Week notes 20th April

Bluebells at stopham

Last week was about trying to work a balance between thinking and doing – trying to ask questions but also starting to get properly involved. The question I find myself asking most often is ‘do I know enough to act?”. But as I get properly wired into the team – and questions come and find me rather than me having to go and look for them – I am finding that really what I need to do is check that my team has asked themselves right questions because when they do they have most of the answers. I need to make sure that I get into the habit of asking questions before I jump in with answers – but this is not new learning from me and more reaffirmation of something I know already. If you see me doing it them feel free to jump in and stop me.

My own questions from my first week are still very much in my mind but I am more focused on currently on asking ‘how do we make the whole greater than the sum of the parts?. So far my conversations with my team show that we are converging on some answers but we are about to make it a bit more real by experimenting with some ideas that will deliberately disrupt some of the current ways of working and look at how we can apply mixed methods to some of the things we are working on.

Everyone is fine with this in principle but multidisciplinary working is hard and while not borrowing trouble I expect this process to throw up some challenges. I’ve therefore been thinking about what the design parameters for this experiments should be and what outcomes we are looking for.

Design parameters:

  • There is ‘real’ work involved – these are not workshops but adjustments to work in flight
  • Experiments are co-designed between the technology/digital teams
  • There has to be a clear purpose to the experiment and a way of measuring success
  • It will provide us with new information to help us design how we want to work together in the future

In terms of outcomes:

  • Increased understanding across the team of different ways of working
  • Increased trust and empathy between the two halves of the team
  • Learning about ways of working that can be part of a shared playbook

This week we are also starting the ‘day in the life’ presentations which the team have been working on to walk me through what they do each day. I’m really looking forward to these and am looking forward to being surprised.

Thinking of being surprised, I joined a sales call today from a vendor and I was really struck by the fact that people really do want to help us.  This feels very different to other sectors I have worked in – including Local Government – its a remarkable thing and it makes me slightly sad to think I have not encountered it before – but that doesn’t stop me appreciating it now.

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