I’ve not published any weeknotes from the day job for the past three weeks. At the start of November, I kicked off looking through my daily notes and cutting out the non-NHS beta stuff to publish an end-of-week look back on what me and the team had been doing. I’d been making the notes already and liked what Matt Jukes was doing, publishing his notes. It seemed an easy win, keeping going the habit of working in the open that the NHS Alpha team was so good at a year or so back when I started mulling over leaving HMRC to join them.
Blogging is a good habit, whether you do it publicly or privately: Get your thoughts down, draw some proverbial lines, as well as working your thinking through, even if it is a more gradual process. Which is why I do a quick dump of my thoughts every day. So much going on: Jot it down. But I’ve never been comfortable airing everything publicly.
Example: I am not the kind of person that could confidently write at length about how I enjoy running these days. The occasional tweet or Instagram post might do the job, but nothing more. And I’m not sure the world would benefit from knowing I have a spreadsheet to track my progress during this year. (Andrew Travers has written on this though, entertainingly, an excellent piece on running and not running.)
Back to the weeknotes: Week 11 felt a sort of triumphant point after what felt like a slower December, an almost tantric release. But I found publishing notes for weeks 12 and 13 a tougher call. After the cutdown what I was left with didn’t feel very substantial, like not much was happening. But I knew that wasn’t the case. On screen though, not a lot there. I didn’t want to feel I was misrepresenting the work we were doing.
Also, I was also cutting out some stuff asking some tough – tougher even – questions of our work and going about it. I’ve said before, in week 7 “Rarely do we talk about the more awkward bits, the painful stuff. How do we go about giving a bit more balance in our regular reports?”
It’s hard to explain, it’s hard to give to give an answer – particularly when the org you work for, NHS Digital, sits at the bottom of an org chart, particularly when you are just working on a fixed term contract basis for that org and representing is tenuous – so I just skip to the next track. Maybe I will do weeks 14, 15 and 16 as a bit catch-up like, I did for December.
Citizens Advice are having a good go at being openly honest. Their latest post on intranets is succinct and crisp. Maybe it’s the org that needs to lead with this, by starting having an honest dialogue internally. But great to see CA are starting with the needs, and around that most corporate of devices. Here are Nielsen’s best 10 intranets of 2017, by the way.
I’ve been a bit glum the past few days. The first anniversary of my nana passing nine days back. Missing Craft over in Manchester on Thursday and the Leeds leg of the Global Service Jam over this weekend. Pounding through Halt and Catch Fire and questioning the why and how of what I am doing.
I was reminded last week of an artefact on the web about me starting off on the freelance/contracting path. I said at the time: “It’s a good time for me… to focus on creating audience-focused digital-led experiences, that start with no agenda other than to aspire to be transformational wherever possible.” That was and still is important to me, to be involved with that kind of work. I’ve blogged about the work I have been involved with. If I blog, as I write those blog posts, I want to be reminded I am doing that kind of work. And back in September I slapped down some thoughts on my problem with digital transformation, half to remind myself to measure what I was involved with. And it’s still pertinent as I work out what is next – more of the same or go a bit deeper going full time somewhere.
But it’s Sunday. I’ve a week working away from NHS beta. A chance for a break from the heads-down-deliver of recent months. An early spring break, a mind, a spirit refresher.