Weeknotes 01-02

I've been following the trials, tribulations and successes of colleagues in their weeknotes over the last while. So now I'm having a go - to share my working week as Head of Performance and Data Analysis at GDS.

I started writing some notes last week, but before I knew it, it was this week. So here are two weeks worth.

Week 1: 10 July


Still getting into the stride of my new and longer commute from Waterloo to GDS' new abode at Aldgate.

I spent the morning with the Better Use of Data team, where I'm based - a 1:1 with my boss, team weekly catch-up and time with the product manager to align objectives.

A large part of my role is recruitment, retention, development and generally looking after analysts - so it was good to catch up in the afternoon with other Heads of Community to compare notes.

After work, I met up with a good mate for a wander round Spitalfields and a Caribbean curry in the Market.


Worked from home today. A chance to finalise the agenda for the x-Government Performance Analysis meet-up on 17 July, including asking a last minute volunteer to Show and Tell. Plus the inevitable admin for the event. The rest of the day was reviewing draft documents - making sure performance analysis was properly represented; and sifting applications for an interesting new role re recruiting for.


Back in the office for 1:1s with some senior colleagues and an excellent meeting that clarified the pathway for our apprentice.

Later, planning how we raise awareness of and build capability for performance and data analysis with wider audiences.


Moderated the sift for new role with the rest of the panel, then discussing some 'guerilla' analysis I did to reassure a product manager.

A user research themed afternoon - a long and slightly therapeutic discussion with a new user researcher in the team and then doing some content testing.


Detail from Red Carpet 2017 Detail from Red Carpet 2017

A day off. Had a very enjoyable day in Kensington with my daughter to see the brilliant Grayson Perry: The Most Popular Art Exhibition Ever!. A genuinely accessible, funny but very telling exhibition that left me thinking how data stories could be told with anything approaching the same impact.

Week 2: 17 July


Started work at home - finishing off my intro slidedeck for this afternoon's xGovernment Performance Analysis Meet-up (xGPA II). We're only at #2 because this is a new series, after 12 under the previous name, DAUGS.

So to 1VS in Victoria, just in time to 'compère' the meet-up. Great to see colleagues travelling from as far as Newcastle and Swansea to attend.

One of my ongoing objectives is to help raise the visibility and quality of performance analysis that teams demonstrate when they have service assessments; so I was pleased we had an update on the service assessment process. Other sessions included the work to publish and make accessible Citizen's Advice's enquiry data and some initial experiments with BigQuery.


To HM Treasury, to sit on a service assessment panel. Assessments are generally four hours long, but I find them really rewarding - learning about the pressures and achievements of teams across government and also learning more about other digital disciplines. Especially nice to catch two colleagues I've not seen for a few years.

Then on the District Line to the office for a Delivery Plan workshop.


My main achievements today were to prepare for and run a performance discussion with a team based in the north-west. Five of them in a conference room and me at the other end, thanks to Google Hangout.

Given the theme of the week so far, I fortuitously came across this mindmap I sketched out in March 2016. Data culture mindmap.
Data culture mindmap

I think it still holds up OK.


Met the panel to discuss questions and an exercise for interviews we're holding next week for a new post. And I spent a lot of the day catching up with members of the data analyst community.

At lunchtime, I attended an Introduction to Mindfulness session. I didn't really learn anything new; but got an excellent reminder to keep coming back to the present throughout the day


HR, emails, writing up the assessment from Tuesday and finished the day doing some more analysis following on from last week's conversation. BBC Radio 6 was an excellent companion and thanks to Iggy Pop, I discovered The Unthanks.