Work stuff

Much more work on Direct Debit this week. I don’t think you can spend 1.5 weeks on something and make a big strategic decision, so I broke the work down into

  • decisions we’d need to make immediately
  • evidence we’d need to collect to support long-term decisions

Last week’s strategy session also pointed to questions about GOV.UK Pay’s wider strategy too, which requires its own time to think through. I guess strategy is a living, breathing thing that you can’t think about at interspersed moments: you need to keep your eye on the strategy and whether you’re reaching your vision.

I’m feeling bad that I haven’t had much time to dedicate to the Kaizen and Migration teams too, though needs must. I’m going to make sure that David and I chat about the operational running of GOV.UK Pay in detail over the next few weeks, so that we’re approaching Q2 with some clearly articulated objectives.

It’s likely that our team shapes will change, from one multidisciplinary team plus two tech teams to two multidisciplinary teams plus one migration team. Miriam has been trying out dual-track agile, which I proposed for the Personalisation team, though we struggled to shift fully into build mode: most likely because we were finding our feet throughout the project.

And I’m heartened to see that much of the vision we stoked into the personalisation project has survived in Jen’s latest blog post. It’s not about increasing engagement, it’s about ensuring success the first time someone tries to do, find or know something. We’re not in the business of clocking up eyeball minutes, we want to help you get the thing you need so you can get on with your life. Boring magic.

You can read more about my time kicking off the exploration of personalising government on my blog.

Not-work stuff

Really don’t have the same energy for weeknotes at the moment, so I’m going to read through my early notes to pick up some enthusiasm. Maybe it’s just that writing about work feels like a chore. There was a point earlier in the year when a friend asked how I separated my work self from myself – and we realised I didn’t, I invested my whole person in The Job. Adding more personal reflections has caused a useful separation though. That’s good.

Finished reading Count Zero. Found it preferable to Neuromancer, the prequel, as there’s much less shifting about scenes at a rapid pace, instead spending time building moods and tension. The intertwining of the stories is done well, though I did lose track of Turner (one of the characters). And this book really shows you how much Gibson’s Sprawl trilogy had an influence on The Matrix, the Wachowskis took plenty of inspiration from these books. Looking forward to starting Mona Lisa Overdrive next.

The riots in the US are worrying, uncomfortably similar to the 2011 riots in the UK. Seems like as good a time as any to check your privilege. This address to the people of Atlanta by Killer Mike is so moving, metered and on-the-money.

Reading