High highs and low lows.

Overarching feeling of the week

Another busy week with a fair bit of running around, and a strange feeling that I can’t quite put my finger on.


On Thursday I brought together two teams who are doing almost the same thing to talk about how one could possibly reuse the other’s system or at least work with them on an approach. It feels good to start those kinds of conversations, break silos and prevent duplication of effort, wasting money, etc.

Also on Thursday Conall asked me to contribute my thoughts on our team’s People Survey Results so on Friday afternoon (when I wasn’t supposed to be working) I did that work, because…

Say it with me!

In truth it was actually because I have been finding my weeknotes really difficult to write this week and it was a good distraction.


On Tuesday Michele and I met with someone who has made it on to the Cabinet Office Graduate Scheme to see if they would be a good fit for our trainer role. We really liked him and on Friday offered him the role. Just waiting to hear when he can start — that is Good.

Its been a good week of people putting me in touch with other people and generally being really understanding, helpful, and generous. Weeks like that are good [1].

On Wednesday I was invited along to a Strategic Comms workshop at BEIS which was organised by Michelle in my team as a starter for thinking about how comms should be used in the wider business unit that we sit in.

There was lots of talk about measurements and OASIS and things, so it made a lot of sense to me. I’d really welcome more focus on comms within our team.

Main highlight was spending the afternoon on Wednesday over with Kit’s team at UC in DWP. I’m not sure how much I can say about it, but it was another eye-opening trip as part of my “Being Nosey” series which has already taken me to Dan’s team at Parliamentary Digital Service, which you can read about here.

You can read more about what I learned at DWP in the Lessons section below.

Another highlight was attending the workshop about the EU Directive on Website Accessibility at GDS on Thursday. It is SO INTERESTING and I am SO STOKED to be involved. It’s exciting and useful and impactful and I love it.

Also James of One Team Gov was there and also Lyndsay who was on my Policy School cohort was helping to run it, so it was nice to see her again.


I’m trying to work out what to do about an event that happened on Friday and which it wouldn’t be right to talk about here. I think the answer is wait. This is the low low referenced in the sub-heading.

I’ve been feeling a bit iffy about my maths/analytical/data skills after I flunked [2] my Future Leaders Scheme psychometric Tests back in S01 Ep11 and my numerical reasoning scores were a bit (very) pants. I have historically been one of those people who has said things like:

Eugh, I hate maths!

I’m not proud of it, because being so dismissive has probably stopped me from trying to get better. It’s a cheap cop out.

I found maths difficult in school because I don’t really learn in the way that maths is taught. That made me think I couldn’t do it, which is probably bollocks. I have just valued my linguistic skills more highly I think.

Anyway, what am I saying? Oh yeah. I’m not going to be able to catch up and become a data genius, but I’m trying to learn more about how data works in different areas so that I can talk a bit more intelligently about it.

I learned a lot about infrastructure stuff with Dan’s team and a lot about “human outcomes” at Kit’s.

You’re wrong, lady from Parks and Rec. Also, it’s Maths.

Being there was really eye opening because I saw first hand how the data is being used to 1. find out stuff, and, 2. drive user research and product activity. I loved it. Oh, and met I Luke and also Emma who is lovely, so that was ace.

Plan for for next week

I’ve wangled another day at DWP on Monday in Stefan’s team. Jenny has been amazing in setting this up for me.

You are a star.

So Monday will be my non-working day, and the rest of the week looks pretty busy with meeting new people and scoping new stuff which has come in this week. Hoping it wont be too mad.

OTG microactions

  1. Not sure I’ve done much except RT Claire Moriarty’s tweet:

Ideas for blogs / Things I’m thinking about

1. Weeknoters consultancy. Still thinking about this since Dan mentioned it in Ep32 of his weeknotes. My downtime project is a small first step towards this in my head. I’m also thinking about writing a blog about “being a person who works in the gaps”. I haven’t been able to find time for this yet.

2. Collaborative blogging. Nour and I have done some ideas back and forth, it looks like we should hopefully be able to meet up and chat about it more! Yay!

Read / Watched / Listened to

Its been more of a writing than reading week, so this list is a bit sparse but…

1.More Motherland… Wrong that I think I might actually be Julia? “You’re not really a kids party type, are you Julia?” No, no mean mum. I am not.

2. Listening to Robert Webb’s brilliant book How Not to be a Boy which is narrated by him and is brilliantly written and evocative and a bit like Adrian Mole in places and just. Yes. Very good.

3. Watching Peaky Blinders and listening to the soundtracks from Peaky Blinders. All soundtracks should be Nick Cave, PJ Harvey heavy in my esteemed view.

4. Watched Murder on the Orient Express, which is worth mentioning because I get to include this cartoon again:

5. This, just this:

[1] Good was a very much overused word when I did my Weeknotes S01 retrospective so I’m trying to get the instances of it even higher as I approach the end of this one.

[2] Yeah I said flunked. Flunked, flunked, flunked. Feeling a bit sorry for myself this week I think.

Weeknotes S2Ep09 was originally published in Web of Weeknotes on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

Original source – Stories by Sam Villis on Medium

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