A wonky week of WFH and in the office.
Having your house smashed to bits is not how to prepare for a relaxing Christmas, but hopefully it’ll run so smoothly I wont even realise I’m filing the kettle up from the bathroom tap, washing up in the shower and having sandwiches for each dinner. Barely noticable..

The plus points was Monday - worked so well with the wider team, having a U.R. touch point for help, and he’s been great - so helpful. Working with Emma has been a huge highlight as well, I’ve shared all I know about managing projects, building emails to writing (hopefully) interesting posts, reminds me of the old days of contracting!

Monday
Catch ups as normal at work with the wider design team. Also, working alongside a User Researcher for advice, its been an interesting learning experience working without a User Researcher in the team and filling in the gaps. Doing a discussion guide, finding out assumptions/questions, getting the team to see what they class as possible issues look for trends in the pile of issues that the users have sent in (using Jira as a base to post these issues to). I’ve enjoyed this, always great to learn more when possible and the level of support received from the team and business in this resource shortage has been good.

Recently, my evenings are taken up working on Emma’s business website - Bobbin and Bumble, reworking the site to v2 to add more content to the home page, it’s been an interesting journey getting the site live, we’ve had minor issues along the way - which, back in my contracting days I would have caught instantly.. but the rust is showing!

Tuesday
WFH - builders are in!
Anxiety is on.

Lots of loud terrible noises, and pure panic from myself. Ahh - who’s idea was this?

Finalising the discussion guide in preparation for tomorrow’s run through with the content designer.
Day of doing the admin jobs, as it’s nice and quiet.. well its nice.. well i’m at home.

Wednesday
Another WFH day, quiet days like this are perfect for learning - which means for me… reading up on discovery processes from pages such as:

Gov.UK Discovery guide

It’s been quite a while since I was part of the early days of a project (4 years), so it’s great to have a refresher and to share my findings with the team.

Thursday

Morning stand up, as I’ve been out of the office for two days these are useful so I know what others are up to.

Quick chat through on the UR plans for visiting and conducting interviews, and then confirming the discussion guide - just a date and location to decide on now.

As the project is nearer an end - I’m looking forward to the health check that I have needed to instigate, hopefully it shows everything is running as smoothly as hoped, but also to let them feel listened to and do any fixes that need doing instantly to the service.

This workload has lightened up, allowing me to work on the “community” things that DWP does so well. Speaking to other team members, seeing what I can take from my previous experience working with other design teams and share and just “be in the same room and listen” to how the team is functioning and check for any patterns.
This is the stuff I love doing!

Friday
Somehow.. the team is all WFH (including me) - so a morning chat on Slack is needed. You can tell this team is a healthy pack of friends and colleagues by the fact we take turns when talking, wait for the conversation to end, and comment. And proudly - if there is a problem we all swarm around and help, if needed we down tools and assist. It might be one of the friendliest and most helpful teams i’ve ever worked in. It’s amazing and a real joy to spend my working hours with.

We are soon to go into Discovery, and I’ve given myself the task of lining up some meetings with colleagues who have gone through the discovery “adventure” before, and see what they are doing, done and find out how they found the whys and do the hows and to share to the team the findings.

Good things
Sharing issues with London and Manchester shows that as a team - we can really work well together. In our time of need (we are under-resourced in User Researchers at the moment), we could call upon one and he instantly offered his help and understood our situation. He may not be able to do “field work” (being onsite to speak to users), but he can and is assisting us in doing it ourselves.

Learned things
Great to work outside of work, and remind myself I can launch a product. Working with my wife on Bobbin and Bumble has been a highlight - its reminded me of ways to prioritise work, wider thinking, and building emails (that one I would happily forget).

Difficulties
Tough to keep motivated sometimes when house / building issues arise, work gets busier, and I also promised to deliver on my wife’s website. Thankfully, I’ve been here before and learned to say no in the past, but its always tough when I have promised on things that NEED to be done.

Achievements
I read up on onsite SEO, I built emailers, I planned campaigns, I somehow managed a team of builders, I stayed motivated and I managed to keep positive.
Thank god the week is over!


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