Week 36/52

It is Fake Black Friday* and I am cream crackered. It has been a full-on week and after my adventures at Silicon Milk Roundabout last weekend (and ThoughtBubble the weekend before) I just don’t feel like I’ve had enough downtime to maintain my energy levels. Since I caught Covid the first time I’ve never really recovered even the minimal energy reserves necessary for me to have an active life outside of work – and now I’m back to a five-day week it is even harder. So two weekends back to back of doing stuff has consequences!

I’ve often written about product being all about the people and this role is very much about that…but this week it has been starkly so.

Amongst all the usual bits and pieces this week I was part of the interview panel for the Lead User Researcher role with three candidates. My first foray into Civil Service interviewing in seven years.

We also had two new Senior Product Managers join so I spent a bunch of time preparing and then providing their…induction/onboarding – god I hate both those terms. Anyway I arranged a bunch of meetings for them, sent them a load of links, gave a couple of presentations and generally tried to get them up to speed without overwhelming them. While acknowledging that I am only 11 weeks in myself.

The two vacancies we had in Product closed and so I’ve been doing the sift. Disappointing numbers of applicants to be honest. Not sure how much more promotion we could have done so I’m a little downbeat about that. Looks like we have a few strong candidates though which is reassuring (alongside the usual random ones.)

Next week I am leading a Service Assessment for the first time in a few years and we had the intro call this week. I’m really determined that we set the right tone with the assessments – I want them to be supportive and focused on helping teams succeed and not trying to catch them out or ticking boxes. I really tried to get that across in this call and suspect my approach on the day will lean heavily towards creating a safe space for good conversations with peers – very much inspired by this work in Canada.

I did my second mentoring call which I really enjoyed and think went well – it is the sort of thing I’d like to do more of as it helps my thinking while – hopefully – helping them. I also caught up with Dan at UKHO about the work they are doing there around governance for digital projects as part of my work at looking at our whole DDaT planning/prioritisation process. Always great to chat to Dan and hear about UKHO as it is an org I have a real soft spot for.

Oh and I presented to our SMT about that planning/prioritisation process work. It is early days but themes are emerging and people seemed to think we were on the right track – which is reassuring. I need to lock something of it down a bit more though before too much longer.

*the real Black Friday is the Friday closest to Christmas (23rd this year) where chaos and carnage reign on the streets of Britain!

Road to 50 –>


Be – Common


St. Elsewhere – Gnarls Barkley


Good Girl Gone Bad – Rihanna

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