Weeknotes 10/02/2019 – Week 23

Another week of fire fighting and herding and meetings and not enough thinking and proper doing. There is light at the end of these tunnels though. I can foresee space to do more longer term work, more learning opportunities and starting to do product properly. One day.

One of the things I have wanted to do more of is talking to customers. We have been very quiet of late due to not much major getting released. It feel risky when we can’t deliver quickly enough sometimes. Frustrating I can’t fix all the things people want (or even all the things I want). But we have a few things live now and a few more things close to live so it feels like a good time to start talking more. We have a little Facebook community group, starting to be more open with our plans there. Feels good but a little daunting.

In TV land we binge watched Sex Education. It really is very good. Weirdly set in England but clearly written for the US or maybe not. Either way the leads are fantastic as is Gillian Anderson.

In exercise news I managed four runs this week. In total I ran 44k and managed 17k in a single run which is beyond my target for February which is pleasing. It was a very windy 17k, running up Ringinglow Road in the remnants of Storm Erik was one of the hardest things I have ever done. Managed to do it though.

Weeknotes 03/02/2019 – Week 22

Another release and a major project (mobile payments) finally reached customer beta. Two other big projects still dragging on though. One step forward two steps back it feels like. Must remember to celebrate the wins.

We have made some good progress towards being more of product focused organisation. Starting to find our feet with scrum. Still a few challenges as still have some legacy projects.

We have started playing five a side after work. Managed my first game on Thursday. Could not go running on Saturday because of it. Too old.

I managed to run 105k in January in total which is the furthest I have ever managed in a month. Running to work has helped massively with distance and also habit forming. Unfortunately I don’t feel like I am getting any faster. Need to shift a lot more weight to achieve that I think.

Running has taken hold but my reading habit has fallen away. I want to get back to that but need a book to grab me or more likely I need to be more focused on it and try and read at better times than bed time.

Really need to find some variety to inject into these notes / my life because they feel very samey week after week.

Weeknotes 27/01/2019 – Week 21

Exhausting week. Thursdays retro and sprint planning sessions were long and exhausting. A few mini grenades from the CEO. Spinning too many plates. None of them fast or well balanced. Focusing on product design, delivery and not much on the management side. Not cracked discovery. Design aspects of that either. Frustrating. We have some big challenges with mobile app delivery and decisions to make on our strategic direction in that area.

Overall I am feeling a bit average. Lost. Great people make space for more of the management but where do my skills lie? And where do they lay?

On the positive side a couple of great things shipped, our account homepage is almost complete (for now) and we have a much simpler login page. Not much time to celebrate though as we are a little trapped under a beast of a project which is so close to being finished but new issues make the finish line harder to grasp. Tough week.

Out of work I ran pretty well. On course to pass 100k for January. Managed a 14k run yesterday which was further than my end of January target of 13k. Pleasing. Dry January means I have lost weight and saved money (to pay the taxman) but I am very bored.

Watched Sally4ever. Bleak and filthy. Wish Sally had a bit more backbone but then she would not be in all this hilarious mess if she did. A lesson in there somewhere. I am not sure having a lesbian relationship is open to me as a solution however.

Weeknotes 20/01/2019 – Week 20

Great progress around our product ‘homepage’ Should be live this week all being well in testing. This change brings to the fore our extra accounts which are a hidden gem of our account. Unlike most fintech providers who have built simple logical bots ours are actual accounts with sort code and account numbers with the ability to use Direct Debits. They will form a big part of product going forwards. Another big project we have on to move to realtime transactions is rumbling on but the end is near now and I can’t wait to get that shipped as it opens up the possibility of change is so many more areas.

We have more hiring to be done in UX and Product following on from the two jobs we advertised last week. We are after someone who is better at the numbers side of product management than I am. An area I do need to improve on but I have a lot on elsewhere to have had chance to focus on it. That feels like an easy excuse though. Must grasp the spreadsheet nettle.

A new starter last week is making great strides in changing how we make things. Making me feel a lot more relaxed about the amount of things we have to do. Also I know I am going to learn a lot from them.

One of my major tasks at the moment is writing a mobile strategy. Our current app is far beyond or web interface due to choices made way before I joined. We have resource and focus challenges to address and this makes our decision on where to go with mobile far from the simple platitude of ‘mobile first’. Our customer base is also far from mobile app first at the moment. Due to our feature lacking app or the comfort of customers sticking to the web? If I was better at numbers (and had the chance to speak to way more customers) I might know that.

Still struggling to get back in to reading. I abandoned Change Agent by Daniel Suarez and have switched to 84K by Claire North. Struggling to get to grips with the writing style but about half a dozen chapters in so must stick with it.

My half marathon training is ramping up now. I managed two 8.2k runs to work and a 12.6k run on Saturday. First run up Ringinglow in about 18 months and it was snowy and hellish. I felt like I was going in reverse but managed to get up it eventually. Need to run up that hilly bastard every Saturday from now until April now in the hope I can increase my pace and stamina. Repeat, repeat, repeat to get better numbers.

Weeknotes 13/01/2019 – Week 19

First full week back at work. Very busy start to the year. Lots to get lined up to make the first quarter go as smoothly as possible. Big decisions to be made around our approach to mobile/web that will keep me and a few others busy for a while.

A few new roles published and a couple of key ones in there for a Senior UX Designer and Senior Front End Dev. We have made great hires in a few areas and now ss we strengthen quality in other important areas it will help us achieve more.

These new hires are also helping me improve. So much to learn from good people. Looking forward to that.

Back into the running and managed my longest so far yesterday. 11.7k and quite hilly in places. Tiring but enjoyable. The plan to run over 13k by the end of the month has started well.

Went to see Into the spider verse. One of the most visually impressive visual spectacles I have seen at the cinema. I am not a massive comic fan but this made me want to know more about them and get my boys into them.

We also went to an autism friendly screening for the first time which meant a quieter volume, no adverts and no trailers. 2 out of 3 of those things suited me too. Start sooner with fewer interruptions beforehand.