their ambitions isn’t without obstacles. Nothing insurmountable though I think but it does need some bold moves to make the leap I suspect.

I’m spending a lot of time having 1–2–1 conversations and observing meetings occasionally just making small suggestions or often just validating or endorsing some thinking in the room — like I said people have good instincts they just need to be fully empowered to back their own hunches.

One of the things I am keen on when David Carboni lands is to do some kind of semi-formal evaluation against the ‘Capabilities to Drive Improvement’ list in the Accelerate book — find a way to bench mark where things are today.

I am finding my new technique of keeping a running stream of consciousness account of my day going in Slack a really useful discipline — it helps me make sense of the day and the fact Carbs and others occasionally pop in with a request for me to clarify something also helps my thinking. Next week I am going to be better at doing a little ‘day note’ based on it as well — just a summary for myself on the train home.

You might remember that after New York I had to scramble up to Sheffield to give a pitch for a piece of work we didn’t end up winning? Well that might have been for the best as we have been short-listed for something else that is even more up my/our street (and closer to home.) It also has some more realistic time frames so I am working on the proposal today (I was a bit stuck so am writing this as a break!). The proposal that is emerging is really looking like a bit of a manifesto as to how I believe these kinds of projects should be run — as such it is drifting away from the slightly more reusable but a little generic stuff I would usually use. This could be a good or a bad thing I guess but (a) it is definitely authentic and (b) it should stand out a little!

Inspired by Terence Eden I’m doing #NaBloPoMo this month (this counts as post 2) and it looks like Amanda and Benjy are doing it as well. To be honest my aforementioned commute travails have been quite helpful for this as I have finished a couple of books that I can review to make up the numbers as 30 posts is a LOT.

Speaking of books — I finished ‘The Consuming Fire’ — the second book in John Scalzi’s new Interdependency series. I loved it. Big, bold, silly, pulp space opera at its finest.

The two New York centric episodes of the second season of ‘The Evolution of Hip Hop’ are really fantastic — totally worth watching →

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