(for the week of 23rd August)
A new fresh week at work after a nice weekend of playing with the kids, having a lovely dinner out with my wife and brill nippers and terrible weather!

If you haven’t, I would recommend you read this brilliant blog post by @stamanfar, written with such honesty that many of us face sometime in our career - in her words: A blog about flunking, maybe, and new beginnings. This post alone has made me turn up AGAIN and do week notes, it was really impactful and I’m so glad it was written.

On other news, I also returned from holiday - a week on a farm is this family best holiday and since lockdown has been here and gone, we’ve holidayed around England a lot and… wow this country has got some beautiful gems that I might have missed in the past but making up for it now!
A timely break for us all, work has been hectic - both home life (Bobbin and Bumble) and work work, but it’s nice to turn the MacBook off, recharge, re-assess thoughts and energize again.

Monday
We’ve been busy updating the DWP’s first design system website over the last week (at the time of writing this is not updated), really feeding off user needs that we collected (first hand) from our users, things around updating them on what we are working on, what’s in the backlog and also providing a clearer understanding of what we are doing and why.

I will also be working alongside this launch presenting back to the different communities within DWP to provoke a discussion around contribution to the design system, allowing much more freedom and “chat” around patterns and, I guess - getting them to do the work alongside us (the way it should be).

Today was around fixing issues and bugs that I’ve noticed within the design system site, easy lists (light work to get back into the swing of things). Then straight onto working on our backlog item (today was toggle welsh and keybar details), gathering as much data as possible and speaking to those who have given us information using GitHub discussions.

The hard work when making patterns is certainly the start - knowing where to start feels different for each pattern depending on what arrives, how it arrives and what the users want first. As we are short in numbers of staff members, it means having to lean into User Research areas and not letting personal opinion kick in (I’ve used the patterns I’m gathering before so forgetting bias is always a tricky thing).

I have huge questions around how we agree on a pattern and launching it - whilst I certainly don’t want to wait around pleasing everyone, I certainly don’t want to launch something just because I think it is ready - I think its key to have a group of people to ask “Is this what you want/good enough” and if not - tell me why with data. The afternoon meeting was to support a community-led pattern exploration piece, I’m super excited to see this in action.

Tuesday
This morning I am trying to be a lot more productive and focused, as the last couple of days / and week has been a rush of getting the work done as quick as possible (due to our deadlines), whilst I’ve enjoyed it a lot, I need to get my focus back now the rush is over. The easiest way to do this is to target THREE things I want to do today, I usually do TWO workpieces and ONE for me.

Helping to arrange the workshop the community are running by giving some tips on making it as effective as possible, but remember I shall be taking a back seat here, and letting them work their magic.

Also, I was invited to speak to the Content Community, centring around gaining a level understanding of the value, purpose and shared vision of the design system, so discussed my presentation with the organiser, and anyone who knows when I do a presentation - I always want to get something from it - selfishly for the project I am on - an interactive presentation, so I’m squeezing in a mini-workshop.

Wednesday
Today’s hectic, poor Ralph isn’t too well so taking part of my lunch hour to visit the vets and doing dad duties in the morning with my other boy, he’s 5 months old now and has found out how to wave!
Also, today is the planned community workshop (which I have to miss due to Ralph) but I know it’s in safe hands.

Ran through content and design ideas with Helen (content designer on the design system) to nail down what we could do even more to improve the process of providing feedback to a pattern/component and also discuss bloody terminal commands!
I’m pleased and proud of the team as to what we will deliver, it will answer a lot of the questions to user needs and also provide a level of transparency that wasn’t there before, and set us up for a strong future.

Thursday

Work work workkkkkk, loads on with finishing the build and fixing mishaps that we find (of course it’s perfect first time…).
Tying up a lot of ends that will align parts of entry for the design system is consistent and very much up to date.

Ran through the feedback from the workshop yesterday, due to missing it, it was nice to see something happening that was led by want and need and not by must.

Nothing really to update but doing admin work, and loads of it 🤦‍♂️

Friday
How did it get to Friday this fast? Is this the day we launch the new design system? Fingers crossed we are near… but it is at that point of, there could be a bug or content error anywhere.

Useful links this week:
https://designdetails.fm/episodes/292309 - Revisiting Ben’s brilliant post about “asking the right questions to frame the problem”.

Slopes Game Room - KickScammers: The VEGA+ Scandal - I am massively into retro-gaming, and this documentary about the Spectrum Vega+ has me gripped from start to finish, usual brilliance from Slopes.


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