A year of work in progress – day 114

Day 114 – 1 July 2014

The year is officially half over yet I will end up working fewer days in the second half than in the first. It’s all to do with having more holidays, better weather and something around harvest time. The tide has turned and is coming back in (or is it going back out?)

Today I spent the entire time at County Hall in Durham. This is going to be an increasingly rare event as plans are well underway for the majority of the team that reside there to move down to Meadowfield. We’re expected to be away in a couple of weeks and this is one the many things that I talked to Bob about in our monthly one-to-one.

As it happens we may need to put the move back a little due to the inevitable snagging list (or that the building is not yet completed). With the Gilesgate move we had a drop dead date which couldn’t be moved without financial penalty and that threat isn’t here this time.

I really enjoyed our meeting. We talked about the demand on the desktop replacement process and how the team had come up with some suggestions to improve the flow. There has been a great start to the review but it will be along and incremental process. We went on to talk about the analysis of calls onto the service desk, particularly around the highest priority (P1s). There is a tolerance of service desk calls within the service, as if it is natural that things should fail. I want to turn this on its head and imagine a world where failure is an anathema.

When I was at North Tyneside I remember a cabinet meeting where child deaths due to traffic accidents was discussed. Eight children had died in the previous twelve months and the council had set a target reduction of 25% for the coming year. This seemed fine until someone held up their hand and noted that they are setting out to kill six children this year. This led to a different kind of thinking. We can’t start from where we are. We need to start from where we want to be.

Shirley from the Institute of Customer Service came in to describe the services that they can offer as part of our corporate membership. After this I had a one-to-one with Neil followed by meeting on the learning gateway which put me in a seriously bad mood, so bad that I had to go and sit outside for a while until I’d calmed down. We’ve been badly let down over this and we’ve been left holding the can. It will be us that have to explain it all to the customers.

After lunch, what there was of it, we had our monthly virtual desktop integration (VDI) meeting which went a long way to lighten my mood. Once I had made my way through the morass of technical speak I became more and more convinced that we had a way forward. Andrew has agreed to take a few things away and we’ll soon be ready for some positive action.

Learning points for today: We all own shares in the ways of the world; the variation in our desktop build process is huge with the slowest taking one hundred and twenty times longer than the quickest; if you want to go from A-Z you sometimes have to start at F and; the duck pond is a good place to cool your ire.

Today’s enjoyment rating 7/10 – only recovered by VDI.

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