Weeknote 24th Feb 2023 – A week of face to face and meetings

Coming to the end of this week pretty tired. I’ve had a lot more face to face time through work than usual, and some travel and this has taken it out of me a bit. It’s been a good one though.

On Monday I headed over to Bristol for one of our roughly quarterly team days. We all spent the day working together on Tuesday. We worked with a parter department to create a form with our form builder that they should be putting live pretty soon. We also had some sessions on ways of working, and some great discussions about some of the challenges and priorities we have with building our product. I wouldn’t say face to face conversations are always better, but they do give a different energy and are good to have in the mix.

We had a really interesting discussion about ways of working that boiled down to being about the balance of synchronous meetings as compared to asynchronous documentation. Most places I have worked I have heard people say they end up having too many meetings. It’s a sentiment that’s easy to get behind, but finding a way of effectively moving into trying some different approaches is quite hard.

There are some aspects of meetings people really like, even if they can be hard work. There are also some aspects of the alternatives that many people often push back on, either in conversation or in their behaviour. In the past (in other organisations) I’ve often found that people get behind the idea of less meetings and more documentation only to end up not reading the documentation, or slowly dropping the habit of writing it at all. I’ll try to write more on my thoughts on this as I think it’s an area well worth unpacking and trying to understand better.

Our team conversation was a useful one. It’s good to share different perspectives and we came up with some concrete things to try out and see how they work for us.

I’ve done quite a bit of work with partner organisations this week. We onboarded a new partner with a workshop to delve into understanding their processes. We worked with a partner to begin to create their final form, and I ran a usability testing session with another partner who was totally new to the tool. In the usability session I took a much less structured approach than I have done recently, and tried to learn what it was like to get into and explore the tool for the first time. I think this worked pretty well, although it can introduce some friction when you are too ambiguous about a session and hand over the onus of what participants should be trying to achieve to them.

Next week is a really busy one, with 6 accessibility testing sessions, a kick off with a new partner and some other interviews. I’m also taking Wednesday off to help an old friend with a big moving job. Should be a busy but enjoyable week!


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