Monday 04th February, 2013
Some tardy weeknotes, for which I apologise. I had meant to write them from the the comfort of my Caledonian Sleeper carrier, gently shaking its way up to Aberdeen, but consciousness left me too quickly.
This has been the last of our “introspective” weeks, because in Week 212 we pick up work with GDS again for a few weeks, to work on some more of Inside Government.
Week 211 was quietly dominated by a day in Oxford on Wednesday, where we decided to invert James M’s commute and take a train out to him. It was really nice to have a change of scenery, even if that scenery was at points nearly flooded.
We spent the morning drinking flat whites and teas in the Turl Street Kitchen, before decamping to the top of the Ashmolean for lunch in their dining room. We stayed there well beyond lunch talking about some of the goals outlined last week, and I spent quite a lot of time – maybe too much time – talking about how my philosophy for how Free Range could/should work informs the product ideas that I put forward.
To help digest a delicious lunch, James M led Chris, Tom and I on a pleasant walk by the river, where Chris and I spoke quite a bit further about the relationship between longer-term goals and the now-classic question “What should I do today?”, and the potential (or lack of) for Harmonia as a tool for teams that don’t share the same freedoms or philosophy as we do.
In retrospect I’m not sure we concluded anything beyond me wittering on about my own philosophy and approach, which I now suspect might have been counter-productive because one of my own personal goals for Free Range in 2013 is an increased, shared enthusiasm, and while I appreciate the cautious curiosity with which everyone listened to my fumbling explanations during the day, I don’t envisage a huge increase in momentum as a result.
Back in the office on Thursday, we met with a few old friends from GDS to plan out a short, relatively self-contained bit of work on Inside Government. We’re going to be helping build out the parts of the site which deal with the UK’s foreign concerns.
The significant task ahead of us is figuring out how to modify the existing software to support translated versions of content, so that (for example) the FCO office in Spain can share its news in Español as well as English.
Until next week,
– James A.