It’s great to be back in the thick of things.
What started out to be a slow and tough week (some things annoyed me somewhat), ended up being my best week in DWP as of yet.
I did things, things I’m good at and things I enjoy doing. I planned a workshop, I worked with a team that pushed me far and I delivered.
I also get to use past experiences to deliver something that (hopefully) will be an effective use of our time.

Monday
First day properly back in the office since 2019 (yikes), and I can officially say I had no idea what is happening!
It took a while as expected to get the wheels in motion, which was a good job as we are planning a 3-day workshop for next week, and its plenty of work!
 This is a new team I have entered since my last notes and it’s in a Service Design role, and its vastly different to my normal day to day role, but it feels nearer to what I think I do best (so far).

In my other (original) team, the team is in prep for Discovery, this month is going to be super busy for me - but support is there and will be used.

Using today to just catch up, build relationships and try to remember what happened last year and work out where we are going in the teams.

Tuesday
Early doors meeting to listen to the team that did the project (that we are entering Discovery) before us - they were quite far in it but due to other requirements needed to pause their discovery.

As a designer, I had 105 questions in regards to direction, blockers, frustrations and any opportunities we might have since they have done the project and what the original problem statement was.
All in all, it was a great meeting and one, the team fully enjoyed.

Shared learning and all that!

Also, in the afternoon was a session with Andy to run through a possible “new starters” kit. I love working on things that will make a new starters’ life a lot easier and calmer, I know from previous experience when starting new roles that on-boarding can make a job great, and bad onboarding can make you feel a little undervalued.

Wednesday
Today was the best day.
I have recently been asked to step into a Service Design role for one of the teams and today, again I got to see if the shoe fits.


So far.. so good.

It feels a natural move as Service Design seems to cover a lot of what Interaction Design doesn’t for me, but again its early doors and I haven’t found any struggles (but the team is great on supporting me as I’ve spelled it out there will be more wrongs than rights with my technique to start with).

We did a whiteboard session planning out the 3-day workshop, we are working with an external partner and we want the days to be totally useful for all. Being the designer of the group and thanks to Sky Bet especially, I have been led a lot of Workshops in the past and provided my tips.

We set goals, requirements, attendees, agenda, problem/purpose of the day etc - setting these out assisted in planning out the rest of the days.

Day ended with going home and finishing a blog post and working on updating my work page on my site, it is missing a lot of work I’m proud of, so expect an update soon.

Thursday

Coffee, earphones, planning.

Today is the day I write notes at 100mph - learning as much as possible from phone calls, face to face meetings and asking questions that are pre-planned or off the cuff. I warn everyone pre-meeting that I like to ask questions, and in all honesty, I’ve never faced any issue with this approach as everyone always wants to share their wins, fails and knowledge - knowing it will do the product well as it is passed down the line.

I also had another whiteboard session to map out the “design task” of the workshop, a lot easier when working with someone from Policy / BA to find the ins-and-outs of the rules, must-haves that we need to include in the users-journey. End of day meeting, we discussed how the workshop will run - the full team is doing a part of each day which is great, hardly any pressure on anyone and sharing the work means we can chip in if anyone has a wobble or gets asked a question they aren’t sure of.

I shared my Design plan - the rules, task, intro, and timings and it seemed to make sense, if you have ever done a workshop with me previously you’ll know I don’t run a design task “tight”, I allow for a lot of changes and let the room dictate how it could be run - I don’t let it run wild but I also shy away from leading the process or worse.. doing design bias.

Friday
Early doors Workshop - this one I’m participating in, not running (grateful for this fact!). It’s a session to work out the service’s initial vision and roadmap. A great session, loads of information sharing, fact-finding, and good outcomes.

The rest of the day is finalising the “deck” for the design-task for next week! Busy busy week!

Good things
As mentioned in the opening paragraph, this week was great. It started with my feeling a little dejected due to resource issues, workload and a feeling of aimlessness.

Then Wednesday happened, I was doing what I had done so well for the past couple of years - sharing, telling, showing, learning and listening to a great team. I led meetings, I listened to meetings and we ended up with a really healthy result - that is team work.

I know the workload will eventually be too much, but the feeling of working out of my comfort zone is really pushing me to learn more and it feels a good place for my career.

Learned things
I was asked last year to step into a Service Design role and accepted the challenge as I have always wondered what the role was, I still haven’t quite found out but so far it feels like something I would love. I’m unsure if I am actually doing it - but whatever it is I’m learning a lot and working a lot more open with members of the wider team, which is always great.

Difficulties
This week was full of them, the feeling I had on Monday-Tuesday was not great. I’m unsure what instigated it, but I also know it’s more on myself to set the vision for myself, find my own goals and work out what or how I want to gain them.

Also, Emma’s back went wonky again - so managing her work, her health and our daughter is always a challenge.

Achievements
The stuff I learned working through Discovery is more than I could possibly write - sharing work, stepping back, facilitating meetings, allowing others to lead parts of a workshops and many many more.

More weeks like this are certainly ordered from now on.


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Weeknotes No.22