A really heavy week of meetings - planning for the future, and being open and transparent as possible.
I enjoy these type of weeks, everyone wanting to improve (as I do), and this means only one thing - motivation, which is brilliant.

I don’t believe there is a lot to do - improving communications is key, and I fully believe this would of happened organically, but having these meetings means it’ll happen quicker and be more open and share responsibility.

Monday
First thing is a pre-planning where we run through what we expect/want in the next sprint.
Heavily discussed was the previously broken-communication issue amongst one project, the best ways of working and going forward.
I fully believe no one wants to be in this situation, and with the support of everyone we can learn a lot from this and will. We have a very strong team of people - one im very proud to be amongst, and I don’t doubt for a second that the reasons for doing the work were for the right reasons, we just didn’t let them know the “proper” process of doing this.

Tuesday
9am meeting (without coffee) was a open table meeting with “team two” to discuss the best ways of working. It’s impressive that this was instigated by non-designers and their need for a smooth process and also their trust in trying out something that might be wrong is inspiring.
Two boards together - one is current “flight” board and on the left side is tickets “in prep” - which can be design, bugs etc - tickets to work on to be ready for “whatever sprint in the future”.
The output will be a constant “check in”, talking throughout the process to see if everyone is on-board with the design process.

Seems to make sense - will be interesting to work this way, as it feels it could really make design a talking point during stand-up.

Wednesday
Stand up in the morning where we get straight into testing the design area of the board - seemed to be really nice to talk about design and allowed others to have a say. More of this, please!

A full day of sprint reviews, retros, and planning - for the retro I HAD to mention how I really love how the chair move (designers sitting with good developers and good QAs) and how it will work out (and already showing signs of it being the best decision).
Also, today is Show and Tell, since joining DWP, these have improved, but this week was the best one I’ve attended - it was clear with a great direction with good questions and even better answers.
Quick note: discussions on prototype future - should we keep doing them etc, a good decision but one that will have to be cleared up eventually (but not a great rush at the moment).

Thursday
Another sprint planning session, but this time with the “team two” team - plenty to work on for the future and a concentration on improving things for the user “life improvements”. Really excited to work on these things - as I know from speaking to the users directly they will love the soon-to-be-done fixes.

In the afternoon, 1:1 catch up with one of two line manager, always good to catch up and provide updates whilst getting feedback on improving it for the week after.
Followed by a leaving-do for a special person who was one of the two User Researchers in the team I worked in. A really funny and good person who helped support me during my early days.

Friday
Morning - Sprint retro. Great to run through these again - honest feedback, loads of good conversations on taking the team further and it’s completely open. Retro’s like this remind me of how important they are, facilitated well and working with a team that is good at communicating and comfortable knowing whatever is said in the room is for the good of the team and more importantly - is a safe room.

Good things
Having a team as open as the two I’m in, makes me feel really excited for the future. Nothing can’t be said (within reason), and it feels like we are all going in the right direction.

I also want to give a shout out to the PO and DM calling a “ways of working” meeting, we spend 1 hour 30 minutes to discuss how can we work as a design team better (including Devs, BAs, QAs etc) - this happened, went well and I’m VERY excited by this.

Learned things
How great is a place of work when the team wants to be better? Every sprint we strive to be better than the last - it not only makes us better as a team but it drags me along and makes me chomp at the bit to be better.
THIS is amazing.

Difficulties
Finding time to work. Every two weeks the week includes a day that is pure meetings - sometimes its busy and other times its a great reminder of the work we’ve done. I must remember that it’s actually a good thing to enjoy the end-of-sprint moment, showing off our work, celebrating all work done and getting together in a room to, as mentioned before improve and cheer each other on!

Achievements
I had to think about my past experience to discuss how I wish our design-process to be, and I didn’t use any of it - instead of making the team work together and discuss how they want to work with the design team then working back. I love getting the answer by including everyone in it - I’m not at my best working silo, so getting everyone involved is good.


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