Weeknotes S10 Ep7

The hangover

I wrote last weeks #weeknotes on Sunday, after I’d spent most of the weekend in bed with a migraine. Well, that migraine hasn’t gone away and, as I write this, it’s been more than one week since it settled in. I can’t say I’m ill, but I’m not quite well.

More than anything it’s affected my concentration but annoyingly it’s also affected my patience, I’ve found myself being more irritable as I struggle to process, turn things around and make sense of things. Not just at work, just generally.

Be generous stickers

Coupling this lack of patience with my (well established) anxiety isn’t the greatest combination; we had a team retro on Wednesday and afterwards I strongly felt that I’d let this irritability get the better of me. Not necessarily that I was irritated with what was happening or being said, but I worried that people could have construed it that way, which in turn led me to internalise things. It wasn’t a great situation inside my brain. Anyway, I guess this is the hangover as described below.

The five stages of a migraine attack.

What’s happened this week?

  • Caught up with some funded projects and some emails
  • Had a meeting with two projects who will be working together as part of our COVID-19 round of funding
  • Had a catch up with our new Delivery Manager Michael
  • Had a retro with the whole team
  • Talked about upcoming User Research work
  • Talked the Troubled Families team through some of our project work

I also worked on allocation of projects and resource planning for our upcoming work, including; categorising projects into the level of support we plan to give them, setting up a collaboration manager capacity tracker, and a Trello board for keeping details about our projects.

I learned that although I’ve been working openly in my Miro board and sharing regularly with people, that that doesn’t guarantee that they are actually looking at or understanding what you’re doing.

A screenshot of my Miro board

The above is what I’ve been working on. Mapping the effort we think our upcoming projects need against what the teams have actually asked for, and then the “perceived value” against actual cost. Then I’ve used those points to define which levels of support we should give to each, in order to understand the resource needs (how much work each of us collaboration managers will do with each).

So, even though I’m modelling working in the open (and I know people have looked at the Miro board because I’ve seen their little mice running all around the place) I need to do more to engage people outside of the collaboration managers and make sure that they can “read” what’s being worked through.

This is “showing your working out” but as we haven’t had any show and tells lately maybe that’s the thing that bridges the gap and cements people’s understanding — need to work on that.

Our little collaboration team is made up of 4 people, but only 3 full time equivalents, we are small, agile, and that’s good because we can tailor our approaches to working with teams, but we also need to be super mindful of resourcing — especially at the moment when people are really tired and on the verge of burnout.

The team have used the capacity tracker I’ve set up to estimate their upcoming work, and it’s a bit scary that at least two of us are well overcapacity. So we will need to think intelligently about how we approach that.

What else?

Well I’ve read a bit more this week but the migraine has made things harder than I’d like and there are still a few tabs open in my backlog, anyway here’s my Trello reading list: https://trello.com/b/BBJ726mr/progress-bookmarks

My trello reading list for this week.

I’ve been reading and helping with a statement of suitability for a friend in another department that I really hope helps her to secure a new role (and promotion) with an awesome team.

I had a catch up with Dan which was lovely as always, and it was useful to have someone remind me to slow myself down and stop getting ahead of myself — maybe picking up on some of that impatience I mentioned. It’s so good to have these kinds of thoughtful career and life conversations with Dan and I really value that someone I admire so much trusts me with their thoughts and offers me support in return.

I watched Alex on University Challenge! As Abbey says…

I reflected on my social mobility story about not knowing any Ruperts until I joined the Cabinet Office; now I have another story, I now have a friend clever enough to appear alongside lots of other smarty pants on a TV show I usually zone out of because the questions are too hard (or about subjects my school didn’t teach).

I had a lovely chat with Jenny. I miss Jenny.

Ah and someone I don’t know (in New Zealand!) shared one of my blogs on LinkedIn, which is lovely:


On that note, someone I also admire from another government department messaged me for an interesting chat. It was a good chat, really thoughtful and I’m grateful that people approach me with their thoughts and ideas. I’m kinda being deliberately cryptic, because it was a private conversation, but want to put it here because it’s important I remember things like this.

One Team Gov Suicide prevention

I’m getting twitchy now as our breakfast takeover is a little over 2 weeks away. My anxious, tired brain has been telling me that I’m half arsing this and I’ve been beating myself up. I don’t think I have been, but y’know, rational doesn’t tend to be the default for my brain.

Either way, something will happen, and if we didn’t do this then we can’t guarantee anyone else would — I have to remember that. It’s about breaking ground, not being perfect.

At time of writing we have 62 people signed up for breakfast, many of whom are Mental Health First Aiders. 62 is an acceptable number, totally workable, but there’s still time to get involved — if you’d like an invite to breakfast just let me know.

The organising team had a good conversation this week about next priorities, we agreed on speakers to get involved and Jon and Debbie did a great job of getting our Eventbrite sign up all sorted, so…

If you’re a public sector person who’s interested in this, please sign up using the link below:


Actually I know I did some things — shut up stupid brain — I did these things:

My Trello checklist of the week’s OTG stuff.

Funny how we undervalue and underplay some of the fundamental organisational stuff that needs to go on behind the scenes eh? Stupid brain.

What else?

I signed up for Lauren’s UPFRONT course:


I’m excited, kinda, telling myself that maybe I won’t fit in, that it’s not for me, but at the same time, trying really really hard not to listen to those voices again.

And last but by no means least my K-Mix arrived. Pavlova here I come (stand by for pics of the Eaton mess that will no doubt actually materialise).

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