Weeknotes S2 Ep02

Cartoon physics.

Overarching feeling of the week.

That thing where Wile E. Coyote hasn’t fallen off the cliff yet because he’s still running in mid-air. That’s my week.

I’m fairly sure that to most people I will have appeared in control but that is not how I’ve felt. I am over capacity. I am rushing. I am part time. I am spread too thin. I am trying to change this because I feel like I am much too close to burnout.


This week I had my first mentoring session with Hannah. She brought along some job adverts she had found so that we could discuss them and go through some steps she might take to gain the “experience tapas” that I mentioned in S1 Ep11.

Affinity mapping for careers

It was interesting to talk through her thoughts and experience, and to identify some assumptions about roles and career progression. It was a good session, there are lots of things she can start to do. I spent my evening at home writing up the post-its to get the actions to her because I want her to know that this is important to me, but I could have done with a sleep really…

Increasingly I find talking about and tracking assumptions tells me more and gives me a better sense of direction than any other way of thinking. Someone out there must have designed a process for managing this?

I also headed over to see Jessica (Hi Jess!) at ACAS this week for their “Show and Share”. It was good to see progress, how they’re making sure that the organisation is brought along with them on their journey, how they’re sharing user testing videos with people, and generally, seeing them embrace agile and service design principles.

Also great to note the number of content designers working on it, that was ace, hooray for content designers, hooray for Jess, she is doing a great job!

ACAS is on the 23rd floor, so there were some good views, even on a murky day…

Euston views. Those are not UFOs.

Highlights (new section alert!)

I met Beatrice from Policy Lab to learn out about the work they are doing and how they do it (or as much as possible within a half hour). I hope that I’ll be able to spend some time with the team and learn more about policy making; hopefully our teams can both work a bit more closely together too because there is a lot of support I think I/we/the digital team could offer which would have a great impact on the department — that would be ace.

We went out to Duck and Waffle for Nadia’s leaving lunch and Atique’s birthday. It was very very yummy. I will miss Nadia because she is lovely and I saw a lot of potential in her, but she is leaving for the right reasons to pursue her own things, that’s good.

Bye Nadia!

I also had a really great lunchtime meeting with Dan to talk about Weeknoters consultancy. We had an honest chat, laughed about the mechanics of writing theme tunes for weeknotes, and thought up some ideas — it felt good.


I need my evenings to wind down and I didn’t give myself the opportunity this week.

I haven’t learned my lesson from last week. I’ve been picking up work in the evenings to “keep on top of things”. I’ve been working from the train, eating badly (a Twix does not constitute lunch), low on energy, and I know this is having an impact on my resilience. As a result, I’m still not over this cold.

I met with Richard for a mentoring session (though at times I felt like it was a bit of a therapy session). Richard listened, prompted, and helped me to work it through. He also encouraged me to start thinking, not about what I’m doing but about how I’m doing it and how that might be different from other people, so that I can start to speak more clearly about my personal impact.

Another lesson this week: I need to take significantly less notes than even I think I do, because this happened, and it was all fine:

Titles, not notes.

Plan for Next week

I really have to find some time to rest and reflect next week, a WFH day is needed.

Conall asked me to think about things we can do to within our team to encourage talking about diversity and inclusion. Also noted that we have pretty poor gender diversity at the moment. I have ideas, so many ideas, but no time.

I know how you feel blue-haired lady.

OTG Microactions

  1. I dialled into the call for the One Team Gov Top200 event organisational team. As the name suggests, in October there will be an event held for the top 200 civil servants in the country to talk about public service reform. It’s going to be great and I’m really looking forward to helping with this and seeing how the “unconference” format works with that particular audience!

Ideas for blogs / Things I’m thinking about

Please get in contact if you have any thoughts on these or would be interested in drafting a blog together. Collaborative blogs FTW!

1.Weeknoters consultancy. Something I’ve struggled to get out of my head since Dan mentioned it in Ep32 of his weeknotes and mentioned above. More to follow.

2. Lets fund teams not projects. I initially wrote a response to this, but I’ve since revised some of my thoughts. I will blog it, but it won’t be what I expected it to be, quite.

3. Contractors. On the above, I’m thinking a lot about contractors. The people I’ve encountered, the way we treat and talk about contractors. The assumptions we make about them because they are contractors. More on this soon.

4. Responsibility. My mentoring meeting with Richard also got me thinking about the amount of responsibility I feel to my team; how I work based on considering other people’s feelings, how the decisions I make are almost exclusively based on wanting to do the best thing by them.

I’ve been wondering if the responsibility I feel is proportionate or whether it is actually holding me back. If it hasn’t come across in these notes (I hope it has) I absolutely love my team. We’ve worked hard to create cohesion, I want every single person in it to do well, do better, move on, and do more. I also want that for myself, and these things are hard to reconcile.


This silly thing about open plan office spaces and start-up tech culture which just made me laugh.

This interesting article about designing for democracy which includes this brilliant quote:

We have to work in a way which is unflinchingly transparent and participative — and do it in a way which is fair and inclusive. We have to design democracy into the process — how we design matters as much as what we design.

This great article:

This lovely little thread on, um, Twitter threads…

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