Short days, long week. Go figure.

Remember how last week I talked about how I was using Toggl to track my time?

Here’s this week’s approximate shape:

What is this, a graph for ants?

If you can’t see, it basically shakes out to about 25% each for sales, CTO stuff, and Product Owner-y stuff, with the rest given over to admin, customer operations, and eating lunch.

Eating lunch is important team. Protect your lunchtime like a mother bear protecting her cubs.

The sales part is because my boss is taking a well-deserved break, so I’m managing that part as best I can while he’s away. It’s a massive gear shift from CTO work and I can’t say I love it, but speaking to customers is always positive because sometimes they’ll have a brilliant feature idea that I hadn’t had.

I spent most of Monday on the strategy and budget for the next couple of years, as well as writing up a training agenda for a new customer that I’m going to see very soon. I wrote code for ten minutes, and as you’d expect it didn’t work.

I got a ticket to #ukgc18, which is SUPER HECKING EXCITING

This guy knows what I’m talking about

And in the evening I went to university, and I think I’ve started to get Java.

On Tuesday I spent half the day on a new guide for customers using our new, fabulous, mostly-automated, product-generating-machine. The rest of the day was a struggle, because my esteemed colleague Felix had secured himself a couple of days of user research training. I answered emails and fixed a particularly difficult customer issue, and since I was feeling pretty pleased with myself I reopened my pet project: software to organise the shuffling of people, when there’s people to be shuffled.⁰

And I got weirdly annoyed that you can’t specify the type of arguments you pass to functions, so I googled it and it turns out you can¹. So now my code looks b-e-a-utiful:

I’m using the Civil Service as a use case, but it would probably work anywhere

It’s good brain exercise, and maybe one day someone will find some use for it.

Wednesday is retro day, and I think this has been the most successful one yet. We came out with some really great metrics for things we could do better, gave each other meaningful praise, and generally came out as a better team.³ It was a good feeling. I love retros, but to be fair I’ve said that a lot before. I do. Continuous improvement forever. Continuously.

In the evening I developed my software’s logic a bit more. There are a lot of things to check. I suspect I may need a data scientist before long.

On Thursday I went to uni, finished my coursework, discovered the administration office for my program and had my first Computer Systems lecture, where I learned that the average mark was 49% and a pass is 50%.


It’s a day that starts at 1330 and ends at 2100, which is just incredibly unfair. All the same, what I’m learning is incredibly cool — although I’m still struggling to link it back to my day-to-day.

If I’ve made a mistake, it will at least hold the record for the most expensive mistake of my life to date.

Friday was an office day, and Felix and I finally got to check in. I had a preliminary chat in the morning with a potential new employee — my first in this new role — and in the afternoon did some pairing with Felix. We did sprint planning just before we went home, and the team talked me through what they’re going to be doing next to meet the sprint goal. It was non-stop, and a couple of my meetings ran over. They ran over because there were important things to discuss — is there any way to make that kind of meeting run to time? Help please.

If you’re going to be at #ukgc18 tomorrow, give me a wave. Some of us weeknoters may be pitching on this very subject, so…watch this space?

⁰ Okay, this is a weird obsession of mine, but: a number of graduate programs rotate their grads around departments, business areas, planetary moons, that sort of thing. They do this with the aim of turning out all-rounders. Unfortunately it’s a thing that seems simple and turns out to get trickier quickly, and I’ve been trying to convince HR teams to use computers to do it. I have been doing this approximately forever. I’ve now given up now, and it’s turned into an exercise to see how pretty/artful/efficient I can make my code. I’m now down to 23s to match 500 candidates to roles, with each candidate getting a match 80% suitable or better.

¹ Java man, it creeps up on you. It’s a gateway language, before you know it I’ll be functional programming and ranting about monads.²

² Wow, that is a specific joke

³ Metrics are important, as long as they can be linked to an actual outcome. When faced with a meaningless metric ask why until it goes away or you understand it.

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