Chris Roos by Chris Roos

Weeks 586 to 600

From week commencing Mon 6 April to week commencing Mon 13 July.

  • I can’t quite believe that it’s been about three months since I last wrote any weeknotes! Chris captured this period quite well for me when he described it by saying that the days have felt long but the weeks have flown by.

  • We ended week 585 with Chris being furloughed, Ben and James starting work on FutureLearn and me working about half time on Lightbox. Our rough plan was for Chris to be furloughed for a short(ish) period, Ben and I to work about half time and for James to work roughly full time. But it didn’t quite work like that: it soon became clear that it wasn’t practical for either Ben or Chris to work with the kids at home and so we ended up furloughing them from early April until early June.

  • I managed to work about 3 days a week by sharing childcare with my partner and working some weekends. Our daughter went back to nursery a couple of weeks ago and so I’m now able to work 4 days a week, and have weekends back. I’ve spent the last three months working on Lightbox, the National Business Response Network and with The Audience Agency.

  • We resumed working with TAA in week 591. We’ve added artform coding to the app (replacing a very manual process), spiked on some potential Insights around Recency, Frequency, Value (using Blazer to prototype), and started working out to provide more timely access to survey responses. I’ve mostly been pairing with James Trinder. We’ve been using Tuple for remote pairing which seems to work really well.

  • James has been working at least full time (and almost certainly more) over the last 3 months: working at least 4 days a week with FutureLearn and then a day or more on GFR related business. At FutureLearn, James has been involved in delivering COVID-19 related iterations of the FutureLearn Campus and FutureLearn for Schools products. I’m very happy that he’s recently taken a week off but am also very conscious that things haven’t been equitable. I don’t know what we’ll do about it but hope we can do something to rebalance things in the near future.

  • Outlandish were good enough to think of us when they needed an extra pair of hands on the National Business Response Network project. I enjoyed the few days I had to work on the project. It’s written in Laravel which felt similar enough to Rails to allow me to feel fairly productive despite not having used it before.

  • Ben and Chris returned from furlough in week 595.

  • Ben contributed to another grant application with Manuel (product owner for Lightbox), did some work with CAST/Catalyst on a project aimed at helping charities, and has now started working with Outlandish on another of their projects.

  • Chris is mostly working on the TAA project with me but is also finding time to participate in a a Barefoot Co-op Development Training course and work on some fairly gnarly colour calculations in Lightbox. We’re making slow but steady progress on Lightbox and really appreciate Manuel’s patience while things have been so unsettled.

  • Ben, Chris and James collaborated on the application for a DOS opportunity to upgrade Ruby and Rails on various GDS projects. We were shortlisted but unfortunately ended up just missing out to Unboxed.

  • James has set-up Sendboard which allows us to use Trello as a shared inbox. I appreciate not receiving all the group emails in my inbox but don’t feel that I’ve fully got used to the new workflow just yet.

  • I’ve been impressed by the furlough scheme. FreeAgent generates a report with all the required information, the application form is very straightforward and the money appeared in our account within a week or so! It’s certainly helped to have some additional income during these tough months.

  • In contrast to the furlough process I found myself quite confused by the terminology/concepts in the Small Business Grant Scheme. We eventually got our application in and have now received the funds, which is a great relief.

I’m sure I’ve missed lots of what’s happened but this should give a bit of a flavour of our life over the past few months.

Until next time.

– Chris

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