Week 04/52

Blooming heck. Well this week has been PEAK CIVIL SERVICE. 

I don’t really know what I can say about it? Needless to say there were MANY Excel spreadsheets, Powerpoint org charts and Teams meetings discussing said documents. 

There were unreasonable deadlines, moving goalposts and misunderstandings.

Anything I had planned in weeks one to three is now very much in limbo. Was I helpful? Did I contribute? Maybe. It was hard though – context is king and after three weeks I don’t have enough of it.

Has it scared me off? No – but it was a stark reminder of the realities of working in the CS.

A little success was that I think I untangled the Spend Controls line of responsibility and process…and I didn’t end up being on the hook for it which was a bonus.

I had fun giving a talk to one of the Design teams about my approach to agile and product management that I am trying to embed (spreadsheets permitting). Seemed to go down okay. I’m going to try and blog it this weekend – I’m enjoying articulating this flavour of things that have emerged from my post-break brain.

There was a show and tell from a team just completing a Disco around providing data to (mainly) local authority users…the findings and hypotheses from the work was such a flashback to the ONS days and pretty much every (open) data project I’ve ever been involved in. God we really have failed to get some of this stuff sorted haven’t we. All the pain points could have stepped right out of work from a decade ago.


I collated 15 of my posts that pretty well reflect my thoughts on agile, product, ways of working and openness in one place.


Turns out that this is my 10th ‘season’ of weeknotes. I was spurred to do a bit of research after reading this post from Robin Sloan –  

Season 01 – started 19/02/2010 33 posts

Season 02 – started 04/05/2013 25 posts

Season 03 – started 16/09/2016 14 posts

Season 04 – started 20/01/2017 18 posts

Season 05 – started 01/09/2017 14 posts

Season 06 – started 17/02/2018 13 posts

Season 07 – started 26/10/2018 08 posts

Season 08 – started 18/04/2019 07 posts

Season 09 – started 08/01/2021 12 posts

Season 10 – started 25/03/2022  04 posts so far

March 2020 I did 31 #daynotes

2020 – 2021 I did 10 #monthnotes 

No way I am going to do 52 posts this time – but I think I’ll maintain the numbering regardless of if I miss weeks as I want to do this ‘Road to 50’ thing.

Speaking of which..


Road to 50 – 1975

Movie: Rollerball

Album: Born to Run – Bruce Springsteen

Have I explained why I am doing this? I’m picking a movie from each year I’ve been alive to watch each weekend until I turn 50. I am considering picking my favourite to show at a small private cinema as part of my birthday celebrations.

The albums will provide the material for a 50th playlist at my 50th gathering.


Rewatching Fringe – really stands up once it gets past the initial X-Files homage ‘monster of the week’ stuff. John Noble as Walter(nate) is amazing and on this rewatch I’ve really appreciated Jasika Nicole as Astrid Farnsworth.

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