Retrospective December 2021

This month’s lesson was that I like exploring. This leaves me torn between trying to have more focus on fewer things (product management) and having the freedom to do new things. Perhaps I can find a way to divide my time between the two ways but I’ll need to be disciplined as otherwise the exciting new stuff will always take over the more long-term stuff.

Contributing to the digital transformation of the charity sector

I had my first week at RNID. I’m excited by the work, the ways of working, the team, the charity’s mission. I’m really looking forward to getting into the work and figuring out where I can contribute the most.

I’ve been considering whether to try digital volunteering. I haven’t looked into it much yet as I want to more certain about the time I have available and where I want to focus my energy, but it’s on the list.

Learning about innovation, technology, product and design

I received a Distinction for my MSc, so that’s nice. Reflecting back on the two years I really enjoyed the learning and writing the essays, and especially my dissertation, which improved my critical thinking, but Birkbeck University was really badly organised and provided a poor student experience. Given that I decided to do the course for the experience of doing it rather than for any benefit having the qualification might bring, I’d say I’m definitely glad I did it.

Started the British Sign Language online course and completed a few modules from Microsoft Learn. I’m finding the sign language easier to remember than I thought I would but expect the course to get harder as we get into sentences and it become harder to remember over time. The Microsoft courses are basic introductions particular products and I’ve been focusing on Dynamics 365 CRM and customer service stuff at the moment.

Wrote a few more emails for I have fourteen more to write, and although it’s taking much longer to write them than I thought I’m still enjoying getting into each topic. Although it’s a product that doesn’t really align with where I think I want to be exploring it feels like it’s one I can complete and launch and learn from.

I’m up to ten Irregular Ideas emails. I need to decide whether to continue with it next year or focus on product management stuff and other platforms. I enjoy writing the little essays but I don’t really have an plan in mind for the newsletter so need to consider whether it’s really where I should be focusing my energy.

I wrote weeknotes on schedule every week.

Leading an intentional life

My nomadic life along the coastline continued and I visited lots of cool places. My financial measures are doing well but I need a strong concerted effort on improving my physical health. That should be my focus.

Retrospective October 2021

This month’s lesson is that my interest in things follows a power law distribution. I’m really interested in exploring new ideas but the level of interest quickly drops off. Some things, like writing weeknotes, I maintain over time so it isn’t a problem of not being able to follow through, but perhaps one of enjoying the initial exploration more than the building. Maybe the answer is in finding ways to identify and drop bad ideas more quickly.

Contributing to the digital transformation of the charity sector

We’ve been focused on completing the definition stage to get ready to start development, and its all going to schedule. One of the interesting things I found was in how we group up work in different ways and how this can cause confusion. For example, in discussing work with stakeholders we talk about the different things a user does, but when the developers talk about the work they group up all the APIs that are required into one. There doesn’t seem to be a way to talk about complicated things in a consistent way.

Learning about innovation, technology, product and design

Didn’t do any work on Adjacencies but still think there’s a vaguely worthwhile idea there about learning about the skills of those you work with on cross-functional teams. I think the thing that stopped me working on it, other than my usual thing about going onto the next idea, is the conflict between providing training that is about work but asking people to pay for it themselves.

My tweet100 tweets about aren’t getting any interest, and I’m losing interest in the idea of writing a hundred essays about innovation. It’s looking likely that I’ll be dropping this idea by the end of the year.

Completed a few more Foundations of Humane Technology course. I slightly lost interest, which I tried to renew a bit by taking notes on the module I was studying, but I still intend to finish it.

I continued to write weeknotes on schedule every week.

Leading an intentional life

I continued to wander around the coastline, which is really nice.

I reached my financial target for the year two months early, which is nice.

I’ve been ill so didn’t get out running, which wasn’t nice.

Retrospective September 2021

This month’s lesson: good relationships are just as important for doing good work as good thinking (that’s not a new lesson but this month has shown me how important it is again).

Contributing to the digital transformation of the charity sector

Happy with the work I did on Identity Verification. It has some solid thinking behind it based on the Gov standards, achieves a good balance between the needs of the organisation and what will work for young people, and involved some good stakeholder engagement that has been built up over the last year.

The solution design I’ve been working on this month is in really good shape and is on schedule. I’ve been refining our product discovery, definition and design process using a deductive approach where we start with big things and break them down into smaller things. I’m not yet at the smallest user story level yet, that’s for next month, but it has proved a reliable way to show the causal rationale from the goals to how we’ll achieve them, which makes it easier to bring people along on such a complex project.

Learning about innovation, technology, product and design

My testing of interest in started with using Tweet100. After 8 out of 100 tweets it has achieved nothing. I’ll let it continue until the end of the year and see if it picks up any subscribers but so far the project isn’t looking like one to be investing time in.

Adjacencies is the other project I was supposed to be testing this month but haven’t done much on. I’ve received some weak signals about how discipline-specific individual silos could be a problem in cross-functional teams, but nothing about whether learning about other disciplines would help to resolve the problems.

I started a Foundations on Humane Technology, which wasn’t on the plan but I’ve found really engaging. It’s got me interested in doing courses regularly so I’m going to try to ensure I’ve always got one on my delivery plan.

I continued to write weeknotes on schedule every week.

Leading an intentional life

I’m still living as a digital nomad and enjoying it everyday. I’ve been thinking a little about how I feel comfortable talking about my weird lifestyle at work. I wonder if it’s a combination of the lifestyle making me care less about things like what impact it might have on my working relationships (I’d certainly have been aware of that in other places) and the team environment I work in feeling safe enough to be open about it.

Retrospective August 2021

This month’s lessons: focusing on fewer things makes it much easier to to stay on schedule (who knew) and having things on a delivery plan that just happen without any focus is kind of missing the point.

Contributing to the digital transformation of the charity sector

I got where I needed to with product requirements for two of the three projects. The third project has a more extended timeline and a slower pace, so will come in time. Also did a little bit of strategy work using Wardley mapping, which has got me thinking.

Learning about innovation, technology, product and design

Finished my dissertation. Which means I’ve finished my masters. It feels weird. Partly because it’s been a big part of my life for two years and now all that pressure is suddenly gone. It’s going to leave a big gap. And partly because I can’t do anything more about the final grade I get. It’s out of my hands now. A lesson I need to take into whatever I choose to spend my time doing next is that in order to get me to focus, that thing needs to have some external commitment (for my masters that was the money I’d paid) and some future benefit to achieve (which is getting the masters). Other projects I’ve started before haven’t had either of those and I quickly lose interest when I have a new idea.

Wrote weeknotes on schedule every week. I’ve been mixing them up a bit by adding a photo of the week, things I’m grateful for, and what my growth area for the week has been. They continue to be a really good prompt to looking back over the week.

Leading an intentional life

I reached a new level of appreciation for my digital nomad life this month. I started a map to keep track of the places I’ve visited. I saw dolphins, seals and a lizard.

I completely smashed my purposely low target for stiles. I have 348 on whereas my target for this month was 315.

I achieved the increase in runway I was aiming for.

All three of these targets are starting to feel out of place on my delivery plan. They just happen without me needing to give them any focus so I think I might drop them and think about whether I should add something else. I still think of them as being part of the goal of leading an intentional life so they should be on my roadmap, but not on the delivery plan.