Tom Ward by Tom Ward

Week 221 - On time and on budget

It’s 4pm on a Friday. I know what you’re thinking. That can’t be the weeknotes can it? Not today? Not now? Not if Tom’s writing them? But it is!

While we aim to publish weeknotes every Friday, it’s true that sometimes we’ve slipped. Some of us have been in the habit of delaying them - writing them the following week when memories are stale. No more (at least not this week)! We’ve made a commitment to get them out on Friday afternoon, so if we fail at this you should jolly well complain.

The decision to commit to Friday publication comes out of another bit of thinking we’ve been doing, on how best to use Harmonia. It’s fair to say we haven’t reached agreement yet, but the discussion itself is interesting, delving deep into the philosophy behind Harmonia. On the surface it’s value might seem obvious, but if we can understand it more deeply we’ll be able to not only improve our own team, but also guide others who use it.


Our big news this week is that we’ve agreed to start working on FutureLearn, ‘the first UK-led, multi-institutional platform for free, open, online courses’. It’s a big and ambitious project and we’re excited to get involved. It will be interesting to see how the experience of working with the Open University compares with working for GDS. I’m sure there will be plenty of lessons learned building Inside Government that will apply to this new project. Even though it’s not a government agency, we’ll be consulting the excellent GDS Service Manual closely.

Digital Design of the Year

Speaking of GDS, congratulations for winning the digital category in the Design Museum’s Designs of the Year awards. Congratulations to the whole team, and fingers crossed for the main award next week!

The space between the notes

Now we’re about to get started on another big piece of client work, it’s natural to reflect on what we’ve been doing in the meantime. In the last few weeks we’ve done some good things (working with M & J, releasing HeyList, researching share registers and shipping out printers) but we all agree not enough of them. We’re quite an introspective group, so we’ve been doing some soul-searching as to why this is. It’s a difficult problem to solve, but the key is to keep trying, so that when we next have non-client time we can be more productive. Any hints and tips gratefully received!

Flotsam and jetsam

Other bits and pieces this week include James Mead reading and digesting The Lean Startup, the fact we finally managed to submit our P35s, that Ruby Manor (organised in part by James Adam) was a resounding success, and some heavy thinking by James A around analysing how people use Harmonia.

Chris is still on holiday but should be back next week, when James A will be off on a secret mission to improve his future life.

Until then,


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