October

Man down.

October did me in. Totally. I’ve been pushing myself a bit hard as I try to find a balance in my (not so) new role and it has lead me down a path I promised myself I wouldn’t go down again. The road to burn-out.

I think I have just managed to hit the brakes before I totally crash over the cliff but it was close. I look a state – skin of a greasy teenager and the beard of a mountain man. Chest infection means I am wheezing like I smoke 60 a day. I’ve had the same cold for weeks so my nose looks like Rudolph. Plus I’m tired. So very, very tired. My diet has definitely gone to pot and I’m in danger of ruining all my post-Diabetes diagnosis hard work. Which I totally refuse to allow to happen.

So November has basically started with me being forced to take some time off and get my shit together basically. Rest and recuperation is the order of the day.

But this is about October and interesting things did happen.

I spent the much of the month working in earnest with a client – it is an interesting if not entirely straightforward piece of tech consultancy at a time of a lot of wider change at the organisation in question. It was a short and sharp piece that probably had too many dependencies on other internal activities to be entirely smooth sailing given the timescales. That said we landed a great team and I’ve enjoyed working with the client team as well.

The biggest problem was it is in a part of London that is a total pain to get to from my new pad out in the Mild, Mild West and that hasn’t helped my health I suspect. Still it has been nice to get my ‘hands dirty’ as it were. Unfortunately it did lead to me spending a Sunday writing a draft report as the previous week had gotten away from me.

As part of this project Lana has also joined Notbinary – she literally had her induction the morning of our first day on the client site. I worked with Lana at the BBC and she is a brilliant signing for us. She has real technical and product insights and being a Bulgarian with time spent in France and California before the UK means she brings a different perspective to our Slack nonsense (and work!)

There has been a LOT going on with The Panoply in the last few weeks including some tough – but useful – conversations. I continue to find elements of the Group PLC befuddling but I am tuning in more and more. It does require a cognitive switch though from much of my other activity and I sometimes don’t give it the space it needs. Due to some calendar weirdness we also had two Board meetings in October – they are not massively onerous but neither are they trivial.

There is also loads going on with us and Futuregov as we get our heads around our particular Venn diagram of clients and activities. I’m enjoying this to be honest – I’ve spent a big chunk of my career in the same orbit as Dom and FG and am really enthusiastic about how this partnership can be something special. Again though it doesn’t just happen by thinking and wishing!

I gave a couple of talks and wrote a blogpost about my emerging idea of the ‘Grumpy Agile Club‘ – increasingly I find I am trying to articulate something that is both less and more than many of the Agile frameworks. I’m looking for something more holistic – broader but shallower maybe – that brings together the bits of agile, product, service design and lean that I find useful as some kind of (non dogmatic) framework for team working. I suspect this is going to be my life’s work!

As ever there has been a background hum of proposals prepared, won and lost plus account management for clients. I only went on one pitch in October – I have pretty much benched myself after the losing streak in September (though actually that one was a W).


 

Other things happened.

I went to the Mozilla Festival Science Fair and mainly chatted to BBC folks and a couple of friends from Creative Commons (well they were once upon a time). I attended the MCM Comic Con out at Excel. Too busy but the cosplay was spectacular and I met George Perez.

England got to the Rugby World Cup final after playing the best I’ve see against New Zealand in the semi. Unfortunately they were rubbish in the final!

I read ‘Hell is round the corner‘ – Tricky’s autobiography. I laughed and then I cried.

I watched ‘Rhythm and Flow‘ on Netflix – which is the only ‘talent show’ format show I’ve ever watched – it was cheesy but I really liked the winning rapper –>