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Weeknote 19 - 30 April 2021

4 min read

On flexing, failing and basic needs.


We have plans to expand our capability to develop and improve our finance and workforce systems. Demand for this work constantly shifts as change programmes come and go so supply needs to be flexible too. It is not cost effective to have a large, permanent team waiting for the peaks in demand, nor to use contractors and suppliers for everything, so we are going to use a blended approach.

Over the last few weeks we have been running a recruitment campaign to expand our permanent team a little and should start interviewing next week. In addition we have been looking at how we can fine tune the blended approach. The sorts of things we are exploring are:

  • what sorts of commercial arrangements would best fit the profile of our work
  • how to be clear about what we need without locking out great new ideas from suppliers
  • establishing great collaboration and team working with temporary supplier staff
  • the skills we need to develop to sustainably work this way.

In May we will receive our next quarterly release from our main finance and workforce system. For a few weeks our specialist teams have been getting reading for a short but intensive period of testing. Regular releases means that the amount of change in each release is quite small and so is the potential impact. It is still possible for defects to get through so it is prudent for us to test the parts that are most critical for us. We’ll also review our roadmap of future developments as the release may include things we are not using right now but may want to take on in the future.


I’m covering several roles on a temporary basis at the moment. I knew that I would have to prioritise and drop some things but knowing this, feeling it and doing it are not the same. There are some lower priority things that I have continued and have no regrets. Some of my coaching activities don’t take a large amount of time but they do give me an energy boost which, I hope, makes me more productive and focused when spending time on the priorities.

I’ve made other choices which I do regret, for example, dropping out of a project which has gone on to face some big challenges. I’ll never know if I could have helped the project to avoid or cope with these but I feel like I should have shared more of the burden. I’m also regretting starting or continuing some initiatives which are only getting half the attention they need. These can start to feel like a drain rather than a boost, especially when I am struggling on one of the higher priority bits of work. The test for me now is to make a decision and either commit and continue these initiatives or drop them until I can work on them properly.


I attended another meeting of our staff race equality forum. Every time I learn something new. Sometimes it could be about the impact of something in the news which I have missed. Following the meeting I’ve been thinking about the availability of goods and services tailored to different races and cultures. This part of the world is so prepared to cater for the needs of people like me, I almost never need to think about these things. Shoe size is probably the only category where I don’t count as “normal”. On the rare occasions I get a new pair of shoes it can be exasperating. Struggling to find the basic things you need all the time must be exhausting.

Originally published on by Richard Barton