Weeknote: 11 to 15 March 2019

I’m trying a different format for weeknotes to see if I can be more consistent in keeping up with them if I limit myself to a few simple questions. Thanks to Sam Villis for the definitive survey of weeknote styles which I’ve used to choose this format. If I’m doing it right, the questions will vary week to week. Here goes…

1. What inspired me this week?

  • Meeting the shortlisted candidates for our NHS Digital User Centred Design Graduate Programme, and getting to spend time with my brilliant colleagues who volunteered to help out at the assessment centre. Growing the talent of the future has to be time well spent.

Team photo of all the user researchers, designers, content people, and graduates who helped in the assessment centre for our first ever cohort of NHS Digital user-centred design graduates
  • Meeting design master’s students at the Royal College of Art. They asked many smart questions about designing for health and care.

2. What connections did I make?

  • Spent a couple of hours in the user research lab with the National Data Opt Out and NHS App teams. For several of our teams, 2018 was a year of minimum viable product to get the basics right, one service at a time. Sitting in the observation room with members of both teams together, I understood how 2019 will be the year we connect all that stuff into coherent user experiences that work together to fit our emergent understanding of users’ goals.

3. What capabilities did I build?

  • I joined designers, developers, and testers in a session of accessibility training with Alistair Campbell of Nomensa. Alistair had tailored the training based on manual and automated testing of the NHS website, and used examples from the site to show us where things could be improved.
  • Conducted second interviews for a lead researcher on the NHS website. Exciting news on that soon.

4. What goals were set?

  • I uploaded my learning contract for the NHS Leadership Academy Nye Bevan Programme. The learning contract describes how I will demonstrate to myself and my peers in my learning set that I have met the programme learning objectives. I also ran through this with my director, Ian, who was encouraging and made helpful suggestions.
  • Picked up a high priority action to help one of our teams with their forthcoming service standard assessment. I was pleased we were able to pull together trained assessors at very short notice for a mock assessment on Monday.

5. What do I need to take care of?

  • One of our teams is feeling under pressure because a few people have left and we’re still in the process of replacing them. The work to bring in replacements takes up the team’s time too, so colleagues need to go easy on them in the meantime.
  • With all those brilliant, high-value things this week, I got to Friday having hardly made a dent in my email inbox. Around mid-week I took a hard look at the gaps in my calendar and identified the things I realistically had a chance of getting done by the end of next week. Note to keep prioritising, delegating and saying no to lower value work.

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