weeknote ε

After the excitement and feeling of accomplishment that came with the end of sprint 1 and the day in the user lab sprint 2 got off to a bit of a bumpy start.

A good chunk of the team got caught up in rail chaos around Paddington on Monday which led to something of a staggered start to the week and a postponed retrospective and sprint planning.

It was something that couldn’t be helped but it did lead to a disjointed week that somewhat knocked our momentum as we never quite got *all* the right people in a room again that week.

On Tuesday most of got stuck in to the ‘retrospective’ while Rob and Jonathan were in Bristol work shopping with CX at their shiny new offices.

In Newport we followed the Service Manual retrospective template and we had a constructive conversation. The vibe was still positive despite Mondays travel shenanigans but it was clear that the ‘too many chefs’ issue was still a problem around UX/frontend decision making. In some ways it is good that there is a consensus on the issue as its clear people weren’t afraid to share their feelings good or bad. Unfortunately it is a knotty problem that is proving difficult to untangle. We took some action though and I’m closely monitoring the situation and taking a bit more ownership of some of the relationships.

In Bristol the rest of the team were working on how to present our time series data as well as an approach to interactive charting. The wrinkle here is that we need responsive options as these pages are an important element in our plans. I’m very pleased with the outcome as well and look forward to sharing it.

We are lucky enough to have Tom Loosemore from GDS advising us at ONS one day a week at the moment. Thursday was mainly spent picking his brains and answering his probing questions. It was very helpful and I came away thinking that (a) we were on the right lines and (b) we still have loads to learn. Tom immediately put us in touch with helpful people at GDS in a couple of areas we know are going to be vital to get right.

In an effort to ‘get my hands’ dirty and understand the nuts and bolts of the site I have set up Github for Mac and Atom and am editing the JSON files to update the content – especially the ‘micro copy’. I’m loving the way the site is driven by JSON data and the fact a small change to the URLs exposes that data. I feel like we are living up to Principle 2 ‘Be data driven’.

Friday I was speaking at WebDevConf about the ONS digital journey and the way we are putting our principles in to practice. The talk seemed to go down well and sparked some interesting conversations.

So a week of ups and downs but plenty to be positive about. Onwards.