Weeknotes 16/09/18 – Week 2

Monday started with my latest attempt at losing weight after an unhealthy 18 months or so, well and unhealthy adult life to be honest. The weighing scales chastised me once again, although the warning signs of my belt fast running out of notches had prepared me for the worst.

I am now on a low carb diet along with my wife and I. I am supplementing the diet with some exercise as well. I have done three kettle bell workouts this week as my legs were too stiff from football at the weekend. Running starts Monday. I am signed up for the Sheffield Half Marathon in April next year. My goals are to get back to 5k by the end of September. 10k by the end of November. Might give running to work a go somewhere in between those dates (roughly 8k). Again another habit that I have rarely managed to make stick longer than about a month at a time without it tailing off. Also off the booze for a few weeks until a friends wedding on the 29th of September. If I write it on a blog post no one reads will it still pressure me to stick to all these goals?

In less healthy news, I watched ITV’s John Simm vehicle Strangers. Very poor (just like the the last ITV vehicle for John Simm). Interesting premise and having it set in in Hong Kong added some colour to the drab plot but the script is very clunky and moves from each obvious revelation to the next without any sort of surprise or tension. After watching Ozark this felt even worse.

I watched Pirates of the Caribbean five with my youngest son. It was pretty bad. The silent cameo by Kiera Knightley spoke volumes about hers and everyone else’s reasons for doing yet another sequel.

I paid my first visit to Hillsborough on Saturday. We started dreadfully and Stoke looked like they would score 5 or 6 after the first 20 minutes. Thankfully we scored before halftime and set up an interesting second half that I was certain we would fail to score in. My negativity was once again proved wrong and a delightful freekick by Barry Bannan cheered me greatly. Football is a stressful thing to watch though. Glad I can’t afford to go week in week out anymore.

Working week. Finally got a new product manager in the team after a few months of recruitment challenges. We are now a team of 3 (after the departure of one of the team on maternity leave) and I am trying to work out how to balance the work best for all as we look to deliver but also develop the team (and organisation). We are also all new to formal product management but all have relevant backgrounds. Looking froward to seeing how things pan out with new skill sets in the organisation and a team to define.

The sprints I mentioned last week were going so well but we hit a couple of little bumps which meant we missed the delivery by the Friday. Release to be done Monday instead. More practice needed with sizing and working to these tighter timelines. The way the team is forming and working together is great to see.

I had my first annual appraisal, which went well. Still a horrible process of form filling in though. I am not sure there will ever be a good process for me as these things always involve you writing about yourself and justifying who you are and what you do (or don’t do).

Highlight of the working week was the fact we held ten customer interviews on the subject of how they managed their money. I say ten…we had a 50% drop out rate which was very frustrating and gives us something to think about for the future. We will review how we recruit, reward and communicate with people who are willing to give their time.

The interviews that did go ahead were brilliant. All fascinating, all revealing of new things that we had not thought about, reinforced other ideas and just made me want to do far more as we need to far better understand our customers. Next week will be all about turning those golden insights into needs etc. and feeding those into a few strands of work that are starting later next week all being well.