Weeknotes 05×06: Putting the “Go” into Godzilla

Bish, bash, bosh – last week was a fast one. I was only in on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday -it’s the end of January and to be honest, we could probably all do with a bit of a rest.

Thursday I had to look after #son2 and we collected mud from the playground and dead things from the beach. Friday I had a well-planned day to myself, so went to an exhibition at the Towner Gallery in Eastbourne – here’s some quick photos.

Otherwise, my three working days had a lot of good catch-ups, namely:

1. 1-to-1s and Annual Reviews happened. I caught up with John (developer) for the second time since he started, and noticed I think we’re both still getting over our initial “are we doing OK?” phase – from both sides. I wonder if 1-to-1s need to be different at all when someone is first starting out – I think mine are fairly structured and work “OK”, but forget that others may not be used to them.

Had both Luke’s (fellow Director) and my (uh, me) Annual Reviews. Lots of catching up over the last year, and interesting to hear where either of us would like to focus over the year ahead. As per last notes, I think mentoring is coming up a lot at the moment. I think I’m going to start looking for mentor(s) in the near future, after reading about others’ experiences with them, and from various UKGovCamp chats. It’s slightly scary.

bad mentor

Probably not one of the better mentors

2. Pushed forwards on some product chats. We had a good session looking at the overlap and differences between Community Insight and Local Insight, which are sort-of siblings and sort-of cousins. I’m not sure I have much more of a clearer answer, and also not quite sure if I’m best placed to hammer decisions on this, but will continue to ask questions (on behalf of myself, but also for others) – and I think we have enough steer to take the tech decisions forwards around git branches, et al.

Out other meeting looked at what we could do to improve performance for some recent work on updating lots of reports in one go without crippling us. I pushed for a decision the previous week to not launch it yet, and our subsequent investigation/chat firmed up a few hopefully-easy things to give ourselves a lot more breathing room.

All this does mean that we have a lot on the go at the moment, and things feel rather fragmented and scrambly. Might have to push to close some things before opening new ones.

godzilla peace

Yes, the peace of an empty backlog?

3. Writing, writing, writing is something I’m doing a lot of at the moment, to the extent that I’m booking writing sessions into my calendar. I’ve promised people various documentation and have lots of 1:1s to write up. I bashed out a quick blog post for some UKGovCamp notes which should go live later this week, and am pleased with how quickly I can throw together words. I HAVE NO IDEA IF THEY’RE ANY GOOD. Note to self: Get better at asking for feedback.

On my Friday off, I also started getting some notes and thoughts together on what to do with the Data Skills Inclusivity discussion I had at UKGovCamp. Feels like there’s some pressure to get something out and follow up on this soon, while the iron is hot – but at the same time, I want to get something together that I know I can take forwards. I’m great at having ideas, and rubbish at keeping my promises due to lack of time and energy. So I’ll take this week to keep ideas going, and then send it round to a few people for ‘closed’ thoughts, is the plan. Get in touch if you’re interested though.

typing zilla

How everyone should type

OK, that’s me for this week. As is tradition, I’ll break for a week after episode 6. This series has been disrupted, choppy, boring and brilliant. But next week I’ll aim to write something up on the Data Skills stuff, so it’s not like I get a break or anything. Tchah.

Reading

  • Ben Cubbon’s notes on starting out at OVO – in particular, his note on mission and values got me re-thinking about team mission and vision and values. I really want to try this out, but need to work out the right way to get it into the busy roadmap ahead.

  • A selection of high-quality PHP libraries – we don’t use many external libraries. There are obvious downsides to this, but on the upside, we have total control over our code and know exactly what changes are being made. Tough choice – should we opt to trade off some flexibility and “a known constant” for better quality, and possibly free improvements? Are there any other small companies out there actively choosing to eat their own dogfood?

Writing

Watching

  • Netflix’s new Godzilla anime. A timeline of 20,000 years in the future is quite comforting when you’re reading about the possibility of nuclear war.

Also published on Medium.

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