A compass

Weeknotes: A clearer path

tobiogunsina Product management, weeknotes Leave a Comment

This is the one where the path to achieve the results we want became clearer. It was a good week overall and both teams have now moved to 2 week cycles too so happy days ahead. 

What went well

On the replatforming team, we already had clear goals for the discovery but as is the nature of discoveries sometimes, the path to get there was not particularly clear. This was a risky place to be considering that we have limited time for the discovery and even for replatforming GOV.UK. 

I ran a session to help make sure we all agree and have shared understanding of what we mean by the end of the discovery. Key things we discussed were –  what are the outputs we’ll have? Will they vary for the stakeholders groups? What are the key decisions to help us get there? What do we need to do to get the information needed to make those decisions? Can we do them all in the time we have for the discovery?

We attempted to use sticky steps to understand our path to the end of discovery but it became quite obvious that it was not going to work as some of the decisions were not quite linear in their relationship to each other. It started feeling very much like we were forcing it into some form of gantt chart so we quickly abandoned it. The Important lesson here is having clear outcomes so you know when what you are doing is not helping you get there. 

I’m quite pleased that we now know all those things and it’s helped define the key things we’ll focus on till discovery ends in Mid September. Ha, Clarity is great isn’t it?

I continued working with Natalie on analysing our conversations with other teams who have done similar things in the past. Lots of interesting insights which she shared briefly at the team’s show and tell. We’ll dig into them next week to explore “so what’ could this mean for us? To make sure we are applying them to our work. 

On Wednesday, I presented what both teams were working on to the GOV.UK programme and then talked in more detail about the progress we’ve made to Jen, Head of GOV.UK. I think presenting to a large group of people is less nerve-wracking when you are sitting in your living room and cannot actually see a large group. Yay for remote working!

What could be better

On the accessibility team, we got some legal advice that is opposite of our initial assumptions. It does mean we had to re-assess our plans and approach between now and the 23rd September deadline so we spent a good part of the week doing that.

Perhaps, we should have sought legal advice earlier to make sure our assumptions and interpretation of the accessibility regulations were correct. What it taught me though is the importance of calm and clear communication when there’ll otherwise be panic. 

For first steps, It’s helpful to be clear to stakeholders that you are already taking steps to reassess what needs to change. It’s important for the team to also understand what the impact might be, if and how it might change the current approach so that they can get on with work. 

It turns out we were already on the right path, there’s just more urgency in what we need to do to help other departments who publish on GOV.UK, less flexibility in the regulations than we assumed and probably more people needed. 

On the bright side, we made some progress fixing some known accessibility issues and the audit is ticking along nicely. 

In other news

In our community meeting, Product managers on GOV.UK started thinking about what an ideal induction process will look like for a new product manager and I was so pleased because it was rough when I started. 

I also met with the web archiving team at National Archives. I’ve been working with them to improve how services and changes to content on GOV.UK is archived. There’s been lots of progress since we started working together so that’s great

I finally started recording flexitime and looked like I did at least 2.5 extra hours this week. I’m glad I’m tracking it now and can get those extra hours back. 

My reading time was really my commute and now that I don’t have it, I’m not reading books as much as I’d like to. Yesterday, I started my medium trial and I am so excited about all the articles I can now read. I read a few articles this week and I quite like Tobi Otokiti’s talk on how influential leadership builds winning products. 

See you next week!