Jude’s weeknotes — 9 Dec 2022

Jude Webb
5 min readDec 10, 2022

Starting to hand over, prepping for assessment, and planning the next quarter’s work.

A hand holding a pen over a to-do list in a notebook.
Photo by Glenn Carstens-Peters on Unsplash

What did you experiment with?

Thinking about how the team is structured next year I’ve done a bit of reading about options. But mostly this week has been a documenting week rather than an experimenting week.

What was hard?

Writing my handover notes, I’ve not been easy. I can’t work out what to write, so much of what I’ve been doing:

  • learning about the subject matter
  • supporting drafting the vision
  • trying to map the service as it’s been designed by ops colleagues and nudging them to improve it
  • building relationships to improve ways of working

It’s interesting, writing that list it’s not really the list of a service designer, I really do flex to be whatever the service needs. I hope that means I’ll make a good product manager, especially in a new team that’s trying new ways of working and doing things in an innovation lab.

I can’t make sense of what’s the most useful things to write down. I think it’s more useful for me to focus on improving the backlog so that things move forward in the right direction.

One thing I think the team needs to work on is improving the relationship with the policy team because they make the decisions about the core of the product, but I can’t imagine how someone new would do that in the short time that I’m away. I can see that might not get prioritised. It’s been very interesting to see how you can spot something that needs doing but it’s so hard you need to think carefully about who’s best to do it and how you make it happen.

Getting to the office was also hard, I couldn’t find the time and energy to get to Manchester this week. I stayed at home to give myself time to work on my handover notes, it didn’t quite work.

I’ve also learned I should keep my docs in better order, opening 68 tabs of lucid boards didn’t really help my laptop, and there was a lot of dross in there.

What did you enjoy?

I’m enjoying using onetab extension for chrome.

I did a couple of loom videos, on how to use lucid, how to set up lucid and one for how to share just a window on Teams. Someone who shares their screen every day but can never see people’s faces managed to make it work, it was a lovely small win.

It was book club this week. So I really enjoyed the chat there and the fact that I’d stuck at the book and got to the end. Even though I only gave it a 5 I felt the things I didn’t like were things other people had picked up on. And there were some good bits, when you looked for them.

I’ve enjoyed the conversations with the people who I manage. It’s not easy to work out how to hand over what you’ve been working with them on, but I feel like I’ve done a good job of listening to them and doing right by them. I’ve had positive feedback from them.

I’ve been super proud of how we’ve come together as a team to draft the deck for our first mock assessment. I worked with the PM and others to agree on a structure, shared that with the team, and then we all came together to fill in the narrative. I do enjoy assessment time because you take time to reflect on a chunk of work and notice the progress you’ve made.

I’m also super proud because we are taking a whole service into assessment, not just one product, and we are talking about solving a whole problem for users. I’ve not seen that in the assessments I’ve been involved in, and I’m sure I’ve had some influence on us being able to tell that whole story. I also feel like there is a positive feeling in the team about what we’re talking about.

I do wonder how assessments can be improved so they are looking whole problems, but still making sure that teams are working well at all levels. How many examples of iterating content and interaction do you need to understand that the team is working well? Evidencing and doing service design does feel harder because it’s not so tangible. I don’t think I’ve ever done a map that truly represents the complexity of the problem. But I guess that’s the point.

The real highlight is how far we’ve come with our ways of working with the operations team. I also feel we’ve finally got a good backlog of the massive things that need fixing.

What did you learn?

The two things I’ve been reading are useful for planning the next quarter of work for my current team, but also really useful to think about how we approach things in the new team.

When thinking about what to do next on the service I think it’s useful to think of how things are solving the hard, important problems, but also solve some of the quick wins.

I do wonder how it’s going to be when I’m the one having to make the decisions on what’s next and how to break a big problem down and which are the riskiest assumptions.

Who did you talk to outside of your organisation?

I spoke to my new director which was cool coz I can start getting excited about the new role. But also means I’m starting to get more nervous about the role. Being described as ‘the face of’ the innovation lab, and meeting with senior people in my first week is going to be a step up. I really need to gather my thoughts on what I’m expecting the new role to be and what I’m hoping to learn.

What would you have liked to do more of?

While I’m enjoying winding things up with my old team I am also a little in limbo because I won’t be around to do any of the work we’re planning, so I’m looking forward to starting with my new team.

What are you looking forward to next week?

Looking forward to the first mock assessment, the Q4 planning road trip, and hopefully a couple of nights out to say goodbye to people.

What are you reading and watching?

I really enjoyed Dick Whittington panto with the little Webbling and my mum and step dad.

I’m trying to read The first 90 days in government, but haven’t had much time for reading this week.

Ends

These notes were written on Saturday afternoon after a child’s birthday party while tele was on in the background.

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