Jude’s weeknotes — 6 Jan 2023

Jude Webb
4 min readJan 6, 2023

The headspin of a new job is real.

What did you experiment with?

I haven’t done much yet because it’s been about learning the lay of the land.

What was hard?

I’ve worked with some of the people in my new and I’m struggling to find the balance between picking up the relationship with someone I already know and building new relationships with new people.\

I’m finding myself being more direct than I would ordinarily be in the first week in a new role.

The team is set up to do things in new ways. They are lots of things that don’t make sense so I’m questioning them, but I’m finding myself being more direct than I normally would.

The team is working on lots of different projects at the same time, so that takes a bit of getting my head around. My head is also programmed to think about whole services and all of the complexity that comes with that. Now I’m just working on development projects and not thinking about the whole service. That’s going to take a bit of getting used to, and I’ll also need to reflect on if that’s what I enjoy.

What did you enjoy?

Meeting a new team. The fact that I’d played with git hub projects previously so was comfortable using the project features.

The team is thinking about their ways of working. It made me realise how much I understand agile ways of working. It feels good to no longer feel like a complete newbie when it comes to talking about ways of working.

It’s also cool that the team is improving and keeping an eye on how things play out.

It’s great that there I have some allies who also think about things from a product management point of view so that I’m not a lone voice.

I’ve dug out some strategy canvases that I’ve learned at various conferences. I’m excited to try them with this team and have conversations to get a consensus on what the strategy is.

What did you learn?

I had a nosey around Figjam and think it’s come on quite a long way. I tried using it with the team. But it’s still not easy to add new postits and I got feedback from the team that they didn’t like using it. So it looks like I’ll be documenting things in documents and excel and git hub.

Who did you talk to outside of your organisation?

I’ve met product managers from outside the team to discuss the future of one of the projects. They will be the ones that the project over if it goes into production. At the moment it’s not clear what the project has learned and where it’s got to so unclear what the next steps should be.

I met the Head of AI for one of my departments. That was really interesting to hear the sorts of projects, also interesting to hear how they find new work, and it’s about listening out for suggestions. I think there are things we can learn about how we get new work into the team.

What would you have liked to do more of?

Knowing I’ll get my head around being a product manager and also figuring out how you operate setting up a new function. I’m not sure we’ve got the balance right between business and user needs and having clarity on what we’re trying to learn with each project we take on. It’s fine that I’ve not got this yet, but it’s what I’m going to focus on.

I’m looking forward to meeting more product people to hear how they thing the team can add value to their vision of product within the department.

I’m not sure I’ve got the balance right between listening to the team to understand from their point of view against saying what I think.

What do you wish you could have changed?

I’ve had a couple of wobbles about whether I’ll be able to do the job, normal first-week wobbles, but still not fun.

I promised myself I’d have meeting-free Fridays so that I could think. I completely failed and had pretty much back-to-back meetings. I will do better at this next week.

What are you looking forward to next week?

Meeting more people and having some structured sessions where I help get clarity and support the team to be going in the right direction.

What are you reading?

It was book club this week. We read Eva Luna by Isabel Allende. I read it pretty quickly and really enjoyed it. I found it flowed really nicely, I got to know the characters and there was lots going on. It led to a really interesting discussion.

Yellowed, aged front cover of the book Eva Luna by Isabel Allende. Showing a woman with brown hair in a bob. She’s sitting at a desk holding a fountain pen with red flowers behind her. There is paper and a grenade on the desk.
Cover image of Eva Luna, it’s a very old copy from 1989, it’s very yellow inside. Bought from wob.com so you never know what age book you’ll get.

Also, read the Culture Code by Daniel Coyle since my last week note. I really rate it. It makes a lot of sense about how to create and lead good functioning teams. I was recommended it in part by reading the blog post of a previous deputy director. It was interesting because the team I was in there was one where I’ve been very happy and I could see the deputy director putting the recommendations into action. I want to write them a note to say thank you, but I’m worried I’ll look odd.

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