It was project MT for the first three days of the week. The service design side is going along fine, there’s an understanding of what the structure is and could be, there’s abstract possibilities for service improvements, but there’s a reliance on a few things shifting for change. Realising something better is taking a bit of knitting and re-knitting. It’s the usual though. 30-40% of what you design isn’t seen by the team but helps them fill in gaps and make decisions; 80 to 90% of what you design isn’t seen publicly. It’s getting there. I’m down to two days a week from next week and that floaty dipping in and out feeling I don’t like is starting to set in. Nature of the role here though innit. Documenting some of this work to be shareable is on the radar in the coming weeks. 👍🏼

Project MV, four or five days spread over just two weeks is done. Take a bit of a gnarly mess, work out with the team are responsible (or better still actually feel responsible) how to untangle it, explore where those loose ends could go, go back and forth a bit, and getting down a decreasing opacity roadmap of probable/possible tactics. One of the trickier bits in a work of many trickialities: How do we communicate this to the people who have been waiting for this and will have to be doing most of the work? Tested that too, with a bit more back and forth. Never mad keen on “just a few days” work, but this was one of those that pulled on lots of my experiences and skills. And being a consultant coming in for just a few specific days gave the work a reason to push on. And if it all goes wrong I can take the heat. 😂

I started a new bit of work, helping on project MC. So far it’s been spending time with the designer going over what they’ve bene doing, what they are doing and what needs to be done. It’s not a web thing as well, which is a nice break from the slew of web stuff I’ve done recently. The designer is really cool and bright, which always makes work enjoyable, and it’s nice to spend some time supporting rather than leading. I spent less time on it than agreed because I wasn’t really needed and invoiced less accordingly. It’s about doing the right thing the right way and all that.

Pro tips

  • There was a moment when I kept quiet about something I didn’t agree with. Sometimes despite your disagreement it plays out you were wrong, either empirically or democratically. Other times you need someone else to say what you’re thinking so you’re not that continual nit-picker.
  • If you’re working on a design system a useful principle from the start is something along the lines of Do The Hard Work To Keep It Simple – And Keep It Simple.
  • Leaving a thought or problem lingering for some time: Sometimes the stewing unearths problems, other times the stewing can help with creeping confidence. Worth reminding yourself as you jump through your Problem Solving in a rapid fire 60 minute workshop. Big issues need space.
  • Your regular reminder whatever process you use for designing it’s always messy. Just a question how much other people see that or even involved with that.
  • Your regular reminder not everyone wants to be involved with designing. They just want you to show them the outputs.

Events/meet ups

On Monday, Head to Head, using data in service design. A nippy meet hop, with a couple of 7 minute breakout sessions. “2020 is a prototype” was an interesting sound byte.

Paper’s how we treat people session was excellent. I have a lot of time for Paper. They’re half the studio/agency I aspired to get going, a one of a handful that I think are interesting. One of the gang talking about their starting up journey reminded me what I wrote when I left Home, getting down how I wanted to operate my own thing including me treating people and how I wanted people to treat me. Those “operating guidelines” have been more a mental checklist in recent years, never something I used explictly to gain, agree or even govern work. I abide by the client’s rules… But the Paper gang talking about having those things up front and open, set standards, behavioural standards, seemed to increase confidence, increase accountability, got me thinking why a company of more than one human can do that but a company of one might not. I dug the old stuff out, been through it all, see what I can use, improve and use, add to it. I frequently say “If you have got principles what have you got?” I reminded myself that. I am going to get them out there and use them.

Other work life

Took some time out to do a couple of sessions with students at universities, one talking about the need for much more diversity in design and digital teams.

Stickie saying do something you love
Stickie saying do something you love

I shared on Twitter a stickie I have on my monitor, which says do something you love, noting it has guided me most of the year. Something tangible, something visible to remind us and all that, especially when the heads go down or the heads go in and lose focus. Same thing about slogan posters in offices. Remember those?

Under all this I ended having to make an unexpectedly difficult decision this week. Yeah, do something you love, but also in my ears I have the words don’t squander your potential still ringing after a brutally honest session with my mentor before summer.

I’ve been slotting in several catch ups every week, but ending the working week having one with Kathryn Grace is one of the best ways to end a week.

Things you might like to read too

This week was assisted by

  • The musical blessings of Simian Mobile Disco
  • Under Milk Wood coffee
  • My son wants a desktop PC. He has a list of parts. I know I know a lot about computers but I hit a point of computer things I don’t enough about. Keep learning!

Next week

This post tagged with:
weeknotes, 2020 weeknotes