Weeknotes #234

What I did this week:

Product fit

I’ve been working on a product assessment before making a recommendation as to whether it’s a good fit for meeting organisational requirements across safeguarding, technology, operations, and people, and how that fit might change over time. Part of that assessment is to construct a test so I’ve been collating a long list of swear words, football hooligan gang names, mental health trigger words, and racist and sexist insults to use as triggers for understanding how we might recognise their use, understand their meaning (which is always very contextual), and respond in positive supportive ways.


Had a very interesting chat about what it means to be outcome-driven. It’s not a normal way of thinking (well, for most people anyway). Having to answer for yourself whether this thing you’re about to do is going to get you closer to your goal relies on having done lots of thinking about those goals and how your theory of change works. It feels almost normal to me, but maybe I have one of those weird brains that means I already know why I’m saying what I say in a meeting, and what I’m trying to achieve by saying it, and how achieving that thing will help achieve a bigger goal. You can’t be outcome-driven unless you have outcome-thinking.

Digital Remediation in Art and Culture

This week’s lecture went into the idea of remediation. This was the second lecture but as I missed last weeks it was my first, so my first opportunity to see how this lecturer teaches. He was using a Kahoot quiz to ask questions about the pre-recorded lectures and reading materials and then explain more about concepts behind the answers. This is interesting in two ways; one because the topic of remediation in digital art suggests a very different view of creativity than we usually consider for art, and two, because the lecturer is experimenting with how online education with large cohorts (80 +) can be effective.

Some things I thought about this week:

Product management is just backlog prioritisation

I spend more time on ‘goodness of fit’ work, assessing and coordinating how we might solve organisation-wide problems and how all of the solutions will fit together long before a piece of work gets onto a delivery backlog than I do (or ever would) spend prioritising the backlog. Of course, most of the delivery team I’m part of don’t see this, and the Scrum product owner vs. Product Manager confusion persists so there is an expectation that the main part of my job should be to prioritising the backlog of work for the team. A high-functioning delivery team shouldn’t be relying on any single person to prioritise work, they’re capable of doing that themselves, and it avoids bottlenecks.

Where innovation sites

I’ve noticed a a few Innovation jobs in the charity sector recently, which is really good to see, and it intrigues me as to where in the organisation the roles are. Rothwell talks about how for innovation to be successful lots of factors have to work, including project execution and corporate level factors. So, I wonder if small innovation teams in the fundraising department are limited to only ever having a small impact constrained by innovation not being enough of a part of everything the charity does. Innovation teams are a great start, but innovation cultures, systems and strategies are better.

The role of the collective in wellbeing

Wellbeing at work is a challenge. No kidding. The challenge seems to me to be about the nature of the relationship between the organisation and the individual. Maybe it needs rethinking. Most organisations approach the wellbeing of employees as the organisation having responsibility for the individual, which of course they do, but there is more to it than that. There are more players in this game. There is the organisation, the individual, and the collective. The collective is groups of people with a common behaviour. Outside of work, we have collective social support networks made up of friends and family. Maybe similar co-supporting networks at work might be beneficial to everyone. Perhaps the organisation feels it couldn’t suggest this as it might be seen as abdicating responsibility but that shouldn’t stop people from building supportive networks for themselves.


Knowledge work changes the input of learning to the output of work. It used to be that you could learn one thing and use that knowledge to do the same work thousands of times over your career. Now you have to learn ten things for every one thing you do. Knowledge work places far more emphasis on learning, which requires individuals and organisations to change how they approach learning.

Stuff I read this week:

Charities, artificial intelligence and machine learning

It’s really great to see this article. I firmly believe that more charities need improve their understanding of new and emerging technologies like machine learning. Even if they don’t feel like it’s the right time for introducing these technologies into their organisation, understanding how those technologies might be used in ways that affect their beneficiaries. Charity digital and technology strategies are always about what they are going to do about their internal tech rather than how they are going to respond to technology changes across society.Follow the foxThis video was sent to me by one of Twitter friends. It talks about emerging process, doing the next right thing, rather using models that pretend work happens in straight predicable lines. Learning and adapting as you go is a better https://www.youtube.com/embed/UsWCA505EUc?feature=oembedView original

Charity island discs

I watched the fourth episode of Charity island discs with Zoe Amar. Wayne often mentions about getting behind the LinkedIn profiles and getting to see people’s humanity, and although it’s taken me four episodes, I’m starting to get what he means. For most of the people I know of in the charity sector on Twitter I only see a profile picture. Seeing them speaking about life experiences and their favourite songs, hearing their voices, finding out about their journeys and what motivates them, removes the barrier and veneer that social media profiles create. Helping people in the charity sector to look more like normal people to others helps us all feel more like we can be part of it, that we can all play our part without having to be doing amazing things (even if all those people on charity island discs are doing amazing things) and be super-successful.

Worst first

How should we prioritise work on a project? The RRR method suggests that we start by assuming projects have a high probability of failure and so we should prioritize tasks based on risk, but actually not in terms of the absolute amount of risk they’ll reduce but in terms of their risk-reduction rate. The risk-reduction rate is the amount of risk you can reduce per hour or dollar you invest in doing them. By doing the highest RRR tasks first, you do them in the order that will most rapidly reduce the project’s remaining risks.

Tweets of the week:

Shaped by surroundings

I tweeted, “Interesting question for remote organisations: If culture used to be shaped by office layout, is it now shaped by the digital tools it uses?” How much does Microsoft Teams affect the culture of an organisation?

Don’t worry about readers. Write to clarify thinking

Julian Shaprio tweeted, “One of the best ways to become a prolific creator is to share what you know. But what if you’re not an expert?” He shares lots of ideas and advice for writing online.

Accessibility 3

Abi tweeted, “It is not recommended for anyone to start using WCAG 3.0 in earnest until it is published as a W3C recommendation. The earliest this is likely to happen is in 2023.” It’s interesting that the guidelines are evolving