Weeknote: 24 to 28 May 2021

Four deer grazing in a field
Sunday bike ride around Wike and Harewood

Making progress

There are 3 things I identified quite early on in my time in Urgent & Emergency Care (UEC), and this week, I saw progress on all of them:

  • Connecting our activity to the UEC system priorities: A couple of good catch-ups with team members to work on a short presentation summarising our digital work for the UEC sector. We have a bit more work to do next week but it is taking shape.
  • Expanding our capability: Some more calls with people interested in the role of Head of Transformation Strategy, which closes for applications on Monday 31 May. I also lined up some colleagues to join me on the interview panel for the role.
  • Clarifying the services we offer to users: A discussion on the best way to kick off some user-centred service catalogue work across the digital UEC portfolio. I think we found a good way forward.

Made me think

A couple of frustrating conversations (for others as well as me!) brought home the importance of bringing people with us as we deliver our work.

In one, it felt as if a lot of work had been done by a team that knew its stuff technically, but was not so connected to the real business or user needs that their work needs to support. That’s not their fault – it’s on us to make those priorities clear, and to intervene when it’s not answering the whole question.

In the other, an important stakeholder asked a very sensible question, and was, I think, reassured by the answer, but the time and place they chose to ask made me wonder how we might be more active in ensuring everyone understands what’s going on with each piece of work.

Broadening my perspective

I took a day off from my NHS work on Wednesday for a strategy day and board meeting at Leeds & Yorkshire Housing Association where I’m a non-executive board member. Being on the LYHA board helps me take a broader perspective on my NHS role, especially seeing as a good home is one of the biggest social determinants of health.

Handed over

By Friday, I could see that the new product lead was up to speed on the COVID-19 vaccination status team that I’ve been working with. It felt like a good time to return full time to Urgent & Emergency Care. The COVID status team know where to find me if I’ve left any loose ends. It has been a privilege to work on the programme with such a talented cross-organisation team, and I’ve learned loads from the small part I played in it.

Thinking in the open

Drawing on my recent experiences with different delivery teams, on Tuesday morning I posted a thread on Mastodon and Twitter about two different responses to team interdependencies in software products. When I post things like this publicly, I always get far more value back from seeing how people respond. I know I can count on Mastodon and Twitter friends to tell me when I’m being unreasonable, and to poke at the narrative so I see what I’m missing. I wrote the thread up on my blog: Code is cheap; ignorance is costly.

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