Week 27/52

It is a beautiful Friday afternoon here in Bristol which goes some way to balancing out just how wiped out I am again. The Funeral Bank Holiday does not seem to have helped somehow as even though it was a four day week it feels like I’ve done seven…I am simply not match fit but hopefully this extended pre-season (i.e. handover with Tom) will sort that sooner rather than later.

The week started really interestingly as I took part in an exercise as part of the recruitment for our new Chief Technology Officer. Hiring into the Senior Civil Service is an interesting process – one that has always put me off – and it was really insightful to see a bit of it from this perspective. It didn’t change my mind about wanting to ever go for it but I did get to understand it all a bit better.

Wednesday I was back in Cardiff – and coincidently this week there was a blogpost published about the Cardiff office which I think sums it up very nicely. I have my local pass now so the office is my oyster and I remain impressed with the facilities and the friendly vibe.

We’ll be recruiting soon for a few new product roles – I was working on the job descriptions this week –  and I really hope we get a few applications from the Cardiff region as I really want to build a community there. I’ll be going in two days a week from next week – so if the idea of seeing me in person puts you off there are still plenty of days to avoid that nightmare!

There was more prioritisation activity this week and truth be told I had my first little panic as I realised next quarter some of this will land on my shoulders and the more I watched the more I wondered what the blinking hell I’d got myself into. Funnily enough it was the realisation I wasn’t alone in wondering how this was going to work in a Tom-less future that calmed me down a bit. I need a bit of thinking space just to digest it all – and with every other 1-2-1 and chat I have then I gain more context and understanding of the wider process and the small ‘p’ politics at play – plus this is only day 15 – if I was claiming I had any answers you’d rightly call bullshit.

I had a great chat about recruitment challenges – obviously something I’m a great big geek about – and was really energised by how much thought other colleagues were giving to the issue and how open and collaborative the DDaT recruitment and capability teams are. Hiring in this space is hard work at the moment but I really do think we’ve got the right people working on it and some elements of the DDaT experience/opportunity at DIT is sufficiently different from elsewhere in the Civil Service that it gives us a bit of a USP if someone is already tempted. We are never going to compete on salary but I don’t think we are going into battle wholly unarmed.

I loved this post from Steph about the Queue Tracker. It really feels like my return to the Civil Service has kicked off this nostalgia theme in my world – Interesting, dConstruct and now Mr Gray stitching together a high profile web application with some PHP, third party sites, some creative thinking and some double sided sticky tape! In the pre-GDS days of digital gov in the UK Steph was renowned for this kind of thing – and blogging about it – so this was a really fun throw back…and people commented on the blogpost!

I love this blogpost about the rebooted ‘digital standard review’ (nee ‘digital standard assessment’) process by the team at ESDC in Canada. So much of it is what I have been failing to articulate myself for a number of years and everything from the shift to more inclusive language to framing it around peer review rather than an assessment and just breaking the connection from the funding gateways is just fantastic to see. Brilliant.

Road to 50 – 1998

The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill – Lauryn Hill

Out of Sight

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