For the first time in ages, I’ve woken up at 4 a.m. thinking about work. It’s hard to keep a track on my work without writing it down too, which means a return to weeknoting and journalling what I’m doing will help.

But given I haven’t written any weeknotes since, ahem, late April, I’ve got a few months to catch up on. Loads happening, so these notes will be brief.

Work things

  • Changes to the cadence of how our whole team operates has gone well, and bringing more rigour to show & tells has helped with cross-team awareness and knowledge sharing.
  • Leading the team coaching alongside our coach, Stefan, has been fantastic, and it’s highlighting which team-forming workshops are a must (establishing ground rules, mapping roles and responsibilities across a value stream, working to a shared vision, etc.).
  • The growth strategy I started working on is kicking off properly in October, as a discovery with our users. There’s not enough evidence to hand to validate assumptions with, and unlike other design systems we don’t have the closed boundary of a company to help set one strategy for all teams.
  • That discovery will only look at opportunities for feature work, scaling work or extending product-market fit, though: the community strategy is at the heart of the GOV.‌UK Design System’s growth, and we’ve begun planning a small conference.
  • Do you shape people’s experiences of using the web? Designers, developers, researchers, UXers, product managers, content folk, and other tech superstars of all shapes and sizes, come along to Design System Day 2023! Better yet, answer our call for speakers and tell the community a story of a cool component, pattern or design system you worked on.
  • The early work Chris and I did on native apps became fruitful: we learned how the Digital Identity team crafted a component library and some guidelines for a GOV.‌UK-style app; we learned from HMRC everything they’d learned over the last 6 years about building an app; similarly we learned lessons from the NHS App team; and I put the person leading a cross-government app strategy in touch with teams working on apps (not part of my contract, but something worth doing).
  • The GOV.‌UK Frontend squad is close to getting v5.0.0 out the door as a pre-release, a chance to collect feedback before a full public release in Q3.
  • The Design System squad launched Exit this Page and has been beavering away to make our components and patterns compliant with the new WCAG 2.2 guidelines.
  • The work includes an epic I ‘commissioned’ to re-design how we write and publish accessibility content, which ~85% of our users say is the biggest benefit they get from the GOV.‌UK Design System (but there are improvements to be made).
  • We’ve updated the team playbook a few times but need to focus on defining and writing the low-hanging fruit.
  • I’m still very interested in shaping and working on big bets and getting more agency-type experience, so hit me up if you think there’s something I could work on from February 2024 onwards (when my contract at Government Digital Service is due to end).
  • There’s a few blog posts sitting in my drafts folder that need to be published, and I’d like to write one on delivery pacing (vary the intensity consciously).

Not-work things

  • Ultramarathon training has shifted to marathon training, as I was trying to do too much too soon. The 80/20 plan is fantastic though, making high weekly mileage but sustainable.
  • Low-alcohol life is going well! Granted I took a week off in July to enjoy wine in Croatia, the reason for visiting, but I have developed a new relationship to booze – I’ll write about that.
  • I haven’t been fastpacking or camping since April, must get a trip in the diary before summer is out.
  • My family treated me to a pizza oven for my birthday and, you know what, I don’t think I’ll need to spend £14 on a Napoli-style pizza ever again.
  • Went to my first Eisteddfod and had a cracking time.

Bookmarks

My reading habit is obliterated. Need to fire up a routine again. Here’s what I’ve read since late April, anyway.