Weeknotes – series 02 episode 02

Chatting to the design team

On Monday I spent some time catching up with the permanent interaction designers working in my area. Even though they'll be line-managed by a non-designer (boo) I've been asked to lead them in terms of objectives, progression, training and kit.

Cross-gov design train

On Tuesday we had an away day in Swindon. I got the train up and bumped into some of my "old" design team from the Office for National Statistics publishing team. They were on the way to the cross-government design away day in London. The theme was "designing for people in crisis". I was sad to be missing out.

There were a few others I knew on that train too. In total we counted 13 designers!

Off site away-day

When we arrived at Swindon, it was good to meet some of the team from Titchfield (Office for National Statistics other office near Portsmouth). I got on with the user researchers in particular.

I realised that, as I was struggling to find my feet in a new team, my new team was also struggling to find its place in an even bigger team. And that bigger team was based in Titchfield.

I'm a fan of remote working, but I think that a big organisation, split over 2 locations, using enterprise software really tests a teams' ability to work flexibly.

The away-day could have been run in a more productive, inclusive way. But I definitely see the value of spending time together, and this was the first time we were thrown together. Next time should be easier.

Panic attack?

The following days were hard. A big fat inbox (including invites to 3 different recurring stand-ups) pushed me over the edge and I'm pretty sure I had a panic attack. I think one of the reasons I'm finding this move hard is that I'm used to sounding off on Twitter to let off steam. I don't feel like I can share much of what's going on right now, so all my stresses are building up.

My energy went into firing off passive aggressive emails, which seems to be my speciality at the moment, so apologies if you received one of those.

Finishing on a high

On Friday I spent time chatting to familiar faces who have been on the team longer than I have. They confirmed that yes there is way too much to do, that I can't possibly help fix it all by myself, but yes I was probably right to be worried about some of the problems I was seeing.

Things to focus on next week

  • I'm visiting the Titchfield office on Monday to chat with the comms team about the Census brand
  • I'm going to help the Census website team pull together some user needs, so we can begin validating them
  • I'm going to observe some user research on Thursday