I took a little time off doing weeknotes as it didn’t feel right sharing the work I was doing due to it being so fast, needed, and also so important right now for the country.
Since my last update, I’ve worked in multiple workshops, made many service views, enjoyed some challenges, hated some challenges, and felt overwhelmed with life in general.
It’s also worth noting that dealing with work demands, and family demands have also been a challenge - one that many has spoken about, and one I wrote about previously (to a lot of positive feedback too which I’m really grateful for).
I have also started to post to @dribbble with timeboxed design exercises to push my visual skills and also keep me fresh, on trends and to put any creative need to output in action!

In the past couple of weeks, I’ve really deep-dived into the Service Design role which I’ve really enjoyed and found it really helpful to one team in particular.
I’ve also spent a lot of the last couple of weeks aligning the team to be User-centered and trying to remove barriers of discomfort not knowing the answer, it’s been a great challenge - helping me to really stretch my communication skills amongst many differing job-types and really selling the value of design and knowing it actually was effective is great feedback.

The first test of this was to educate to a team the value of design using a simple method I do that is along the lines of “process mapping”, so getting the team to split into two, getting them to “invent” the service journey from start to end - not a user journey but a service journey.
Along the way, they MUST write down who does this task, how they do this task, any risks, and what questions do we have about it.

The output is always the same (so far) - the team on the same knowledge level, it’s a quick way to get the team co-design (and to show the value of co-design), and we have invented “discovery” backlog - the questions, the risks.

Easy peasy? Kinda.

Realising my workload of recent times has been far too much, I decided to step down from a service team I was on (thankfully we have just hired an additional designer, so I managed to on-board him whilst working alongside him).
My last meeting with the team was to help direct them through their Discovery process - it’s a good feeling to know that people see you have a helper and (possible?) leader, we spoke through the point of discovery, what the (possible) point of their discovery is and what/how to deliver (thinking about presentations to stakeholders and what to share).

Today felt totally different, my workload has halved and my happiness, therefore, has doubled.
This means more time to think, more time to reply to emails and more time to mentor a couple of people within DWP that I’ve had to park for a while.

But fortunately for them, I’m back with time - so they can expect plenty of direction!
I’ve even had time and motivation to write weekly notes again - finally.


Back to my original (and in my opinion best obviously) team, working on decommissioning a service that we all worked hard to get up and running, but now it’s time to close it down due to completing its task. It’s been a great learning curve for the team to build it, and now to close it down is an even great one - thinking about all touchpoints, data storage, any user requirements and confirming the overall need to actually stop using the service.

Working alongside one of my favourite PM’s means this is an easy task to run through, and I also get to dust down my interaction design chops - which I’ve left to go a little rusty!

A quick catch up with the brilliant Content Designer whilst we discussing closing a service down, and how do we do it to actually help not hinder the end-user and inform them what to do next.

A presentation to one of the new starters about what we’ve been working on for the last year or so, and then early finish to go for a lovely walk with my fluffy dog and chatterbox daughter!

Good things
Something I’ve missed a lot of the past year has been line-management duties or mentoring consistently.
This is about to change as I was picked to be on the Out of office hours month of mentors, and I’m so excited to start. I’ve already got a lot of requests to help new starters to the industry and also people just feeling in a rut.

Learned things
Mentioned previously, it’s just been a good learning curve to know when to step back, give tasks to others, and realise I have other priorities. I feel a lot calmer now the rush of work needed has gone (for now).

The lack of control at the moment of my own life and work has me in a spin. I had feelings of anxiety, anger, caged in, boredom, and just general stress.
The power of having GOOD people around you - whether to take work off you or people just having a normal conversation is brilliant and really not spoken about enough.

Feeling relieved my workload has halved and now I have time to think, to recover, and spend time with my family in the sun!

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Weeknotes No.27