Workweek 01×05: Extramuros
Writing up a week later, Monday feels a world away now. Distant sensory whispers, sensitive fingers dragged over corrugated time.
Team sit-down, great to have Gael (finance) there on Mondays, now her work hours have changed. We love Gael 🙂
Then a sort through tasks for an update on our Neighbourhood Planning project, I draw up some screens to crystallise some thoughts, turn into Jira issues, and have a quick check through with Kim (marketing). I do enjoy drawing.
Prep for going away, followed by going away. It’s two nights in Sheffield for the LARIA 2017 conference, and I’ve decided to accompany Kim and Flo (user support) on their travels.
The train takes about 4 hours with a single change, so I get to do a bit of work. The mobile connection is ok for the first half, so I tidy up my Jira tasks a bit and do some thinking on how to tie together our little family of products. But the connection peters out later, and I learn that Google Docs isn’t great offline. So end up reading a book on simplicity and product design, which is very much not wasted time.
Get to Sheffield. Iron shirts. Meet Kim and Flo, get food and beer, crash out watching some Moto GP. Weird to be in a quiet hotel room…
Tuesday is conference day, but we wake to the news of a bomb going off in Manchester and the whole day is surreal and focused and distracted and driven and like we’re all here to just do something not so shit.
Good to get away from the ivory tower of the office though and catch up with the ambience of the real world. I do a lot of thinking about the role of statistics in local governance, and the dissonance between the specialist skills I work with every day, and the perception of science outside, as part of political discourse. It’s still a chasm, not a bridge. Many chasms. I get depressed and enthused in equal measures, like attending UK govcamp when it first started.
After the conference we’re all pretty shattered. After a few beers and some good food at the Great Gatsby pub, I crash back in the hotel room. I’m reading “The City & The City” by China Mieville and it’s good.
Wednesday brings more fallout in the news, and the world seems subtly, softly altered again as I pass through the train stations back to Brighton. Not visibly changed, not even mentally really. Energetically, perhaps, like a lens fitting into place, confirming something subconscious.
I get back and chat with as Stefan (head of research and fellow Product Owner) about our sprint meeting tomorrow. All the developers are away, so we break tradition and postpone the meeting, extending the sprint by a week. But at the same time, we also confirm our general direction for the month ahead – pre-sprint discussion is more key than deciding what to do, I’ve found. The dev team are like a machine and will pick up whatever is queued – it’s when we’re not clear what we need to prioritise that things start getting confused and falling over.
I’ve been looking into a complex user support issue on the train and carry on a bit back at the office, picking code apart like an officer at a forensic scene.
By Thursday I’m confused – I’m not used to working more than three days in a row…
With some more code digging and head banging (not to music, sadly), I resolve the support issue. Hooray, that was oddly tiring…
The afternoon is a Board meeting, which is always good.
It’s also Paul’s penultimate day and most people are out tomorrow, so we use up all the indoor fireworks, and give him some presents to cart painfully to Bristol. The office is starting to feel on the large side…
Phew, made it to Friday and there are only 5 of us in the office. It’s warm. Obi passes his driving test (or was that Thursday?). Gael drops in with some ice lollies.
Taking the chance to write up a few notes on meetings and the conference, and catch up on emails. One day I might even clear my desk. Nothing terribly exciting is happening, and it’s been a long week. At lunch I get ice creams, and a card for Paul – not to say goodbye, but for him to send back to us once he’s settled.
We break early and go for a beer. It’s been a long, strange, fascinating week.