Weeknote 11

A good reception for my new article, a remote-first retro, my undying love for the Design System working group, and the pain of trying to replace my lost phone.

What went well

I published my article on inclusive communication

I published my first article in a while, on communicating inclusively beyond our products, services and users.

As I mentioned last week this one was a real toughy. It took me a while to get it to a place I was happy with, and by the time I did I wasn’t entirely convinced that I hadn’t lost the message completely.

However, as well as the general satisfaction that came with just getting it finished, I also received some of the nicest feedback I’ve ever had on one of my articles, including this, which totally made my day:

I ran a remote-first retro with the Design System working group

The Design System working group is a multidisciplinary panel of representatives from across government, who help to quality assure new components and patterns before they get published.

I often facilitate their monthly review session, and this Thursday, I ran a retro with them to get their feedback on the inclusivity of the current contribution and assurance model. I wanted to find out how easy and possible they thought it was for people to take part in the work we’re doing and to contribute their work.

We used a tool called Fun Retro to add ideas and comments. It looks a bit like a Trello board, and members can add ideas and suggestions to it. It’s set up to be anonymous by default, and you can vote on other people’s responses.

Everybody put a lot of thought and effort in, and we got some really useful insights that I think will help to drive the diversity and inclusion work we’re doing this quarter.

Also, I just really love the working group. They are some of the smartest, most thoughtful and good-hearted people I work with in this job. Everytime I run a session with them, I come away with a big smile on my face.

Other things I liked

  • Bank holiday Monday, just because. I spent mine nursing a hangover, playing swingball, watching the Alexander McQueen documentary on Netflix and making a super delicious crispy lamb salad with cumin, aubergine lettuce, cucumber, mint, pomegranate, toasted pistachios and a sriracha dressing.
  • We published secondary buttons and warning buttons in the Design System—it’s always nice to get new things published and out there for people to use.
  • My therapy session on Friday, which involved a lot of crying (me not my therapist). But the good kind that leaves you feeling 10 tonnes lighter after. Thank god for therapy.
  • Putting my out of office on for a whole 9 days. Thanks to the first May bank holiday, I’ve got a nice long break ahead of me, including 4 days in Cornwall, which I couldn’t be more in need of.

What didn’t go so well

Trying to replace my lost phone

My phone, which I lost in an Uber last week, is gone for good.

Trying to organise a replacement is taking the most excruciating amount of time and the old Samsung I’m using in the meantime (I’m an iPhone user) is frankly not cutting the mustard.

On the positive side, the whole experience has caused me to start an article on the phenomenon of coping with friction and uncertainty.

Lessons this week

  1. Shipping stuff is great.
  2. The Design System working group is great.
  3. Therapy is great.
  4. Holidays are great.
  5. Losing a phone sucks.