These are coming out on a Monday because I was too wiped from work at the weekend. It’s good to go into overdrive every now and then, to squeeze out those thoughts that really need you to spend the extra brain credits, but it’s not sustainable. There’s a bit more headroom now I’m not teaching in the evenings though.

Things I shuffled along

Last week in the payment options discovery, we started to wrap up our findings on organisations’ needs for procuring, implementing and managing different payment options, as well as continue to develop our understand of the specific pain points with telephone payments and recurring payments.

To wrap up our findings, we

  • interviewed some teams that don’t use Pay, to help validate what others told us
  • pulled out the qualities that distinguish different organisations and their approach to payments

This last bit is really useful. It gives us a picture of the kinds of teams we’re dealing with, their unique behaviours and the strategic objectives or blockers they have. It’s good for digging in to the ‘why’ behind their answers, to help us understand why they’ve implemented certain payment options in the past. So now we know that when one team comes and asks for Direct Debit, it doesn’t mean the same as when another team asks for it.

To continue developing our understanding of specific pain points, we

  • drew up service blueprints for telephone payments and recurring payments based on what we know so far
  • highlighted areas we were unsure about or had questions for
  • wrote up the questions and identified teams to answer them
  • circled which areas are likely to need the most detailed tech and design work to understand further

We also started preparing the slide deck for the discovery playback on 1 April.

I pulled together a crude benefits model too. Though providing telephone payments and recurring payments through Pay is likely to create some cashable benefits for services, it can also be a blocker to them cashing in the other benefits of taking payments online.

The main theme emerging for me is how much Government-as-a-Platform has been designed primarily for central government but local authorities with the right approach can benefit from our platforms too. Only there hasn’t been the same mandate for digital transformation in local government, so the responsibility falls on digital teams and departments that drank the Kool-Aid to convince the rest of the council. That’s hefty political work, let alone all the day-to-day change management. Props to them.

Things I started

A presentation for a third and final interview that happened on Friday. They seemed to really like it, so I’m waiting to hear back how it went.

Some puzzles

We were talking about how we might use office space when we go back to one. A thing we don’t want to happen is for anyone working remotely to become a second-class citizen to those working in close proximity: it’s really easy to turn and tap someone on the shoulder, forgetting to pull in your colleagues working from home. Another problem is background noise and its effect on video meetings (because there’s likely to be many of those).

Wrote up some experiments we’d like to try.

  1. See if a telepresence setup can equalise the friction of having ad-hoc conversations (‘tap someone on the shoulder’ but through video)
  2. Experiment with equipment, rooms and furniture to find the cheapest way to allow every individual in the office to dial in to a meeting without disturbing those around them – but that probably needs other teams to be present, and the experiment needs to happen in the offices we will use
  3. See if a big touch screen running Mural and some specific facilitation rules can result in a remote/office hybrid meeting that is equal for all participants
  4. Experiment with AV equipment to allow good sound quality of stand-up meetings outside meeting rooms (needs background noise)
  5. For high-level strategy meetings (long, draining over video) and line management catch-ups (human element is beneficial), compare the effectiveness of co-location vs fully remote

I’ve updated my post on hybrid working with what we’ve learned over the last year.

Other things

I watched a few films and started playing S.TA.L.K.E.R.: Shadow of Chernobyl in the moments I wasn’t sleeping. It was a week of working late and a weekend of taking it very easy.

Also, the cat got into the loft of Wednesday. A novel problem to solve, for sure.

Decided to rest my legs from running as they’re a bit tight, but I’ll get back on the intervals after Easter probably.