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Weeknote: Accessibility Conference, Product Operations and Lifehacks

tobiogunsina Product management, weeknotes Leave a Comment

We have about 2 and a half sprints left before the quarter ends, it’s effectively 2 sprints considering time off for the holidays. Where did the time go?

Here are the highlights of my week:

What went well

This week I attended my first accessibility conference – AbilityNet’s TechSharepro2020 and it was brilliant to see so many people championing accessibility and trying to make their products/services accessible for everyone. I couldn’t attend some of the sessions because of work but I still have access to watch them next week. 

I discovered lots of resources for testing webpages for accessibility and decided to put them in a document with a few others. I plan to review the accessibility of my personal website soon so they’ll come in handy alongside some manual checks.

My takeaway quote is – “People are disabled by barriers in society, not by their impairment or difference” which is from the social model of disability

GOV.UK is a big platform, with lots of products. One of the product groups is  Publishing, Platform and Presentation and is looked after by a group of product managers. 

In reality, some of those products are not being actively worked on by a team for various reasons. When that happens, there’s nowhere for us to record requests/feedback/problems related to them especially when they do not fit into the roadmap of a current team. This makes it harder to take any action on them in the future or even identify when to take action on them. 

I organised a session with the product managers looking after GOV.UK’s Publishing, Platform and Presentation product group to discuss our process for managing known issues and feedback. Now, we have a starter Trello board to record them and a biweekly meeting to review them and refine our process for managing and taking action on them. 

This (product operations) is an aspect of product management that I am keen to develop more expertise in so I will be spending more time on this in the future

Craig, my delivery manager and I worked on a delivery plan to break down the work that still needs to be done in this quarter into sprints and see if it’s still feasible to do all the things we planned to do. 

I find that delivery plans are often not accurate because humans are generally bad at estimation and our plans change as we learn new things. However, they are helpful for rough planning especially when you have multiple streams of work and need to make sure you are planning and moving things along at the right pace

I spent some time reviewing some of the outcomes of the audit of our front end apps to find templates that are out of date or not using components where they should. I also spent time writing cards for the next sprint. We then had our usual pre-planning, planning, team playback, management check-in sessions which all went well. 

The team investigated what’s needed to upgrade front end apps to use the latest design system styles fully, so we can get rid of the older styles, making GOV.UK easier to update. We fixed 2 bugs that made bar charts on GOV.UK hard to understand. We’ve also been drafting new guidance about publishing accessible documents, fixing problems with confusing heading structures, and hard to read zoomed text on GOV.UK.

Next sprint, the team will be focusing on updating front end apps to use components where appropriate, fixing some confusing heading structures and doing technical spike into preventing bad table structures and duplicate titles before they are published. 

What could have been better

This week felt a bit meh apart from a few pockets of non-meh moments. I got some vitamin D supplements because I’ve heard they are great, especially in winter. On the bright side, Christmas is coming and we all know that’s the best thing about this season.

I also feel like I added more to my to-do list than I got done.

Other things that happened

I spent some time sifting applications for a role and will need to do more of that next week. I find the process quite fascinating and find myself making mental notes of what works in communicating your skills and experience effectively and what does not. 

I started drafting a blog post to share our work to improve GOV.UK accessibility. It’ll share our process, key challenges and lessons learnt. It’s not clear yet when it’ll be published yet but I’ll share in a weeknote when it gets published. 

My team often shares random information after stand-ups. Last week, most of the random information shared was about life hacks and tips. I find them quite fun and a good way to connect especially since we are all remote. On Friday, I learnt all the many ways to get rid of things you don’t need without leaving your house. We already do Fika but this is another random team moment in the day that I enjoy.