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Weeknote: ‘How might we’ questions, sourdough club and moving things along

tobiogunsina Product management, weeknotes Leave a Comment

Hi. This weeknote almost did not happen – my motivation has been generally low, I don’t think I can explain why. Apart from that, things have been moving along quite nicely.

Here are 4 things that happened in the last week, more things happened but these are the highlights and some of the things I’ve been thinking about

4 things that happened 

One – How might we act on insights from the research?

We had a team playback session to talk about and reflect on the insights from our research to understand why some parts of GOV.UK were not accessible enough. We also spent some time thinking about how we might act on the insights.

My approach to this has been to use ‘how might we’ questions. These questions rephrase a problem you hear as a question so that it asks for a solution. The team has been coming up with ‘how might we’ questions for the different insights and some themes have emerged. 

Our next step is to contribute ideas to each theme. Ideas do not have to be something our team can own, it’s anything GOV.UK as a programme needs to do. We’ll then work out which ones are most valuable/feasible to take forward or propose to the programme

Two – How might we address challenges from information not being structured enough

I’ve not just discovered ‘How might we’ questions, I promise, they just work really well for most of what I’m trying to do right now. 

Our little working group that has been thinking about the next steps for GOV.UK’s content strategy continued working on exploring structured information. We now have a set of challenges and use cases, both current and anticipated that are related to the lack of structured information. We had 2 hours to work together this week. Continuing from last week, we considered how we might approach some of the anticipated challenges 

We’ve also categorised the challenges and see that structured information is critical for Personalisation, more effective omnichannel publishing and operational efficiency (Sitewide changes and reusable content)

Our next step is to think about approaches for these questions and consider which of those approaches are most valuable and feasible. I will now be officially spending 30% of my time on this and 70% on accessibility. 

Three – Moving things along, showing and telling

A range of things happened this week so I’m putting them all under the umbrella of “moving things along’. 

I had a conversation with some folks from Defra about the challenges with Open document format to understand the issues they are experiencing a bit better and I wrote up some cards for our team to do some more investigation and update guidance. 

I ran a prioritisation session to consider which of the newly emerging accessibility issues we should explore first. We also had a check-in with the management team which was well attended to talk about what we’ve done so far, what we are doing next and issues we need help with. 

Brian and I also presented the findings from the research at the GOV.UK show and tell which definitely got people interested.

Work on making our accordions more accessible seems to be moving along quite nicely with a few design changes and we had a sprint planning session for the next sprint

Four – Sourdough club

I think low motivation is a thing that lots of people are experiencing right now, our team has been doing a range of things to support each other, we’ve been having good morning calls between different team members (not stand-ups, think of it as saying hello to the person sitting beside you when you walk into the office). We’ve also been having daily FIKAs

My favourite so far though is the sourdough club. Rosa, our resident sourdough expert, sent us all sourdough starters and walked us through how to feed it over a number of days and then how to prepare our leaven. 

Friday was the grand finale where we all baked our bread with Rosa holding our hand all the way. I made a mistake and threw away the mother and also somehow did not have any leaven left but I’m pleased to say my sourdough bread was delicious and it’s definitely a team bonding exercise worth trying if enough people are interested. 

I’m not sure there’s much bread making in my future and I still think I’m more of a brioche girl but I thoroughly enjoyed doing this. Behold my first ever bread.

What I’ve been thinking about

I’ve been thinking about managing my expectation of myself. This month, I’ve felt a little under pressure, nothing external, just a little voice constantly reminding me of all the grand plans I have and how little time there is. This pressure combined with low motivation is not great. I’ve been thinking about ways to dial that back and I’m basically just reducing and reducing my to-do list to the absolute priority. 

I’m also going to try to do the same with my expectation of my weekends. I often have such ambitious plans – I’ll write a weeknote, I’ll read those articles that I thought was really valuable, I’ll do that life admin task etc. It surprises me how little time I actually have in between being with my family and adulting. 

I think I’ll have to find time for some of that reading during the workweek. I also want to try to plan the next week on Friday instead of Monday, that way, I don’t keep thinking about the next week over the weekend like I’ve done this week. 

What I wish I could have changed

Finding time in calendars for meetings is the bane of my life. I had to spend a bit of time this week just to find time for meetings. I try to make it possible for people to contribute asynchronously already so it’s really frustrating to wrangle calendars. 

I think it’s particularly hard for us because our working patterns are so varied and different that if everyone in our team really needs to be together, we only have 2 hours overlap per week for that to happen.  

We’ve already acknowledged that not everyone needs to be in everything but still it’s hard.

What I’m looking forward to next week

We’ll be spending some time coming up with ideas for the ‘how might we’ questions next week. I’m definitely looking forward to that

On a personal note

My Digital declutter has come to an end today, I’ve created an operating manual for how I’ll use the technology I’ll keep using and may share my thoughts on the process at some point.