Weeknotes: March 7

Things that happened

Prepared for our live assessment next week

Next week I’m one of a few people representing the team for the Design System’s live service assessment.

On Wednedsay we had a dry-run of the presentation part of the assessment, and on Friday we had our technical pre-call.

It’s been interesting trying to find the right balance of information to include in the assessment itself, versus the pre-call. Compared to a typical service that might be assessed, the technical choices our team make have a much more fundamental impact on the products we deliver. And so it seems important to set the context effectively, to ensure the right discussions take place.

Equally, we need to make sure we still have time to have a wider discussion and to answer questions. And I need to make sure that the content is accessible to the whole panel, not just the tech assessor.

Daring to feel cautiously optimistic.

Joined the cross-government design system weekly chat

I joined the weekly cross-government design system chat for the first time since Imran, our community manager, joined the team.

Screenshot of the group of people on the call

Imran’s managed to bring a lot more structure to the calls, and it was a real pleasure to watch his skillful facilitation of the meeting.

Imposter syndrome does like to rear its head in these chats, and this week was no exception. It’s fair to say that we haven’t made as much progress over the last year or so with some problems as we – or our users – would like, and I found myself a little on the defensive.

Things I learned

Short meetings can work really well, if the scope is right

On Wednesday Eoin, our technical writer, ran a really great workshop focused on technical writing.

And on Thursday Kelly, our delivery manager, ran an equally excellent session looking at how we build new components and patterns more effectively in the future.

What was interesting about both sessions is that they were only about 45 minutes long, and yet we managed to cover a lot of ground in that time.

At the start of the year I was a little frustrated that we had quite a few ‘big picture’ sessions that felt like they were only really getting started just as we were wrapping up.

My takeaway at the time was that we needed to allow more time for those sorts of sessions, but I’m now realising just how draining meetings can be, and we need to be looking at reducing the scope of our meetings rather than just making everything longer.

I’m looking forward to trying to break some other problems down into smaller chunks and putting this into practise over the next few months.

I’m really looking forward to being able to meet with my colleagues again

We ended Friday with fika and found ourselves talking about the sorts of ‘away days’ we used to do as a team, and what sorts of things we may or may not be able to do over the coming year.

Our team’s grown a lot in the last few months, and it’s strange to think that I haven’t met about a third of them in person.

It’s hardly surprising – and I know I’m not the only one in this boat – but I can’t wait till we can all get together. Plus, I think I owe a few of them a beer…