Weeknotes 12

Wow. Three months of actually doing this every week. Only one week has felt like a chore, rather than something I wanted to do.

It’s felt really natural to write. And it’s been lovely to be part of a revived community of weeknoters and bloggers. Main challenge now is how to keep track of everyone to make sure I’m not missing things.

What I’ve been doing

This week has been HARD, both at home and at work. Monday and Tuesday should just be burnt from history frankly.

[Top Tip: make sure you and your partner aren’t having major work stress at the same time. It just makes everything worse.]


But things have ended on a really good note, and an afternoon off to do garden things and spend time with family.

The main thing this week has been to get our approach to the next statement of work for Local Plans over the line with leadership in DLUHC so we can do the easy part of just writing it up into words and getting final signatures.

It’s a departure in approach and I’m so proud we got this agreed.

We’ve earned enough trust through the amazing work of our teams to move from short individual statements of work, focussed on one outcome to one overarching SoW to buy teams of people and running over a much longer period of time.

So we’ll now have just two teams, one to focus on the service of Create and update your local plan which will scale up over the course of spring and summer. This team will primarily focus on content design.

The second team will act as a test and learn service to rapidly prototype and test ideas, put edges around problems with a “just enough design and research” approach. Just three roles - service design, interaction design and user research - with added input from policy and data folk when needed.

I’m so happy we are moving away from endless discovery and alpha work to start to get the service in a form that real users can touch and use it. And to have a rapid prototyping team that can move through challenges at pace

And to have two full time teams with their whole focus on this work, we can make some real and rapid progress.

We’ve got teams all lined up the background to hit the ground running after Easter. **The amount of work to get this done - the endless conversations, the endless spreadsheeting and negotiations with our people teams, the endless slide deck creation. **


We had our bi-monthly get together of all the Senior Partners - Major Projects this week. I missed the last one as I was on holiday.

It’s so nice to be with your people. We welcomed Natalie to the community this week. She’ll be my partner in crime on Digital Planning work.

We each talked through what our worlds have been like over the last two weeks, our successes and our challenges. And then had a long chat through some internal changes that are going on that impact us and pulled together some feedback to help shape and scope things a bit better (sorry for the extreme vaguery here).


Finally got myself to our Bristol office on Wednesday. Views aren’t as good as Cardiff - that will take some beating.

Spent some time with Amber who’s been working on local plans for a while now as our lead service designer. And she’ll be in that role in the new team from April as well.

Chats with Jukesie. And most importantly lunch. Malaysian.

And then tea with Gwen in the afternoon. Both of us had to go to other things or I think we’d of still been there at 8pm talking without realising what time it was.


In the endless saga of trying to fix my teeth, I got Invisalign this week. It’s not to straighten them, that was done with veneers, but to fix my bite [I’m waiting for Mark to make a joke here]. Turns out I don’t have an over or under bite, I bite straight on my front teeth which is bad. So we have to fix that or I’ll have continued issues with veneers popping off or worse.

I’m now navigating my tea/coffee consumption and eating in public. Excuse me while I pull my teeth out first.

Definitely having some discomfort with one or two teeth specifically so keeping an eye on that.

But weirdly, I’m sleeping better. You wear them at night and as a grinder, I guess I’ve got double mouth guards now.

What I’ve been thinking about

Honestly, I’ve not had a lot of brain capacity this week.

My back brain is thinking about how I want to run a kick off with the new team in April.

They’ve all worked together before but there’s some lingering issues around ways of working from this last set of statement of works that we need to resolve.

I think some upfront expectations from me around how I like my teams to work. In the open; working out loud; rough and ready and regular and short show and tells (one, not two); and FUN.

And then some work to develop a team charter together, a set of principles for how we want to work together and how we want to behave as a team. We do not need to do any more manuals of me, I’m a bit over them now tbh.

And maybe something on rhythms of working. I don’t think our work is going to be conducive to the usual 2 week sprint cycle with all the process and ceremonies, so how do we want to move to a more of a flow process of working.

Any ideas for team kickoff activities for teams that have worked together are gratefully received. I think it’s a bit tricker than with folks who are new to working together.

What I’ve been reading


What I’ve been watching

Nothing of note this week.

It’s mostly been DS9 as background noise while I do word search puzzles to unravel my post-work brain.

What’s blooming

These lovely daffodils at the front of the house. After these finish, there should be a wave of pheasant eye daffodils.

A bank of daffodils and a metal house sign that reads "The Forge". The daffodils have yellow petals and orange trumpets.

The fritillaria imperialis are coming up - the driveway smells of weed, telltale sign.