Weeknote: 6 to 10 January 2020

Actions on board: Spend control points need to be visible on team wall; People observing two hours every six weeks in UR. Can we track ourselves and hold ourselves into account?; UCD training and tracking of facilitator availability

What inspired me this week?

  • The team getting started on the book, refer, and manage appointments discovery. Will, the delivery lead, is doing a brilliant job setting up the team for success
  • A couple of new starters and promotions in the Digital Services Delivery profession that I lead. I’m looking forward to catching up with them.
  • Dates announced for the Digital, Data, and Technology in health unconferences. There’s a great little team working across health and care national organisations to make these happen in Leeds and London.

How did I uphold the NHS Constitution?

  • Made sure the book, refer, and manage appointments team were aware of the draft guidance, that I worked on with NHSX colleagues back in November on working with people and patients across digital services.
  • Considered how best to ensure our approach to equality, diversity and inclusion is consistent across our products and services.

How did I make expectations clear?

  • In our first Tuesday morning UCD catch-up of 2020, we added a few actions to our team board to make sure we’re moving forward on our objectives and key results for this quarter.
  • This week I started to clarify my own thinking about the gaps we have in product management capacity, and some of the ways we can go about addressing them in the coming months.
  • I also started to talk more about the interconnectedness of three important things that are going to change over the coming months:
    1. the shift we’re making in our skillsets and ways of working to be more product-led as a product development directorate
    2. the changes that are happening across the system, in national policy and commissioning
    3. simplifying the way that funding and assurance works within and between our national health and care organisations.

It doesn’t make sense to talk about any of those without understanding how the others are changing too. They’re all aiming to achieve the same thing: to give staff and citizens the digital services, data and technology they need. As a leadership team, we’ll need to get really good at telling that overarching story, and making sure that those three changes keep pace with each other.

What leadership teamwork did I see?

  • A number of senior colleagues are all working through the changes and ensuring they makes sense to the services they’re responsible for, and for the teams that they lead.
  • Meanwhile, there’s an opportunity for people to switch professions coming up. Having learned from their experience of handling a large number of requests in the last profession change window, our lead delivery managers, led by Mohammed as practice lead, are gearing up to support that in a way that only experienced delivery managers can.

What connections did I make?

  • I had a post-Bevan Programme catch-up with Roger, a colleague at NHS Digital who was in the same cohort as me. We both agreed we’d got a huge amount out of the programme.
  • The wonderful Andy Callow, my former colleague and fellow weeknoter, was in Leeds so we met for a coffee. If you want to know what we talked about, check out Andy’s weeknotes.
  • I caught up with two great strategic thinkers who are considering going for jobs with national health and care organisations. I hope I was able to explain that landscape as I see it, and give them both every encouragement.

What do I need to take care of?

  • By the end of a long week puzzling over the changes we need to make, I got a little exasperated with a colleague who saw things differently. A few times in our conversation, he said he didn’t think I’d understood what he was trying to say. I will try harder next time.
  • That same conversation ran way over the time we’d originally set aside, and while it was all useful it meant that I then missed a catch-up that was important to someone else. I should have allowed more time between calls, and been more efficient in structuring the conversation.
  • It’s always a pleasure to be asked to talk user-centred design to different audiences in health and care. I’ve said yes to a few of those recently, so I need to make sure I allow the time to understand each audience, and what would be most useful to them.

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