On growing our team, using tech for good and the awful news about Sarah Everard.
My personal sticky note board is really helping me focus on getting things done. I’ve still ended the week with a full board of notes but at least they are not the same set that I had at the start.
Here are some of the topics that came to mind while thinking about my weeknote.
- We received approval to expand the team which looks after our finance and workforce systems. There is a long way to go before the new people join us but we have also secured some temporary help to ease the pressure on parts of the team. This is one of the outcomes of some work to review our operating model1. We are also experimenting with a couple of suppliers to find cost effective ways to flex our capacity as demand for changes ebbs and flows. It isn’t realistic to do this with our permanent team.
- This week we had our regular review with the supplier of our finance and workforce systems. A system of this scale and complexity is always going to have issues but it is good to talk about what we are learning and think about how we can collaborate more effectively.
- A meeting with the Cornwall Voluntary Sector Forum (VSF)2 was really exciting. A group of us have been wondering if we can make more impact by coordinating our volunteering efforts and taking advantage of the valuable professional skills in the IS team. It was great to tap into the experience of the VSF team and we are going to run an experiment together to see how we could make this work.
- We’ve been discussing how to make performance management and development really work for us rather than just be a mandatory process we have to follow. Borrowing ideas from one of our engineering teams, a group of product managers are developing a map of product management capabilities and sharing our self assessments. This may lead to some personal development actions but also opens up the possibility of taking action in pairs or small groups. It is really interesting to see where the whole group is struggling and think about improvement actions. Perhaps there are things we all need to learn or perhaps we’ve exposed a process that is broken and needs to be fixed.
- I managed to join the Coffee Break Social hosted by Software Cornwall3. Not quite the same as the face-to-face meet ups I used to join before the pandemic, but good to meet some new people in the industry and hear about some of the things going on outside of the Council. The discussions got quite deep about the ethics, or not, of artificial intelligence technology and how engineers often fall into the trap of thinking problems such as poverty are things they can “solve”.
At the start of the week my Twitter feed was filled with uplifting messages about International Women’s Day (IWD). During the week I was finding out more about our gender pay gap and coaching a woman during a codebar4 event. I’ve ended the week reading about Sarah Everard5 and trying to make sense of all of the reactions to her murder. I can’t imagine how awful this is for Sarah’s friends and family but it has also been traumatic for countless women who have been the victims of abuse and violence.
Murder is very rare in the UK6 but a frightening proportion of women have suffered abuse or assaults7. Pretty much every woman has been intimidated, hassled or mistreated by a man. If this wasn’t sad enough it is also distressing how many men feel the need to explain what they think women can do to be safe or that not all men are murderers. I don’t think I am a particularly sensitive person but the ability of some men to miss the point is simply staggering! I’m glad people like Chris Hemmings8 are countering these voices.