Weeknotes 06x01: What are the two hard things in management?

  • Team stuff: 1–1s and other people’s careers, which I love but needs some dedicated thought time
  • Tech stuff: Planning next steps and making sure it gets prioritised/done, which is great but needs some writing time and hand-holding
  • Product Ownership on Hive Pixie: Planning out a 9-month roadmap and turning it into something I can follow and communicate easily, which is a brilliant challenge but always more work than I expect and takes a lot of writing and re-writing and drawing strands together which is not very easy in Jira
  • Our own ethical impact: One of our year’s company strategies, which I didn’t originally put forwards or vote for, but it made sense for me to pick up and actually I quite enjoy it, but does seem to mean starting an entire framework from scratch like a mini research project or something, and needs lots of writing time so that I can understand it so that everyone else can understand it
  • GDPR: Which is a whole legal thing apparently
  1. I am organising priorities and setting aims, paths and plans for most of this work
  2. A lot of that organisation seems to involve writing up documents and turning things into lists
  3. (Mostly) everything is pretty fragmented with not-a-lot of overlap, and context-switching could potentially kill me

Hard Problem 1: Priorities

What do I/we do next? This is the question that keeps stabbing me in the brain. Everything is continuous, a lot of it is reactive, and even the most ardent of intent isn’t enough to convert the wishes of unicorns into a minimum viable spec.

  1. Work out what other people’s priorities are
  2. Suggest and discuss a common set of priorities
  3. Do this across multiple things, and so have to do #1 and #2, but for my own work
  4. Write everything up in a list style
  5. Work out all the priorities alongside each other, plus with everyone else’s priorities thrown in.
Many people try to attack one person all at the same time, from the hit comedy kung fu movie, 'Kung Fu Hustle'. Probably.

Hard Problem 2: Scheduling

So I started last week by blocking in some time in my calendar for the things that I wanted to “MAKE PROGRESS” on (this was my weekly aim, after being caught up in various large tech efforts over the last few months. I’m playing catchup.)

Kung fu on the mountain

Hard Problem 3: Knowing when to stop

I’ve noticed this is something on my radar. A lot of planning can be quite creative, if you let it — knowing when to put the brush aside and say “enough is enough, this will be OK” is hard.

Scrolls crash from shelves from the hit kung fu movie 'Hero'. Like a boss.



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Lead tech at OCSI, making data friendly for social good. Likes words. Doesn't really own a bowler hat.