Week notes 2–5th May

Holly Davis
4 min readMay 5, 2023

This week I’ve been feeling pretty lackluster if I’m honest which is out of character for me and has been a bit disconcerting. I think the long weekend and still not feeling 100% have been draining me. I’ve noticed I’ve found it more difficult to hold my focus and attention on a task and have found myself jumping around a lot. I’ve also had one of my quietest meeting weeks so the tasks I have been getting stuck into have required more deep thinking and you receive less immediate gratification as a result.

A positive reflection I’ve had this week though is how I’m naturally finding myself becoming less involved in the detail of my two projects and involved at a higher level which is a positive direction for me as it’ll allow me more time to focus on the other areas of my role.

Here are my headlines from the week

  1. I spoke to Alison Austin, an executive leadership coach for Product and Design Leaders. We recently met for dinner and Alison was talking about her area of focus when coaching and touched upon the topic of resilience. That week, I’d been thinking a lot about the topic of resilience and it just felt very timely. I mentioned that I’d be interested in talking to her more about it at some time and now we’ve agreed to do a short blast of coaching sessions on the topic. I’m really looking forward to working together.
  2. On Wednesday we had our delivery team's fortnightly meeting. Someone in the team shared unprompted shared a recent failure with the rest of the team which took vulnerability and courage. Bonny Colville-Hyde a Product Director at Torchbox has coined the term ‘Fail Flamingoes’ to encourage and reward sharing failures she’s made a flamingo mascot and accompanying stickers, in a team meeting last week even our MD James announced an admin fail on a team meeting, and jokingly asked for a “truckload of stickers”. It’s lovely to see this behavior ripple through the agency and as part of our commitment to ongoing learning encourage people to share and celebrate the failures and mistakes we make!

3. I’ve really been enjoying Jon Rhodes, 5 minutes with series on LinkedIn. My post will be going live at the end of the month, I deliberately wrote mine before reading some of the other posts and was pleasantly surprised to see some common themes come through. I had a brief call with Jon to say hello and it was great to hear a bit more about his motivation for the series and the traction he’s received — about 60 delivery managers from different sectors and experience levels have participated!

4. I spent some time this week reviewing the competencies we have for delivery management and thinking about how we might make them more concise as well as thinking about distinguishing between baseline competencies, attributes, and behaviors from specialisms or stretch areas for progression. It was interesting to read Emily Webber’s blog post on progression pathways. I found the five capability levels interesting and her expectation

“that all roles should have a minimum of ‘awareness’ of all other disciplines to encourage a shared understanding of the function. For example, a delivery manager should be aware of infrastructure engineering because there would be nowhere to put services without it.”

I’ve always tended to look for and promote Delivery managers who “stay in their own lane” i.e. leave the technical detail to the technical members of the team and defer to the expert in the room but having joined Torchbox where I see the team showing interest in systems architecture, field specifications, and compliance and reading this blog post from Emily I’m being challenged on my own thinking in this area.

5. I organised a call with Sara Cox, Head of Data Analytics at Torchbox about how we can provide project teams with more visibility of data measurement within monday. One of the things I’m good at is connecting the dots and working in a larger organisation that I’ve previously been used to there are pockets of positive activity happening all over the business and part of my role is finding where that is happening, surfacing it and making it known to the wider team can reap the benefits. It was good to hear this is also very much on her radar and has a couple of projects to trial this on over the coming weeks so it’ll be interesting to see where we land. I think the outcome could be a real positive driving force for project teams who perhaps lack visibility over how a product is performing in the real world.

Considering it’s been a bit of a meh week, there are lots of positives which shows the value of reflection! I’m looking for a long weekend in London visiting my partner's family and seeing friends. Hoping next week I’ll be back working on full cylinders!