Weeknotes: Keep it moving

tobiogunsina Product management, weeknotes Leave a Comment

During the lockdown, I was working full time with a toddler and it was fine…I think. My husband and I had a shift system which means I got some time alone to work while I put it in my calendar that toddler interruptions can be expected in the other half of the day.

This system worked fine until the tail end of lockdown when my toddler figured out where I was in the house. Haha. Thankfully, lockdown was eased and he was able to return to the Childminder’s. 

This week, my childminder was off so back to lockdown mode but we did not use the shift system because it stopped working towards the end of lockdown. If you work from home with a toddler then you know it is hard. I was also going to bed late and waking up early, I only have myself to blame for that but it just felt like a stressful week overall. 

At work, I did a range of things to keep things moving so there isn’t a particular theme…on and on it goes

What went well

I spent a lot of time this week having conversations with people in the team – welcoming someone new to the team, responding to queries about accessibility, unblocking work, ensuring all the things we should work on in the next sprint are clear and ready to be picked up. 

We have some data scientists for data labs helping us to find instances of accessibility problems and find patterns. I spent some time reviewing the reports they’ve helped with to make sure we got the needed information. For the new reports we still needed, I also spent some time ensuring there is a clear understanding of what we are trying to find, how we’ll use the report and what we need in the report. 

A few weeks ago, we created a framework to explore the accessibility problems we found and created a huge spreadsheet to map out where we were with each problem area. This week, Craig, our delivery manager and I spent some time reviewing that spreadsheet and next steps for each area to make sure we are not missing anything vital. With the deadline so close, we’ll probably do this more frequently. 

Last week, we got some legal advice that increased our confidence in our ability to do all we need to do in time for the deadline. This week, we spent some time working out exactly what that means – what we still need to do, what we don’t need to worry about, potential risk areas e.t.c – and sharing that with the management team. 

We worked with the head of Content for GOV.UK to send a message out to managing editors in departments about content fixes needed for accessibility and how to review the accessibility of their documents. The team also made good progress with some of the planned fixes.

What could have been better

We planned to make a small change to the publishing tool that will make sure that anyone can easily request an accessible version of any document on GOV.UK especially as accessibility needs vary a lot. We made several discoveries about how that feature works currently that means the planned change will have some negative implications. 

This now means we have to go back to the drawing board and make sure that small change is done right and has no negative implications. Honestly, almost every time I think something is too small for a kickoff, I am wrong. 

In other news

It was week 2 of the Introduction to Product management course on FutureLearn, this week focused on users. As usual, all the students were quite engaged and seemed to be learning a lot, which is great.

I loved attending the remote introduction to the GDS accessibility empathy labs. It was a good introduction to accessibility in general which was a good refresher. It was also helpful to see some accessibility personas and a demo of how various assistive technologies work. It has inspired me to dedicate some work time to learning more about accessibility in general so I’ll block out some time each week.

The GOV.UK team is running a recruitment event specifically for underrepresented groups on the 26th of August. Please register if you want to know what it’s like to work on GOV.UK!. I spent some time this week panic preparing for the lightning talk with some product managers then realised I got the date wrong. That was the moment that I realised I had not been getting enough sleep. 

On Friday, I also spent time sifting CVs for a product manager role which was interesting and took so much longer than I expected but it’s quite insightful to be part of that process. 

That was my week keeping things moving. Thank you for reading.