Weeknote: 22 to 26 July 2019

Lanyard with rainbow stripes and NHS logos, holding my NHS Digital staff pass

“The rights are there to help ensure that staff:

  • have a good working environment with flexible working opportunities, consistent with the needs of patients and with the way that people live their lives
  • have a fair pay and contract framework
  • can be involved and represented in the workplace
  • have healthy and safe working conditions and an environment free from harassment, bullying or violence
  • are treated fairly, equally and free from discrimination
  • …”

Extract from the NHS Constitution for England

1. How did I uphold the NHS Constitution?

  • I got my rainbow lanyard thanks to our brilliant NHS Digital LGBT and Allies staff network, and wrote a pledge to be a more visible ally myself, especially for people in my profession group. Hold me to that if you think there’s more that I could do.
  • I talked with an HR consultant about my experience of taking our designer job descriptions through the NHS Agenda for Change job evaluation process. Some people say Agenda for Change doesn’t work for highly specialist digital roles. I think it can – as long as hiring organisations recognise the value that our specialists bring, and give people the freedom act that they need to do their best work. As NHS employees, it’s fair that we have to demonstrate how we contribute to the service on the same terms as colleagues in other professions.
  • When reviewing a new tool that is being created as part of our organisation change process, I did my very best to see it through the eyes of a staff member whose role is subject to the change, not only as a manager running the process. This led me to propose some improvements, which I hope we’ll be able to make.

2. What do I need to take care of?

  • If I’d thought about it, I could probably have anticipated the need for those improvements a few weeks ago. I’m a little bit annoyed with myself for not spotting that sooner.
  • I’ve had good conversations with a number of people in my profession about the impending change process. We’re a growing profession with key skills that our organisation needs for the future, but it all creates uncertainty that can be stressful.
  • Striking the right tone: A couple of things that happened this week reminded me that, in our enthusiasm to talk about the new things we’re doing with digital, there’s a risk we come across as naive or reckless. I don’t believe we are – far from it – but we need to use words with care, and balance the messages we give out. Some of our stakeholders start with very low expectations of us, and if they don’t see the things they care about explicitly referenced, they will assume that we don’t value them.

3. What connections did I make?

  • A call with some colleagues and former team members. I hope we can continue to collaborate.
  • An introduction to someone from our Implementation and Business Change team to talk about the organisation change process.
  • A chat with another NHS Digital manager where we have an opportunity to join up two pieces of work.
  • An introduction to someone who might join my team in a much-needed admin role.

4. What leadership teamwork did I see?

  • I’m feeling very well supported by the product development directorate leadership team at the moment. Having agreed to a plan to step up the focus on user research and design in the directorate, people are rallying round to make it a reality.

5. How did I make expectations clear?

  • I talked on Slack about some training I’ve done, which I hope others will find the time for too.
  • I talked about the difference between product ownership (a team role in the Scrum framework) and product management (a whole professional skillset and body of knowledge about how to manage products effectively).

6. What inspired me this week?

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