Weeknotes #20

Week commencing 2nd November 2020.

After this week, I have four weeks left in my current role before I head off somewhere new. As part of me leaving, we’re looking to bring some new techxpertise (not a word, acknowledged) to make sure that the team has enough support after they’ve forgotten about me.

Hopefully, we’ll find someone that’ll help the team skip all stages of grief and jump straight to acceptance. Let’s be honest, is probably best for everyone. With that in mind, this week kicked off with interviews for a Lead Software Engineer to join the team. We’ve left applications open so if this could be you, or you know someone that might be interested in growing a team and being supported to develop some badass leadership skills, get in touch. I can answer any questions about what the role involves, who you’d be working with and what kind of impact you might be able to make.

Also this week, I invited to be a guest for an AWS webinar on Amazon Connect. It was a level 100 talk on what Amazon Connect is, how it works and how it can be useful to your business. I walked through a few things we’d done around automating transactions and why automating things on phone lines is strategically, kind of important. Pretty sure you can still register and be sent the recording if you’re so inclined. It was good fun to do and working with Iain was a pleasure, what he doesn’t know about Connect probably isn’t worth knowing. I’m reliably informed that the feedback on the session itself was some of the best they’ve had to date, so that’s nice.

In between meetings for various projects like building new software for Test and Trace and working on new websites for the Northamptonshire unitary councils, I spent most of my time on handing over my role. Each day has been documenting things, answering questions and walking the team through some of the things that they’ll have to do in my absence. That said, it also gave me time to share some time with May-N and Cate.

After spending so long working remotely and with the promise of another UK lockdown, we realised we shared a common worry around our team’s mental health. We shared how we were doing, how our teams were feeling and spent a bit of time working through some ideas together that could be good experiments for helping people cope. It was good to hear I wasn’t alone in worrying for people and I think it helped us all accept that it was okay to feel like that. Equally, I’m glad we took some time out to take a little bit of control over the situation, I came away from that call with so many more ideas and options that will hopefully see people through the next few weeks relatively unscathed, or at least a little bit stronger for any scars.

To close out the week I did two things that were relatively unrelated to any actual ‘work.’ For my own sanity, these were both very much welcome.

First was a peer-review for West Berkshire council, a few of us (me, May-N and Ben) accepted an invite from Phil to help the IT, tech and digital teams at West Berkshire on their quest to do things better. We’d had a few sessions in previous weeks to come up with a framework for the review (thanks Rob and HackIT for doing most of the hard work) and took a few hours with the team at West Berks to hear what they’d been up to, their approach and make some recommendations. I loved hearing about their plans and what had gone on so far and I highly recommend doing a similar exercise in other organisations - welcoming different perspectives has got to be applauded and supported. Thanks to Phil for taking that leap to kick it off.

Finally, I wrapped up the week with something that selfishly I knew would be a great way to see the week out and gave Emily a call. Emily and I haven’t known each other that long but over the past year or two taking time every now and then to hear what each other is up to, share tales of this bizarre world with and generally just gain a different perspective from is consistently a highlight. I always learn so much from Emily, you should probably go find out more what she’s up to too.

Aside from all that, I’ve started to spend quite a bit more time in Si’s On The Side community on Slack too. As my brain shifts into doing a different kind of work, speaking to different people and hearing about all the different kinds of things people are working on has made a huge difference to my momentum, motivation and ability to get things done.

Highlights of the last few weeks in the On The Side community include:

That’s all for this week, probably start a new format for these over th enext few weeks to be able to put more time into writing about more specific topics. If you want me to write up anything in particular, let me know


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