Week notes 10–14th April

Holly Davis
4 min readApr 16, 2023
Working from a new coffee shop today!

The problem with leaving your week notes until the weekend is that it’s easy to procrastinate over writing them! I’m also finding as my weeks start to become easier and I start to feel more settled that they become harder to write.

I’m starting to wonder this week how much longer I can say I’m in a “new job” — I’m probably not too far off and will plenty of other new people joining us next month including a new Senior DM I’m going to start feeling more like part of the furniture!

Some other things that happened this week

  1. On Tuesday myself and some other new starters had a meeting with a Torchbox independent financial advisor to provide some information about pensions, life insurance, and general financial advice. This is the type of thing that makes Torchbox stand out from other employers I’ve had in the past, equipping and supporting team members to make good decisions. It’s got me thinking about short, medium, and long-term ways to make good investments with my money as well as starting to think about the age I’d like to retire and how to make that happen.
  2. In preparation for a face-to-face pitch this week, Edd (Head of Innovation) ran an internal workshop around some of the challenges and opportunities in the tender. It was great to spend some time with a Product Director and Tech Lead I haven’t spent much time with before talking about how we’d address some of the challenges and hear some really creative opportunities and ideas around AI and personalisation.
  3. I’ve been thinking a bit more about how to use Chat GPT in my work and have recently used it for both sense-checking feedback (both for feedback I was providing and some suggested prompts for requesting it). We use a tool called Lattice for requesting and receiving feedback and with my probation period fast approaching. I’ve been requesting some feedback from members I’ve worked with across different roles, I was particularly pleased with some feedback I received from Annie (Head of User Research) on the work I’ve been doing about starting to define our framework “I’m really excited about the new delivery framework and it has a lot of potential for greatly improving the way we deliver value for our clients.” Annie has been instrumental in helping move this forward and sense-checking my approach so I’m excited to continue to see how this develops. A couple of other members of the team have explored using Chat GPT for writing acceptance criteria and test scripts. I’d be keen to know what other DMs have found it useful for?
  4. We kicked off the development phase officially for one of the big projects I’ve been working on and Lauren (another Delivery Manager) and I ran a joint session to onboard the developers to the project —I ended the session by running hopes and concerns futurespective and it was great to see the level of ambition in the hopes column “We build the best Government website anyone has ever seen”
  1. I’ll wrap up this week's reflections with a post on LinkedIn about alignment being overrated and understanding and clarity being underrated. I love pretty much everything John writes but this resonated with me as I start to roll out the first steps to co-creating the delivery framework that understanding and clarity are key. It’s also got me thinking about aligned autonomy

The role of the leader is to provide sufficient alignment and strategic direction for the team, while also providing sufficient autonomy for them to make their own decisions and set their own direction.

There’s the temptation for any delivery framework or guidance to become prescriptive — defaulting to lists of outputs, deliverables, and templates but alignment can then drift towards everyone “doing it the same” which doesn’t aid teams in delivering better outcomes for their clients. We want to strike a balance between alignment and autonomy and provide just enough “guidance” to help shape their shape the “how”.

No week notes next week as I’m off to Bologna on Tuesday to eat my body weight in pasta and pizza. See you on the other side 🇮🇹