2015: a retrospective

It’s been so long since I wrote week notes! I’ve decided to write a quick retrospective of the year.

After seeing out the work to transition agencies to GOV.UK, I was a product manager giving a hand to a project at the Home Office. My final project was working on an interesting research piece on goods moving through the UK border. I left the Government Digital Service in July. I’d been there almost four years and I started to feel like part of the furniture.

In August, I joined Australia’s Digital Transformation Office and moved out to Sydney. It’s been a whirlwind of an autumn (spring, over here!) as I’ve been doing lots of recruitment, working on the DTO’s transformation strategy and technology approach, and started building the DTO’s technology community.

I’ve had chance to travel a fair bit this year. I went to New York in the summer, which was brilliant. Whilst I’ve been in Australia, I’ve had also short breaks to the Gold Coast, Melbourne, Perth and Singapore.

Over the festive season, I’ve spent some time reflecting. There’s a few things I want to do differently in 2016:

  • Do less firefighting: in a fast-growing organisation, there are plenty of little problems that look worthwhile to fix. I need to get better at picking which ones I actually need to spend time with, and which ones are not so important (or distractions).

  • Have a narrower focus: hand-in-hand with doing less firefighting is having a clearer, narrower focus. I want to focus on things that can set my organisation on the best course possible, things that enable our delivery teams, like building communities, documenting the way we work, and improving our technology guidance.

  • Write more: I used to write a lot. Maybe week notes aren’t the right fit for my work anymore, but I need to get better at turning my occasional notes into blog posts. Part of this is getting over some confidence hurdles, but part of it is just trying to be more open about things too.

  • Make time to read more: in 2015 I’ve read a measly eight books - and three of those were during the Christmas break. I’m actually quite a fast reader, but I rarely feel like reading when I have the time. I’m going to set aside more time and find some nice places to burrow away with a book.