Week 30/52

This was my best week so far – of six genuinely good weeks – in this new role. I really felt the switch from newbie to semi-useful colleague and some time opened up in my calendar which gave me some real time to start thinking about what I’m actually going to do to back up all my ideas.

In general, time was a factor all week. 

Not only did I have some but I got more time to talk to my boss Miranda than I expected which meant really getting to grips with some of the major tasks and ambitions for the next phase in this team. The big reason I was interested in this role in the first place was the big focus on the people side of product and now I have a real handle on where to focus and what some of the challenges are (beyond the challenges that every team trying to do this kind of work are facing…those I am starkly familiar with.)

I also was able to find the time to attend a bunch of demos/show & tells from our product teams. This was so useful as it was great to actually see some of the products properly and start to gain some real context for a lot of my conversations – there is only so much you can learn browsing around products/services solo! The Show & Tells were really well attended and generated some good conversation  and challenge which is always reassuring to see.

Something I’ve been stewing on for a week or two came into focus when I was speaking to one of the Product Leads (Jess) and then – like magic – it popped up in other conversations: the need to create a new narrative for our ‘live’ and ‘core’ services. I think it has become common for people to gravitate towards discoveries and alphas as it is perceived that they are where the interesting stuff happens. Leaving the already live services (or those deep into Beta land) to be seen as ‘boring’ with phrases like ‘business as usual’ or ‘keep the lights on’ bandied about. I, however, have become convinced that this is where we most need our high-performing, stable, sustainable (Civil Servant heavy) teams and that they should be empowered (always a risky word I know) to not only maintain but iterate the product – identifying opportunities for investigation that might mean spawning a disco or alpha team but with the ‘first team’ deciding if, how (and when) those findings are folded in.

Make these core/live services the hot ticket – the places where ambitious Civil Servants do a tour of duty to build their careers.

What else did I do? 

Well I paid my deposit for the Cardiff Christmas night out, signed up to work the ‘booth’ at Silicon Milk Roundabout, did a few 1-2-1s, talked a bit about unconferences, had a lovely chat with Lou Downe about some training (another thing I’m convinced about is product people should understand services in the same way designers do) and I joined a Union.

Road to 50 – 2001

Songs in A Minor – Alicia Keys

A Knight’s Tale

2 responses to “Week 30/52”

  1. Gutted that the first SiliconMilkRoundabout that I won’t be attending is the one you will!

  2. 😦

    I’ve only attended once before – never been able to convince anyone I worked for to take a stand!

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