Week 0 (resetting the clock)

Over coffee on Friday Jordan was enthusing about how much he’s been enjoying writing weeknotes. I’ve been meaning to get back to it since I gave up a couple of years ago but maybe it’s time to try again?

The week started with a quick interview for a potential technical architect to join GDS. It’s a pretty tricky role to fill–crucial to what we do–but requiring people who are very hands-on writing code and leading development teams, able to work with a complex range of stakeholders and legacy systems, and also constantly able to keep the focus on the users. That particular candidate didn’t work out but we’ve got more interviews coming up over the next few weeks.

I also spent some time on Monday with CESG talking about the design and security of the Lasting Power of Attorney project as it approaches its beta release. There’s plenty of work still to do there, but no immediate red flags.

A good chunk of the rest of the week was spent doing a bit of work shaping plans for our “going wholesale” target later in the year. Working several months ahead can feel quite alien and contrary to our agile commitments, but in this case there was a need to take a very broad vision and work out what some reasonable objectives might look like, and what stories we might want to tell. It’s coming together in quite a different form than I expected, but I’m excited about where it could go.

That work’s involved quite a bit of writing, so I worked from home on that. It was great to get the space to focus, but I was sorry to miss being in the office for the launch of some substantial improvements to the www.gov.uk site search. It was good to actually be involved in deploying some code for the first time in a while, working with Mazz to make some changes to the sign on application.

Thursday was dominated by our latest all-staff meeting at the Royal College of Surgeons. As usual, the external speakers were the highlight, seeing immense progress from projects at DVLA, and Jeni’s inspiring talk about the Open Data Institute (which fit very nicely with some of the ideas around “going wholesale”).

Thursday was also the point at which new roles were announced for a few of us. I am now “Head of Technology” which means (among other things) more formally providing support for our development, web ops and architecture teams. I’m really looking forward to getting stuck into that.

There was also a very pleasant trip to Victoria Park with Anna and James to watch the Royal Opera House’s production of Mayerling. Watching a ballet in the park was a real treat for our four year old, but we were rather glad she wasn’t paying close attention to what was actually going on in the story! And Matt and Anne stopped by for a cuppa yesterday morning, reinforcing our hope that they move to the neighbourhood soon.

So… a less frenetic week than some of late, but still nice and varied.

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