Overarching feeling of the week

Like squeezing into a pair of jeans that are a size too small.

Highlights

Beth joined the team as a Delivery Manager. Emma’s been flying the flag for delivery and agile practices on her own for the last four months. Beth’s arrival marks a step change for this fledgling team and our opportunity to start defining who we are and what we do.

My inner facilitation geek loves to plan a workshop. I spent a happy hour with Susan on Friday afternoon devising a workshop for Monday morning. This was made even better by Yu-Hsuan who gave us a few tips on how to make our Miro board more navigable and visually slick.

Kit and I spent a quiet and hugely productive 45 minutes thinking through how to re-publish our digital strategy. A lot has happened in the last 10 months and we’ve learnt a huge amount. The aim has always been to have a strategy document that stays meaningful and close to what we are delivering; remaining alive to the challenges we encounter and shifting context we are in. We’re committed to working in the open, staying honest and sharing our progress.

Lessons

Or rather the lesson that keeps on giving. Lack of time and seemingly endless context switching bite hard this week. Out of curiosity I counted up the number of times I had to context switch across four days. It came to 23 based on things that were in my calendar. 23 different conversations about things that really matter to the people on the other end of my concentration. On paper I worked 28 hours this week. So that’s five hours — largely snatched between meetings — to cover admin, replying to emails, preparation, staying connected to wider networks, completing actions, eating, dealing with real time issues, being available for my teams and leads etc. This isn’t unique to me at all — but it’s mildly terrifying to reflect on the impact on my productivity and ability to do deep work.

I have to remind myself that not all of this is beyond my control and there are things I can do to carve out focused time. This does mean saying no (or not yet) to things and people. Right now, this feels hard, but my future self will thank me.

Next week

Digital board comes round next week. We’ll be sharing our progress on the intranet discovery and data management work. I’m participating in a round table event hosted by Unboxed, we’ll be discussing upskilling. We are recruiting again for Senior Delivery Managers. Based on my experience last time, I’m re-writing the job advert and I’m going to experiment with an accompanying blog post.

What I am reading/watching/listening

I’m still digging into Radical Candour by Kim Scott. I’ve written previously about my natural skepticism towards silicon valley wisdom but Scott really resonates with me. It’s packed full of real life examples, including successes and failures of Scott and others.

Head of Delivery at Royal Borough of Greenwich. Formally of HackIT, Hackney Council