Week five at NHS Digital’s Data Services directorate. As I’m very tired, these will be short notes.

Things I started

As we’re hanging out in the office as a team once a week at most, I carved out time in our calendars for more collaboration. It’s optional but creates two opportunities each week for us to get together when we’re working from home. It’s up to the group what we cover, but it’s time set aside to

  • play back to the group and get feedback
  • share thoughts and ideas, and
  • discuss or plan workshops or initiatives.

Based on Tero’s article about products and services, I put together a diagram of the service we’re working on. It’s a high-level diagram, showing the services, platforms and products that make up our wider service, and it’s necessary because all the other diagrams and maps we have are granular in detail. There’s nothing that zooms out and shows how everything fits together in a simple way. Another aspect I like is the outputs that help the user reach their outcome. I need to iterate the diagram based on new learnings but I’ll share it around the programme once done and get feedback.

Things I shuffled along

In between meetings and things, I spent the majority of the week preparing for the three (!) governance and assurance processes we’ve got to go through: spend controls, a service assessment and an internal assurance board. It’s pretty easy preparing for the GDS processes as I know the territory and everything is very well documented. The internal assurance process is not documented, which isn’t helpful.

The team made great progress on the alpha and we’ll be doing ideation and prioritisation next week, I think, before we spend the rest of the alpha phase designing, building and testing prototypes. Which means we’re getting close to the fun stuff!

Some puzzles

None this week. It turned out I didn’t need to put into practice my plans as much as I’d expected.

Other things

I’m getting old, and I can’t drink as much any more! I’m drinking much less than I used to pre-pandemic, before I was running four or five times a week. But damn, a few pints at a wedding in Cheshire did me in last weekend. This weekend was boozy too, in Bristol for the start of the rugby season.

Glad that I got out for my long run today though. I was close to postponing until tomorrow but, had I done that, I wouldn’t have been able to enjoy Selsdon woods in the late summer afternoon light.

My speed repeats were fun on Thursday morning. I had to run 800m very fast, followed by jogging for 400m, and did that 8 times. It was hard but I felt good, strong. The workout was fun because it was raining and a bit muddy, and you can always smell the outdoors when it’s like that. Makes you forget you’re in London. Even reminded me of being in north Wales.

The Queen died on Thursday. I’m not a fan of the monarchy or what it represents, but fair play to the Queen for being a public-spirited person. Kinda tempted to go to the lying in state, see the coffin and all that. Not to pay my respects, more to see all the pomp and ceremony.

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