Weeknote 15 - 19 March 2021

Weeknote 15 - 19 March 2021

3 minute read

On too much work-in-progress, more agility and vaccinations.


I’m resisting the urge to get a larger board for my personal sticky notes or start cutting the notes in half and using smaller handwriting. I know the problem is too much work-in-progress so I am going to have to prioritise and focus. One of the things I’m going to cut out is trying to find big themes to draw from my week so this will be a bit of a listicle1 again.

  • One of our workforce management teams has been trialling agile ways of working. We are about half-way through but the feedback is already very positive and I am confident the team will want to go further. We have borrowed some ideas from the Scrum framework2 and, initially, the team were concerned that planning sessions, reviews and regular check-ins would take too much time away from actually doing the work. In practice, the opposite has happened. We are talking more frequently and with more focus but the total time in these meetings is less than before.
  • Since we moved most of our finance and workforce systems over to a public cloud service last year we have been gradually turning off our old on-premises systems. We have already achieved most of the savings we wanted to get from this work but it looks like we won’t be 100% complete at the end of March. A little late but significantly under-budget is a pretty good result under the circumstances.
  • Following last week’s meeting with the Cornwall Voluntary Sector Forum (VSF)3 we have been reaching out to groups that we think can offer skills and experience to tackle the initial backlog of IT challenges.
  • Over the last few weeks we have used surveys and interviews to gauge our progress in becoming a more agile department. The team doing this work shared their initial findings this week and it was really encouraging to see how far we have come over the last 12 months or so. I’m hoping we can share some of this and our plans for the future at Agile on the Beach4 later in the year.
  • Like many organisations we started our agile journey with our core IT services but we are already pushing upstream and downstream. One of the upstream areas is known as Business Architecture5 and, this week, I’ve been talking to some of our teams about how we can make progress on this in an agile way. I’ve worked in several organisations that have been disappointed by the return on their Business Architecture efforts so I am hoping that I can help our teams employ a pragmatic, agile mind set and get some real value out of it.


Our race equality forum was filled with interesting discussions again. Often these expose false assumptions I have been making.

I have a slight sore arm from my first dose of the COVID vaccine but I didn’t hesitate to take what was offered. I was confident that if there were any issues for people like me they would have been resolved during the clinical trials or quickly picked up through the ongoing tracking mechanisms. Many Black and Asian people are at a greater risk from the virus6 but can also be more reluctant to be vaccinated. If you are Black or Asian you can’t trust that the system will look after you as well as it looks after people like me. Good information and communication alone won’t change this as there is plenty of data which confirms the systemic bias in our health systems, just as there is for criminal justice and other public services.

It is easy to be overwhelmed by the scale of the problem but perhaps I can share some of these stories, expose more false assumptions and encourage a few more allies to start working against racism.


  1. Listicles

  2. See an earlier post about the approach we are using. 

  3. Cornwall VSF

  4. Agile on the Beach will be the World’s best agile conference this year and not just because it takes place in Cornwall! 

  5. Business Architecture and related disciplines provoke mixed reactions. Some argue that they have been made obsolete by agile ways of working but I think they can be very complementary. You can find out more in one of my old blog posts 

  6. Why Black and South Asian people have been hit hardest by COVID-19

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