It rained pretty much every day this week. Buckets of the stuff. We’ve been very inside this first week of lockdown, but there was glory in Friday’s sunset. After Storm Aiden passes I’m sure there will be more brightness next week.

The rain may have affected my mood this week.

Things I shuffled along

For all the services that didn’t have 3D Secure enabled, I looked at their configuration and sent out an email asking them to turn on 3DS1 authentication before 31 December 2020 or payments are likely to start failing the following day. That took up a large portion of Monday and Friday, and reminded how I got customer analysis and comms into a good place with eCasework. Old lessons for new problems.

Pre-planning, when we think about the upcoming sprint, usually happens on a Monday but this week was shifted to a Wednesday. That’s because developers were at a code retreat on Monday and Tuesday is a no-meetings day, so getting everyone on the same page on Wednesday, shuffling through a couple of different-shaped backlogs in my head and writing up cards, felt taxing. Especially as there were a couple of heavy and involved meetings on that day. Maybe I should be considering the mental effort required in and around meetings and factoring that into how I plan my weeks. No more than 2 or 3 hours of meetings per day, perhaps.

There was a lightbulb moment for our Strong Customer Authentication work though. I know what we need to do in what order to make sure we hit deadlines, don’t cause services to incur too high fees, and can make the paying user journey more frictionless.

It was also excellent to chat to the Child Arrangements service, one of our 400 users, about problems with the paying user journey. More of that is a tonic.

Some puzzles

I got frustrated about a few things this week, which stemmed from a risk-rating session we had to do for senior management. It highlighted a lot of areas that we find risky and two big, almost existential problems. As a growth-stage product, I’m worried that we don’t have a good picture of new business and churn, where a simple AARRR funnel might suffice.

Our account management is also complicated – or our communication is inefficient, maybe both. Knowledge management isn’t fluid, some roles are maybe duplicated. I’m not sure exactly, there were just a couple of meetings where the balance of things wasn’t quite right.

Staffing and recruitment is still an issue. Losing a delivery manager after a week gave me more things to do, which left me less thinking time – and I’m covering for not having a performance analyst or content designer, soon to lose my user researcher.

Other things

I have, sensibly or not, decided to participate in NaBloPoMo. Here’s an index of blog posts from National Blog Writing Month 2020. It’ll be updated daily so you might prefer to subscribe to my RSS feed (look in the footer).

Also going booze-free during November, so writing will help distract me.

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