I haven’t written any weeknotes in a couple of months, mainly because I’ve not found it necessary to reflect on what I’m doing. Having said that, things have been going well and I should write that down so I remember these things later.

These notes don’t cover everything we’ve done over the last 8 weeks, obviously, these are just the highlights.

Things I started

I started a paper with our user researcher and an economist describing how we might quantify the size of the public sector payments market. We collected some feedback but need to do more work on it.

Things I shuffled along

Our alpha looking at recurring payments functionality for GOV.UK Pay has been going well. We called out the risky assumptions we were making about how it would work, dived into those assumptions to pull out specific research questions, wireframed and prototyped our ideas, and we’ve been testing these with service teams. Tomorrow we’ve got a session to check on what we’ve learned so far and on Monday we’ll check on progress against our ‘Alpha is done when…’ objectives.

The team have gelled well and they’re collaborating excellently. They’re good at helping each other get on the same page, and there’s enough trust to admit when you don’t know something.

In one of the weeks, I expected we’d be able to have a planning session and start building things, but not everyone had the same picture in their head of how things would work. This caused a bit of head-scratching and it felt uncomfortable, especially because the following day I was on holiday. But when I came back, the team had self-organised an alternative plan that worked quite well. Within two days, we had tangible artefacts to share with services, the wider Pay team and inside GDS. It was lovely.

Most people on the team seem to be developing a gut feeling for what is and isn’t MVP. That’s really good. It’s amazing how much you can learn from wireframing a couple of workflows, building a shonky prototype, mocking up a marketing page and putting all of that in front of services. Get out of the building.

I’ve been naff at documenting our decisions, despite keeping a product decision record, and lots of our thinking is inside Mural boards rather than documents. I need to carve out time to write things up, but I’m really grateful to Dom, our tech lead, for writing things up.

The plan for private beta is starting to come together, and I’m really proud of all the work the team has done.

Some puzzles

In July I’ll be leaving GDS to join Claimer, so I’m working out how to hand over my responsibilities. I figure now’s the time to start a doc where I can just note things down. If you have any helpful pointers, let me know!

Other things

Still loving running. I’ve come up with a 4-week half-marathon training plan and so far it’s going well. I’m in the 4th week, so next week is race week. There isn’t an organised race, I’m just going to try and run 21.1km. Having arbitrary life goals is fun, who knew?!

Last weekend was quite cool. Sunday especially. I ran 18km, the longest I’ve ever run. Then I read the papers in the sun with a coffee. After lunch, we went to Caernarfon airport and I flew a Piper Cherokee. I saw Dinas Dinlle from the sky. To cap the day, I swam around the Pwllheli coast and saw dolphins hunting. Not bad really.

Feeling blessed tbh.